1st calf (beef cow), low milk production

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all4ahorse

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I have a beef cow who calved for the 1st time 2 weeks ago. She does not have a very large udder and I am concerned that her milk production is low because the calf doesn't seem to be gaining the weight/growing at the rate previous calves have. This time of year in our area (Pacific Northwest, Oregon) our pastures are dry but there is plenty to graze on, we are also providing grass hay twice a day to her and some grain. Is there anything else can we do to boost her milk production? We do provide alfalfa a few times a week. Also, the teats are getting raw (scabbing up) due to the calf's constant sucking and I was hoping someone could give me advice on what to put on them to ease her discomfort but not cause the calf to not want to suck. Is it advisable to try & feed the calf a few times a day with milk replacer, if we can get her to take a bottle?

We are new to raising beef, learning alot by reading, asking our vet and talking to old-time farmers around the area but "little" things like this are hard to get advice on sometimes! We don't know if 1st time calvers tend to have small udders and then gradually get better with each calf or is this the way she is going to be for every one. Not sure if we should breed her back this Fall or send her to auction??? She is a cow that we shouldn't have bought last year but needed some cows on the pastures when we bought our 20 acre farm. She is a Simmental x Hereford, calf is out of a very nice Hereford bull. Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated. I don't quite know how to post images here so the links to the photos are below.

Thank you,
Connie
http://www.allforahorse.com/teats9-6-08.jpg
http://www.allforahorse.com/daisy&mom9-6-08.jpg
 

redcowsrule33

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What is her Body Condition Score? Is she losing weight?

I would supplement that calf with milk replacer if you have the time and money to do it. Heifers will increase milk somewhat the second time around but should be able to raise a good calf if everything else (feed, health) is good. If you aren't attached to her and don't want to go through this again (potentially) next year, ship her and use the money on a different one.
 

Aaron

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Look at her udder and teats. From the side, does it appear that the front teats are significantly higher than the back ones? If so, she may have very low producing front quarters, which will never improve significantly....in which case she will wean a poor calf and be a good cull candidate. No rhyme nor reason for it. We just shipped a first calver a few weeks ago...off of a terrific mother and sire, but the front quarters were basically dry after she had been lactating a few weeks after calving. :cowboy:
 

Aaron

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Did not notice that you had posted pics as well. I see nothing wrong with that calf. Certainly looking well for 2 weeks of age. Cow seems to have a nice udder with good teats on her as well. It may take until next year before she really comes into milk, or she may have little milk but very rich. :cowboy:

Post pictures in a couple of months and then we can see if there are any real problems or not. :cowboy:
 

4CTophand

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Some beef cows dont show much bag but they milk just fine and raise a good calf. she is a 1st calf heifer, all you care about really is she calves unassisted, raises a decent calf and breeds back on time-- give her a chance -- and peak milk production doesnt happen at week 2-- more like between 2-3 months post-calving

T
 
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