After first calf breeding difficulties

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Nite Hawk

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Howdy,
I have encountered this a number of times, and am again dealing with this issue
But have no explain action, maybe someone out there has an idea.
It seems that often a young heifer will breed and calve no problems,
But the second time around often doesn't want to "settle" after that
First calf.
Anyone have any ideas why this is fairly common ??
Would love to hear the thoughts and maybe research on this issue..
 

M.Magis

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I believe heifers that calve at 2 years of age are still growing themselves, so feeding the calf can be hard on their body. Perhaps increased nutrition, or weaning the calves early, may help. This is just a guess on my part.
 

A.J.

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Are the calves really pulling them down ? Sometimes first calf can really take a lot out of them, which could possibly affect their ability to get bred back. If they appear to be maintaining good condition, not sure what might be going on. How long are they taking to settle?
 

Limomike

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M.Magis":3215dlky said:
I believe heifers that calve at 2 years of age are still growing themselves, so feeding the calf can be hard on their body. Perhaps increased nutrition, or weaning the calves early, may help. This is just a guess on my part.
Yep. I agree.
 

Putangitangi

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Got to feed them pretty hard-out through next mating. Mine are always in quite light condition - especially compared with cattle there - but I have very little problem getting them back in calf for the second time. It's got to be partly body weight, but must also be in the "rising plain of nutrition" effect too. The best conception rates here are just after I've given them all a pre-mating copper injection, since we have a secondary deficiency problem. Must make sure all that's right.

I'm just about to start calving and my second-calvers are all still pretty light after winter. They'll pull through and get back in calf, but they look like the tank's only just above empty at this time of year (early spring). Maybe I'll drop a few more in number for next winter ...
 
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Nite Hawk

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I have wondered about that maybe the prolactin might inhibit ovulation???
And of course on the drain the body, but when they are in decent condition
One wonders what the cause may be, as it seems a large portion are the
First Calvers so they should be fertile...
 

Hook

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A heifer is like a teenage girl. Not that hard to get them bred. The second go around they are trying to grow themselves, and feed the calf. Reproduction is the last order of priority. Sometimes it's takes a little more than you expect nutritionally to get them bred back again.
 

cow pollinater

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They take care of the calf on the ground first, themselves second, and THEN they'll take care of another one on the way if there are enough leftovers.
In addition, in a cows first lactation her ovaries and the structures on them are usually not much bigger than they were when she got bred. That was good enough to giver her raging hormones when she was a teenager but when you factor in that she has to run a bunch of extra blood through her liver to make milk, which is a new function for her, those ovaries that were plenty big enough to crank out the hormonal cues that regulated her cycle aren't cranking strong enough cues to counteract how much is being filtered out by her liver.
 

Jessica06

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Hook":3vvr1ouc said:
A heifer is like a teenage girl. Not that hard to get them bred. The second go around they are trying to grow themselves, and feed the calf. Reproduction is the last order of priority. Sometimes it's takes a little more than you expect nutritionally to get them bred back again.

Yep. Which is why they say to breed your heifers 30 days before the cows.
 

Rafter S

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Limomike":2c9tk0o2 said:
M.Magis":2c9tk0o2 said:
I believe heifers that calve at 2 years of age are still growing themselves, so feeding the calf can be hard on their body. Perhaps increased nutrition, or weaning the calves early, may help. This is just a guess on my part.
Yep. I agree.

Me too. That's why I pull the calves off my 2-year-olds when I turn the bull out. It lets them grow without the calf pulling them down, and they'll often breed back within a week. I know I'll give up a few dollars initially, but I believe I get it back in the long run.
 

gizmom

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Folks often talk about care of first calf heifers. In truth three year olds require every bit as much care and attention as that first calf heifer. We manage the 2 and 3 year old cows the same actually rotate the 3 year olds into the muture cow pasture when they wean their second calf. Keep in mind a three year old is still growing raising a calf and trying to breed back, a lot to ask of a young animal proper nutrition is just as important as those first calf heifers. Bottom line it is a cows job to produce a calf every 365 days it is our job to provide them with the tools (in this case nutrition) to do their jobs.

Gizmom
 

Putangitangi

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gizmom":2j0keiin said:
Folks often talk about care of first calf heifers. In truth three year olds require every bit as much care and attention as that first calf heifer. We manage the 2 and 3 year old cows the same actually rotate the 3 year olds into the muture cow pasture when they wean their second calf. Keep in mind a three year old is still growing raising a calf and trying to breed back, a lot to ask of a young animal proper nutrition is just as important as those first calf heifers. Bottom line it is a cows job to produce a calf every 365 days it is our job to provide them with the tools (in this case nutrition) to do their jobs.

