John Bos Jr. acknowledges that calf-raising is not his strong suit, so he sends his calves to a custom heifer ranch.

“Guys are going to concentrate on what they do best, and that’s getting milk out of cows,” he says. A lot of his neighbors near Modesto, Calif., do the same thing. 

Vlot Bros. Custom Calf Raising in Chowchilla, Calif., charges Bos $1.60 per animal per day. Bos says he couldn’t raise the animals any cheaper himself.  And, death loss among the calves has dropped to a low level. That, alone, adds about three heifers to Bos’ herd each month.

It has simplified things. Now, Bos and his crew only have to worry about ear-tagging and getting a gallon of colostrum into each newborn. The animals come back four months later “happy and strong,” he adds.