Letting the bull run with the herd

Got a calving or breeding question? Get an answer.
cowgal604
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 8:22 pm
Location: Langley, BC, Canada
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 39 times

Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by cowgal604 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:28 pm

Hey all. I have 10 cows and a bull all in the field together at all times. My heifers are just calving now. Is it ok to just leave him in there with them? I have one cow that has an 8 month old calf that is about to calf anytime now. So she got pregnant on her first cycle after calving last year. Is this ok? Should I give them a break?



User avatar
Bright Raven
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 10089
Joined: Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:57 pm
Location: Kentucky
Has thanked: 667 times
Been thanked: 681 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by Bright Raven » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:30 pm

A cow/heifer needs about 40 to 60 days postpartum for the reproductive system to recover.
"Looking for an honest man".
Diogenes.

User avatar
True Grit Farms
GURU
GURU
Posts: 9454
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 4:29 pm
Location: Middle Georgia
Has thanked: 185 times
Been thanked: 573 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by True Grit Farms » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:33 pm

Leave him in with them he won't breed them till their ready. Letting a bull run with the herd is the best way to keep him out of trouble.
If we'd of know this we'd of picked our own cotton.

cowgal604
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 8:22 pm
Location: Langley, BC, Canada
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 39 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by cowgal604 » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:46 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:33 pm
Leave him in with them he won't breed them till their ready. Letting a bull run with the herd is the best way to keep him out of trouble.
Thanks. Two different opinions on this. So you think she will catch when she's ready? My one cow looks pretty skinny now that is having the two calves back to back which is why I ask.

User avatar
TCRanch
GURU
GURU
Posts: 3974
Joined: Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:21 am
Location: Winfield, KS
Has thanked: 587 times
Been thanked: 275 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by TCRanch » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:07 pm

Well here's my $.02. Agree with both Raven & Grit. But Raven doesn't run bulls & has the luxury of synchronized timing. I don't live in a perfect world and my calving should have ended 1st week of May - except for a first calf heifer that finally dropped one last night. Had her due end of March. Did she abort & breed back? Dunno. But it is what it is and the bulls are now turned out so she can potentially breed back before 40-60 days.

My question is why do you still have a cow with an 8 month old calf on her that is ready to calve again? If I'm reading/understanding that correctly. And is it a heifer calf? If so, that calf can get bred before she's even weaned.

User avatar
JMJ Farms
GURU
GURU
Posts: 4498
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:51 pm
Location: Middle Georgia
Has thanked: 288 times
Been thanked: 306 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by JMJ Farms » Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:47 pm

I pull my bulls out on 3 herds. On the 4th herd, the Bull stays with them year round. I see advantages and disadvantages in both approaches. It comes down to whatever works best for you.

On the 8 month old calf. If the calf is exactly 8 months old, you have at least 7 weeks minimum before momma calves again. I would get that calf weaned ASAP so momma could have adequate time to make colostrum and hopefully recover a little bit.
Until we remember that the left wing and the right wing belong to the same bird and we come together as a nation then this country is in for more turmoil - Jogeephus

User avatar
Nesikep
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 14885
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 9:37 pm
Location: Lillooet, BC, Canada
Has thanked: 693 times
Been thanked: 528 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by Nesikep » Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:16 pm

If you can leave the bull with lots of company and pull out one or two cows for a while after calving that might keep him out of trouble and yet give the cows a little break... Agreed with JMJ, wean that calf if it's still nursing!
What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence
-Christopher Hitchens

Redgully
Rancher
Rancher
Posts: 627
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:24 am
Location: Karragullen, Western Australia
Has thanked: 354 times
Been thanked: 216 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by Redgully » Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:29 pm

When i had a mixed herd we ran a bull year round but all heifers were taken out at six months. To me if the cow is able to get in calf will. It worked well for us as our climate allows calving at any time and cows would pump out an extra couple of calves over their lifetime. A lady i know also calves year round and has around 100 cows and 1 bull covers the lot. This is offset by the extra handling of course but they just pulled the ten biggest each month and sent to market.

User avatar
Jeanne - Simme Valley
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 10694
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 5:46 am
Location: Central Upstate New York
Has thanked: 424 times
Been thanked: 626 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:31 am

I am a strong believer of NOT leaving a bull in with herd, but I have a complete health program and it would absolutely be a nightmare to try to vaccinate cattle properly if they were calving year around.
Having said that, if you are comfortable having a calf "whenever", it is the least management system you can have leaving the bull with the herd. But, you need to be diligent in pulling HEIFERS at 6 months of age and never let them back near a bull until they are old enough/ big enough to be getting pregnant.
So, one way or another, you have to have the ability to keep BULL away from weaned heifers, or BULL away from herd.
In the system of letting a bull breed all the time, you will have cows calve in 10 months occasionally. It will either make them or break them. Some can handle it, holding their weight, others will be fertile myrtles and breed right back, but will be a rack of bones. They will cull themselves.
Simme Valley of New York - http://www.SimmeValley.com
"We make a living by what we get,
we make a life by what we give."

