Calves culling each other?

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Classyusa
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Calves culling each other?

Post by Classyusa » Tue Dec 24, 2019 8:23 pm

Hello,

Just had a quick question about the intraherd social dynamics of cattle.

I have had 3 longhorn calves that are 8 months old or so with 2 corriente/angus cross calves that are roughly the same age. The five have been best of friends for the last 4 months or so. All are steers except the one long horn whom I didn't band because he was the most docile of the bunch.

They are pasture mowers and have been really people friendly. When I feed them their winter protein(cattle cubes) they do jockey for feed position and bully each other a little but once they finish and return to pasture they go back to " playing nice with each other."

About a week ago, I picked up a 3 month old jersey steer. He is a lot smaller than the other five. They all ran over to him when I let him out into the field to size him up. It was the jersey's first time ever trying live grass and within minutes of being in the field he took to it like a champ and the other cattle let him do his thing.

Toward the end of the first day the longhorn bull calf started ramming the jersey calf broadside every time he saw him. It has gotten to the point where the jersey stays 20 yards away from the other cattle but if the bull calf sees him he will walk over and chase the jersey away.

I tried the separate the jersey in another field close to the house, thinking I could let him grow up a little before putting him back wirh them so they wouldn't bully him but he mooed like crazy until I let him go back to the other cattle.

The other steer calves have followed suit of the bull calf and now chase the jersey off when he gets close. They seem really confused by him like they don't think he is another beef.

A few times I have made the jersey walk into the middle of the bunch(I pushed him into the middle of them)(they all stand around me when they see me because they think I have treats). The other cattle wont bully him when I am there but a few of them have sniffed him in the penis area and then they lip curl/flehmen response for like 10 seconds.

My question, is this normal?

I am sure there are a multitude of factors in play here but does it take cattle awhile to "warm up to" other beef entering the herd? Is this normal behavior?

Do cattle cull out other cattle if they are a different breed? These horned cattle look at the jersey like he is a space alien.

Again, I am sure there are many factors at play. I am just trying to understand this behavior.

I am getting five 3-5 year old herefords cows on Thursday and 8 corriente heifers on friday. I am hoping the jersey can fly under the radar after all the other newbies get added to the herd.

If anyone has had any similar experiences, I would appreciate the insight.



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Re: Calves culling each other?

Post by TCRanch » Wed Dec 25, 2019 6:46 am

There will be fighting when a new one arrives or you comingle groups. Or when they have raging hormones. Before & after they calve. When one is injured. Establishing a hierarchy. Totally normal. Sometimes it gets ugly &/or results in injury. But don't EVER try to break it up and put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation.

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Re: Calves culling each other?

Post by Classyusa » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:55 am

Thank you TCR.

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Re: Calves culling each other?

Post by ccr » Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:42 pm

we brought a young bull home once and after turning him in with the cows, everyone of the cows butted heads with him, one after the other. after they got that over with things were ok.

your situation sounds a little different, but give it some time and maybe when the others arrive things will get better.
i know as much about this as anything else i don't know much about
happiness is healthy cattle

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Re: Calves culling each other?

Post by greggy » Thu Dec 26, 2019 4:37 am

May have answered own question.

Bull, bullying a much younger, new, nuetered calf...,

I would expect same.

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