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Senior Contributor

20 CWT Heifer

Some people use cattle buyers because they find using them more convenient than buying themselves, or they do not have the time to sit through a sale, or they want to buy at a market that is not convenient for them to go to personally, or they know that the buyers they use are better judges of cattle than they are, and I could continue with this list of reasons until I had lost every reader of this post.

However, there are also those people who know many competent buyers and understand that it is frequently a good idea to use them; however, for whatever illogical reason these idiots, excuse that, I intended to type geniuses, choose to purchase a few head themselves.

I recently found myself as one who would be put into the second paragraph. While wasting time at a sale barn watching all of the sick and undesirables go through, I decided to bid on one of them. While the heifer I decided to bid on was thin, she did not cough while in the ring and I did not see much wrong with her. As the sale barn was down to trying to get a bid of 10cwt for her, I stupidly decided to try to purchase her. Another buyer ran me up to 20cwt and while I thought that I got the deal of the day on her; the other buyers there probably got the last laugh.

About 24 hours after purchasing her, I had concluded what the other buyers concluded in 2.4 seconds: Buying this heifer was a bad idea. I also discovered that she was thinner than she had looked in the ring, had a very long tail, and had a persistent cough. Having come to these conclusions, I gave her the appropriate name of “Chronic.”

Dad and I had a brief moment of hope when we discovered that her temperature was 105F. and gave her a shot of Draxxin, hoping that she was just sick and would recover. About two weeks later she had survived some bad weather and when we checked her temperature again it was down to 103F. Despite the improvement in her temperature, we have not seen an improvement in her condition or a lessening of her cough.

She does have a few things going for her, chiefly including a strong will to survive, a good attitude and temperament, a healthy appetite, and owners who have considerably more feed on hand than cattle to consume it.

So the expected fairytale ending is that she recovers and becomes an extremely profitable and fat bovine that ships with our current group of heifers for full market value….Oops, that was the fairytale before we realized the shot of Draxxin did not cure her of all ailments.

Now, the revised fairytale, I mean realistic expectation, is that she continues to survive on pasture and over the course of a few months puts on around 100# and that we are then able to resell her for the great price of 40cwt.

So, those of you who have had experience with similar bovine health situations, am I now being realistic, or is this “fairytale” likely to have a nightmarish ending?

Picture is of Chronic.




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2 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: 20 CWT Heifer

In the picture she looks nice but if you were to cut her open her lungs are probably gone. I say nightmare.

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Senior Contributor

Re: 20 CWT Heifer

Thanks for the reply.


Significant lung damage is my biggest concern regarding this heifer.  I know that is very likely.


Thankfully, she was cheap enough that we do not have much to lose if she dies.



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