User avatar
Jeanne - Simme Valley
Mentor
Mentor
Posts: 10694
Joined: Thu Dec 09, 2004 5:46 am
Location: Central Upstate New York
Has thanked: 424 times
Been thanked: 626 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:46 am

Also, this is the herd that has been having abnormal calves, indicating the bull may (most likely) be carrying a birth defect. Do you really want him to be breeding his daughters? You can expect most of their calves to be born defective.
Here is the calving history:
In the last 5 years this is how it’s gone

First calf - died of navel ill

Second calf - born healthy

Third calf - got joint ill, born to the same dam that calved the first calf, mother died shortly after giving birth, steer survived the joint ill

Fourth calf - PHA calf

Took 2 years off and got 6 bottle calves that I raised up. Got a new bull. Those 6 bottle calves I bred to a new bull.

Fifth calf - born healthy

Sixth calf - stillborn

4 more to come from those 6 bottle calves I raised up.


Out of 6 calves, you have had 2 healthy calves. Just so you understand, this is not a normal % of problems. None of us could survive that rate of sickness/loss. I would be considering working with your vet to improve your management system, and would not use that bull again.
A normal situation, a cow should have a calf every 12 months.
Simme Valley of New York - http://www.SimmeValley.com
"We make a living by what we get,
we make a life by what we give."

User avatar
Dsth
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 1:33 pm
Location: eastern Iowa
Has thanked: 7 times
Been thanked: 16 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by Dsth » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:18 am

My question is why do you still have a cow with an 8 month old calf on her that is ready to calve again? If I'm reading/understanding that correctly. And is it a heifer calf? If so, that calf can get bred before she's even weaned.

I agree with TC. had a neighbors bull get in with herd with 7 month old calves with cows. calf got bred. I didn't find out until breeding season came around and she wouldn.t come into heat. Vet checked her and said she was 7 months pregnant.

User avatar
Brute 23
GURU
GURU
Posts: 7857
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 7:59 pm
Location: South Texas Gulf Coast
Has thanked: 120 times
Been thanked: 110 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by Brute 23 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 9:50 am

You will have a hard time keeping that bull entertained. You best shot will be random calves thru out the year and leaving the bull in. Cull the cows that cant hang.

Your other option will be building a pen specifically for him to stay roughly 9 months out of the year.
Brimmer Pimpin Ain't Easy

"Don't let schooling interfere with your education" - Mark Twain

cowgal604
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 8:22 pm
Location: Langley, BC, Canada
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 39 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by cowgal604 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:29 am

TCRanch wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:07 pm
Well here's my $.02. Agree with both Raven & Grit. But Raven doesn't run bulls & has the luxury of synchronized timing. I don't live in a perfect world and my calving should have ended 1st week of May - except for a first calf heifer that finally dropped one last night. Had her due end of March. Did she abort & breed back? Dunno. But it is what it is and the bulls are now turned out so she can potentially breed back before 40-60 days.

My question is why do you still have a cow with an 8 month old calf on her that is ready to calve again? If I'm reading/understanding that correctly. And is it a heifer calf? If so, that calf can get bred before she's even weaned.
The calf is weaned. I put a nose flap on him at 6 months after I realized she was so pregnant and was getting thin. He is fully weaned. This is how I always wean my calves, I usually give them 12 months though but her calf hasn't tried to nurse since a few days after the nose flap was in.

Her calf is a bull calf.

cowgal604
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 8:22 pm
Location: Langley, BC, Canada
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 39 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by cowgal604 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:32 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:46 am
Also, this is the herd that has been having abnormal calves, indicating the bull may (most likely) be carrying a birth defect. Do you really want him to be breeding his daughters? You can expect most of their calves to be born defective.
Here is the calving history:
In the last 5 years this is how it’s gone

First calf - died of navel ill

Second calf - born healthy

Third calf - got joint ill, born to the same dam that calved the first calf, mother died shortly after giving birth, steer survived the joint ill

Fourth calf - PHA calf

Took 2 years off and got 6 bottle calves that I raised up. Got a new bull. Those 6 bottle calves I bred to a new bull.

Fifth calf - born healthy

Sixth calf - stillborn

4 more to come from those 6 bottle calves I raised up.


Out of 6 calves, you have had 2 healthy calves. Just so you understand, this is not a normal % of problems. None of us could survive that rate of sickness/loss. I would be considering working with your vet to improve your management system, and would not use that bull again.
A normal situation, a cow should have a calf every 12 months.
Different bull and completely different unrelated cows. I started my heard over. The only related calf is the sixth calf born stillborn. Calves 1-5 are unrelated to this herd.

cowgal604
Cowhand
Cowhand
Posts: 153
Joined: Wed May 29, 2019 8:22 pm
Location: Langley, BC, Canada
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 39 times

Re: Letting the bull run with the herd

Post by cowgal604 » Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:34 am

Dsth wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:18 am
My question is why do you still have a cow with an 8 month old calf on her that is ready to calve again? If I'm reading/understanding that correctly. And is it a heifer calf? If so, that calf can get bred before she's even weaned.

I agree with TC. had a neighbors bull get in with herd with 7 month old calves with cows. calf got bred. I didn't find out until breeding season came around and she wouldn.t come into heat. Vet checked her and said she was 7 months pregnant.
He's weaned. We don't separate our calves for weaning. We use nose flaps. This calf has been weaned for 2 months now so she could gather herself and allow her colostrum to come in.

I've actually NEVER had a heifer calf born on the farm so its not been an issue yet. But the plan has always been if we have heifer calves they will move to our other farm. We have 10 acres waiting for them but have yet to have a heifer calf. My one born on the weekend was another bull calf.

Post Reply