Small frame cows

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MtnCows93
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby MtnCows93 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:24 pm

Thanks for all the posts guys, some good info! from what ive heard the smaller cows will wean a higher percent of their bodyweight which is part of the reason im wanting to buy some of these small cows, also i think i could run more cows on the same land as i could larger cows. where im at i can run 1 cow per acre and the cows ive got now weigh an average of 1100 pounds if i had to guess, ive sowed more pasture and looking to buy more this winter, whats your guys thoughts on buying some small 6 or 700 pounders and just using a low birthweight bull on them?
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby Nesikep » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:39 pm

It all depends on the market for selling them.. If you get squat for a 700 lb steer because he has to be over a year old to get to that, or he fattens before he has the preferred frame size, you start to take a penalty there... If you're doing direct marketing to families who want smaller quarters, it might work out great for you.

I also think what is often neglected are individual efficiency characteristics.. I have some big cows that really don't eat much to stay in shape and make a nice calf, and some small cows that eat you out of house and home and wean a dink... Somewhere in the middle of all this you have what's "right"
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby MtnCows93 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:10 pm

yea i believe i might get docked for smaller frame but i think more calves would make up for it, and your right about individual efficiency. i guess ill have to just get the cows and then start culling the pairs that arent working. i may end up just buying small frame heifers instead of pairs say 50% more than i need, raising them to yearlings and cull the bigger ones
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby Muddy » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:09 am

I'd rather stay with the 1,100lbs cows but that's just me.
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby ddd75 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:09 am

MtnCows93 wrote:yea i believe i might get docked for smaller frame but i think more calves would make up for it, and your right about individual efficiency. i guess ill have to just get the cows and then start culling the pairs that arent working. i may end up just buying small frame heifers instead of pairs say 50% more than i need, raising them to yearlings and cull the bigger ones



if your just going to take them in then you don't want small frame cows.

you'll be severely penalized. you also won't be raising twice as many cows on the same amount of land.
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby lithuanian farmer » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:29 am

Muddy wrote:I'd rather stay with the 1,100lbs cows but that's just me.

Me too.
Such small cows as 700-800lbs can bring you more problems when calving season comes than bigger, despite using low BW bull. Calves size comes from it's dam too. Have two cows which calved at 15 months age. Both are ~1100lbs, but are one of the smallest cows in the herd. One weans pretty good size calves, another smaller size. When the calving time comes you usually are more afraid of the small cows. Big cows rarely have problems. This winter had to assist for the biggest cow in the herd and probably the easiest calving one, because that the calf was breach, 112lbs. Pulled him out quickly without any damage for the calf or the cow. She's Angusx and was born pretty small, but had big calves from all bulls we used. Small cow can have not enough of room for the calf, can be harder calving, bred too early can be a bad mom and wean smaller calf. In my opinion, it's better to have a slightly bigger cows, producing good milk, keeping condition well, calving with less problems, even with a big calf, weaning a nice big calf, which will need less time, money and feed to grow until the needed size. We have some smaller size cows, which calves need more time than others to reach a certain weight. Now we use bigger frame bull to increase their calves size, but with a risk with calving.
The smallest cow we ever had was probably ~1000-1050lbs, dairy cow.
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby Muddy » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:46 am

ddd75 wrote:
MtnCows93 wrote:yea i believe i might get docked for smaller frame but i think more calves would make up for it, and your right about individual efficiency. i guess ill have to just get the cows and then start culling the pairs that arent working. i may end up just buying small frame heifers instead of pairs say 50% more than i need, raising them to yearlings and cull the bigger ones



if your just going to take them in then you don't want small frame cows.

you'll be severely penalized. you also won't be raising twice as many cows on the same amount of land.

Yeah there will be a heavy dock on the small framed calves so no I don't believe that have few extra calves will make up for a heavy dock.
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby MtnCows93 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:55 pm

yea i know i couldnt run double the cows but doesnt it go by weight how much a cow will eat? ive heard all kinds of different percentages but for the sake of argument lets say a 1200lb cow will eat 2% of her bodyweight in hay a day, would a 700lb cow eat 2.5% a day? does that sound right? im just trying to learn all i can and weigh my options,thanks guys!
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby Nesikep » Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:24 pm

correct, halving the weight of the cow will not reduce the feed bill by half.. I think it's more like 30%

Here's a small cow.. eats like a pig, raises a dink... STEP AWAY FROM THE FEEDER!!
Image

Meanwhile, here's a medium cow that raises whoppers (pictured with her daughter from last year)
Image

Another medium cow with a whopper
Image

I've just found that there's a certain threshold where the smaller cow drops in productivity drastically, and the same can be said about large cows, where their increased productivity isn't warranted for the extra feed they need.. Some of this will be dependent on your particular conditions, but for me, it seems like 12-1400 lbs is the magical area where I get big (marketable) calves without monstrous cows
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby MtnCows93 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:29 pm

i guess a happy medium would be ideal, my neighbor has some 1500 pound cows that wean 600 pound calves at 8 months, thats not my idea of efficient, he has switched bulls but its looking like its gonna be the same this year, i dont know if thats normal results but thats what ive seen first hand
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby Nesikep » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:51 pm

they ought to do better than that, but it depends on the forage available as well as the weaning age.. typically it's normalized to 205 days..
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby WalnutCrest » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:33 am

The 1000 - 1300 lb cow weaning 50% of her weight on a forage / salt / mineral diet in 6-7 months is a pretty good way (weigh?) to go, IMO.
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby Stocker Steve » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:18 am

Nesikep wrote:I've just found that there's a certain threshold where the smaller cow drops in productivity drastically, and the same can be said about large cows, where their increased productivity isn't warranted for the extra feed they need.



Nesi, do you ever measure the calf #/cow # percentage? For example - - you hear about how great the Char bull over Jersey X cows are but I have never seen any numbers.
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Re: Small frame cows

Postby Nesikep » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:15 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
Nesikep wrote:I've just found that there's a certain threshold where the smaller cow drops in productivity drastically, and the same can be said about large cows, where their increased productivity isn't warranted for the extra feed they need.



Nesi, do you ever measure the calf #/cow # percentage? For example - - you hear about how great the Char bull over Jersey X cows are but I have never seen any numbers.

I haven't done any research, but I think the people claiming consistently better than 50% on 205 day weights are giving supplements, creep, etc... I'm ecstatic when a 1300 lb cow has a calf over 50% of her weight in an honest production environment.
A breeder I know has cows that bring home 800 lb bull calves from the range in the fall.. It really does sound great, but as a bull breeder, he calves in January and weans at the end of October.. thats close to 280 days for the older boys!!! It makes me feel better about my good cows that 'only' do 650 in 180-210 days..
The last 2 pictures in my previous post are some of the curve benders, both in weaning weight and in 'style' of animal I am seeking.
Now with doing some linebreeding I may lose some of the hybrid vigor in exchange for a more consistent animal.. Something you'll NEVER get putting a Char over a Jersey!
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