Gizmom
My 2s and 3s run together through the winter on the best feed and are all as hungry as they approach calving as each other. The cows are easy in comparison - although sometimes a four year old will still be a bit on the thin side, presumably still growing.
 

dun

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Just my opinions! Forage managment and genetics play the greatest part in getting 2 year olds bred back. In the past couple of years we had a couple that bred back late andthey were sired by the same bull and were slow breeding the first time around. The bulls mother was one of the most fertile cows we ever had, the bulls sire was fertile but none of his daughters ended up staying in the herd. None of them made the first cut to stay at weaning. We had kept a third daughter of the son out of granny. She bred early but aborted april first, the next year she was slow breeding and still aborted on april first. In a couple of weeks none of either bulls genetics will be left.
 

gizmom

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Our muture cows have not received grain for the past two years we keep them with good pasture winter they get sweet pro blocks we rotate one day peanut hay the next grass hay and keep a good quality loose mineral in front of them year round. The younger cattle get fed a 50/50 mix of soy hull pellets and corn gluten pellets they also get free choice minerals.

Gizmom
 

msscamp

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Nite Hawk":2s8yfddh said:
Howdy,
I have encountered this a number of times, and am again dealing with this issue
But have no explain action, maybe someone out there has an idea.
It seems that often a young heifer will breed and calve no problems,
But the second time around often doesn't want to "settle" after that
First calf.
Anyone have any ideas why this is fairly common ??
Would love to hear the thoughts and maybe research on this issue..


Most times it is because you are not feeding them right. A heifer continues to develop until she is around 3, maybe 4, years of age. Most people breed first timers to calve at around 2 years of age, but completely forget that it takes a lot of feed for her to support her growing calf, support her continuing growth and lactation, and still be in good enough shape to breed back to calve as a 3 year old. If the feed isn't there, somethings gotta give and it's usually her breeding back.
 

Bigfoot

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I've seen it a bunch myself, and think CP hit the nail on the head. It may not help, but I like to pull my calving heifers in on a little feed, after they calve. I think I even posed the question here once, would a CIDR help.
 

Jessica06

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Bigfoot":359yx8jo said:
I've seen it a bunch myself, and think CP hit the nail on the head. It may not help, but I like to pull my calving heifers in on a little feed, after they calve. I think I even posed the question here once, would a CIDR help.

Ours calved in such a tight window this year that we decided to try and AI them. We put them on limiter for about 45 days or so. In the end, the AI was an epic fail in the sense that not many came in heat. I think we only missed one out of the ones we DID do, but between that and the bull we had the same pregnancy rate in that group that we had in the mature cows. Most were BCS 4s and 5s, between 950-1100 lbs, and had about 75 days with the bulls. From now on, we're not going to attempt to AI them, but they are going to get some feed before the bull goes out. Nutrition is everything with heifers.
 

cloud9cattle

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Rafter S":d3kyemvm said:
Limomike":d3kyemvm said:
M.Magis":d3kyemvm said:
I believe heifers that calve at 2 years of age are still growing themselves, so feeding the calf can be hard on their body. Perhaps increased nutrition, or weaning the calves early, may help. This is just a guess on my part.
Yep. I agree.

Me too. That's why I pull the calves off my 2-year-olds when I turn the bull out. It lets them grow without the calf pulling them down, and they'll often breed back within a week. I know I'll give up a few dollars initially, but I believe I get it back in the long run.


100% Advice right here!
 

Nesikep

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We used to feed everyone pretty much the same, but Ive changed that now, first and second calvers get better and more hay through the winter, so far it looks like it's been working.. most of them have settle in the first cycle, with a couple in the second.

Nitehawk, good to see you back!, knowing lower mainland hay, I would look at nutrition first, and pay attention to the minerals.. If you can, draw a blood sample from one of your heavy producing cows, about 8 weeks after calving, and get a mineral panel done on it, failing that, a local vet may know what minerals are typically lacking in your area... I'd guess copper and selenium are likely suspects. Selenium is important to prevent retained placenta, and for the bulls for semen quality too. Copper is involved in lots of the processes, with the immune system being a major one. If you put the two deficiencies together like I had, you get retained placentas with the added complication of compromised immune systems to fight infections, and that's just asking for trouble. The cow that was giving me the most trouble was a excellent producer, and would breed back better if exposed to the bull right away (minerals were being depleted by milking) rather than 8 weeks or so. She ended up having a stroke or some nervous problem, and had to be put down, however, her daughter, having had proper minerals all her life, raises the best calves, and has bred on the first try every time (4 so far)...
I think we may have culled a lot of good animals because they were malnourished (as opposed to underfed).
 
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Nite Hawk

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Nesikep, We are in the Cariboo, which is quite different than either were you are or on the coast, climate wise.
I am thinking it may be a possible growing / nursing issue, as this young cow is quite large, and has raised a decent sized calf, born fairly small in March and weighs about 500 lbs. now.
We tend to be selenium deficient in a fair amount of the areas around here, not sure if that has anything to do with it or not..
 
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