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Breeding age

A

Anonymous

Guest
14 to 15 month and at least 65% of their expected mature weight

dunmovin farms

> How old should heifers be before I
> turn them in with the bull.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Ideally you want them to calve at around 24 mo. of age, so 14 or 15 mo. of age at breeding is about right, provided they have attained the requisite weight to give them a fighting chance at being sexually mature. Much depends on the breed and the amount and quality of the "groceries" you gave them. Also, keep in mind that some breeds reach sexual maturity a little later than others, for example anything with a lot of Brahman influence might be expected to reach sexual maturity a little later.

You didn't ask, but for what it's worth, I think it may also be a good idea to have your vet perform pelvic examinations on your heifers to see if you have any that are too small and that are likely to have problem deliveries. And make sure you use a bull that is expected to throw a low birth weight calf. It sound's trite, but it's a helluva lot better to have a small calf that's alive than a huge one that's dead (and that might take the heifer with it)!! It's hard to resist the temptation to keep back a few real good looking heifers in order to expand your herd, but if you are a "weekender", or only can be with your cattle several brief times a week, you may want to re-think the heifer retention issue. There aren't many more disconcerting things than raising a heifer for two years only to go out to your ranch and find her paralyzed or dead due to a difficult delivery.

Lastly, depending on your heifers' condition and the quality and quantity of your grass, you may want to consider removing their calves at say 3 to 4 months of age. Small calves sell for the highest price per pound, and you want to help out the heifer after her first calf -- she is still trying to grow herself, get re-bred, change out her teeth, etc. I have found that removing the first calf early on is the best thing to do, at least in my less than ideal environment. And also keep in mind that the nutritional needs of a recently calved, or about to calve, heifer are a good bit different than those of a mature cow -- another reason to think long and hard about the heifer retention issue if your facilities don't allow you to grow out your heifers separately from the other animals.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Amen, Amen, and again I say: "AMEN!" if you are familiar with rectal exams, one old timer recommended that you go inside the heifer and spread your fingers to see how wide the pelvic floor is. Ideally, you should be able to spread your fingers clear open... that is a check you can do yourself. Learn body scores.... extra fat on a heifer makes calving difficult, takes up space in the udder, so less milk for the calf... fat in the udder that will NEVER come off. someone else will be able to tell you better about body scoring but I learned the hard way, and sure don't want anyone else to go through what I have gone through in this, my first year of calving.

[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Arnold gives some good advice here, especially the middle paragraph. Watch springing heifers in the ring – there is a good reason they don’t bring the kind of money a young bred cow will bring... It’s RISK. The last thing you need in the cow business is more risk. If you’re trying to build up or replace on the cheap, buy pairs. Then you know she can calve. Buy young momma cows that look poor but sound. You will get a pair that for hundreds less than a sleek purebred pair will cost, and you’ll be amazed at what she will look like next year if you’ve put her on good grass and taken care of her thru the winter. She might not be fancy but she will be fat and make you money. Lot’s of times we can more than pay for the pair on the next calf. The same can be applied to young bred cows. Slightly more risk because the baby has not hit the ground and got up yet, but much less risk than a first calf heifer.

> Ideally you want them to calve at
> around 24 mo. of age, so 14 or 15
> mo. of age at breeding is about
> right, provided they have attained
> the requisite weight to give them
> a fighting chance at being
> sexually mature. Much depends on
> the breed and the amount and
> quality of the
> "groceries" you gave
> them. Also, keep in mind that some
> breeds reach sexual maturity a
> little later than others, for
> example anything with a lot of
> Brahman influence might be
> expected to reach sexual maturity
> a little later.

> You didn't ask, but for what it's
> worth, I think it may also be a
> good idea to have your vet perform
> pelvic examinations on your
> heifers to see if you have any
> that are too small and that are
> likely to have problem deliveries.
> And make sure you use a bull that
> is expected to throw a low birth
> weight calf. It sound's trite, but
> it's a helluva lot better to have
> a small calf that's alive than a
> huge one that's dead (and that
> might take the heifer with it)!!
> It's hard to resist the temptation
> to keep back a few real good
> looking heifers in order to expand
> your herd, but if you are a
> "weekender", or only can
> be with your cattle several brief
> times a week, you may want to
> re-think the heifer retention
> issue. There aren't many more
> disconcerting things than raising
> a heifer for two years only to go
> out to your ranch and find her
> paralyzed or dead due to a
> difficult delivery.

> Lastly, depending on your heifers'
> condition and the quality and
> quantity of your grass, you may
> want to consider removing their
> calves at say 3 to 4 months of
> age. Small calves sell for the
> highest price per pound, and you
> want to help out the heifer after
> her first calf -- she is still
> trying to grow herself, get
> re-bred, change out her teeth,
> etc. I have found that removing
> the first calf early on is the
> best thing to do, at least in my
> less than ideal environment. And
> also keep in mind that the
> nutritional needs of a recently
> calved, or about to calve, heifer
> are a good bit different than
> those of a mature cow -- another
> reason to think long and hard
> about the heifer retention issue
> if your facilities don't allow you
> to grow out your heifers
> separately from the other animals.
 

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