Breeding heifers

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Banjo

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14 pg of 18 exposed = 77.8% pg rate
17 expected pg of 18 = 94.4% expected

IF bought at your local sale barn, I expect the owner sorted off his best most fertile heifers for himself. In addition perhaps 1 or 2 born twin to a bull might have been put in the group. When working with a small number of animals just a couple of them can really skew the percentages. I agree with LazyM's suggestion of bagged mineral. Otherwise, don't think it's your fault. Unless the 4 were smaller I doubt they were too young. More background information when buying/selecting is always helpful.

Knowing the seller or whether they are prone to lax management is a red flag, leading to another possibility - inbreeding lowers fertility.
IF heifers in the group resulted from 1/2 brother x sister mating or sire x daughter that could well be the reason for less than a 90% group pregnancy rate.
So breeding 1/2 brothers to 1/2 sisters makes offspring infertile?
 

coachg

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Have the sale barn preg check them when you haul them . Most sale barns in our area do that if you want to sell a female as bred . If they show bred you can always haul them home . I agree with the ones saying stay away from buying replacements from the sale barn . We use a more liberal 60 breeding period for all our females . No right or wrong just what works best for you . My 2 cents
 

gcreekrch

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Have the sale barn preg check them when you haul them . Most sale barns in our area do that if you want to sell a female as bred . If they show bred you can always haul them home . I agree with the ones saying stay away from buying replacements from the sale barn . We use a more liberal 60 breeding period for all our females . No right or wrong just what works best for you . My 2 cents
I have seen thousands of heifers that went to feed and then kill that we’re better than many replacements others keep. Not sure why so many of you think cattle from a sale barn are no good.
 

Son of Butch

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How about angus F1s ?
Good question. I don't know, but my take on it is:
Genetic heritability of a trait would remain a constant, in this case at 15%
whether the 15% is positive or negative depends on the individuals.

But we know F1 heterosis gives a positive boost in fertility, perhaps enough to mate 2 below average outcross individuals and create an average or above offspring. Best results would be expected from mating 2 above average outcross individuals. But fertility would always be 85% environment, ie nutrition, weather, extreme heat/cold ect. That would be my understanding, but I don't know of any studies done on it.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Lots of good advice.
You said you have dairy background. How did you come up with the BCS? I have NEVER known a dairyman that had a clue what a beef animal should look like - no offence! They are so used to seeing what we would consider an emaciated animal, they can't see "thin" on a beef animal.
I totally agree with the switch to loose mineral. A cow can eat a WHOLE mineral block and not get their recommended dose of trace minerals.
 

coachg

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I never said not to buy at the sale barn , I think I said I stay away from it .You have to be careful in what you buy . The reason I’m hesitant about buying replacements from the sale barn is you don’t know the exact age , breeding and if they are open or already bred . I only send my bottom heifers to the stockyard. I keep my best for replacements or to sale from my farm . You also don’t know what diseases they are exposed to at the sale barn !
 
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Steve123

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I did purchase some heifers at a sale barn when I couldn't get together with the owner on a price at the ranch. When I left his place I called the local sale barn and told them to call me if this guy sells some heifers. 30 days later they called and I bought them for a little over steer price. When I called the guy to get the registration papers he wasn't very happy. I paid him $100 a head for the papers and that seemed to take some of sting out.

Moral of the story is- buy them anywhere you want but make sure you know what you are buying.
 

TexasRancher

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I am newer to beef cows having spent most of my time working on dairies. In the spring I teamed up with an aging neighbor to start running a beef herd. We bought 18 yearling commercial black heifers at a local sale. We gave them 6 weeks on pasture with free mineral blocks and 15-17 pounds of corn silage per head per day before adding a proven 3-4 year old bull. The bull was with them for 93 days. After removing the bull we waited 35 days and blood tested for pregnancy where we had 4open. Also should mention the body condition of the heifers is 5-5.5.
What is your guys thought on why so many didn’t get bred? We’re they too young? Or do you see any concerns on our management of this group to get them breeding?
Thank you for any input
I bet they were too young....after you bought them...was 4.5 months before the bull left. The issue being yearlings ARE not necessary 1 year old or more...making all them 16.5 months old before the bull left. Nice big grain feed Yearlings might be 9 month then add 4.5 months...and you missed her getting pregnant. I would keep those four and bring the bull back in 4 months. Not fair if they were too young. I had this same thing happen with the yearling Angus cattle i bought. Don;t quote me...but from what i know Yearling cattle can be 7 months to 16 months old....you never know what you're buying at a sale barn. You might get a small 2.5 year old heifer runt (that never grew) classified and passed off as a yearling.
 

MurraysMutts

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If you can’t judge age by their face and tail then maybe you should stick to private sales where the owner can give any pitch he wants!😂😂
To be fair here, a good barber will hide a LOT!

I dont operate that way, but know of a few that do. I dont buy their junk.

All of MY home raised calves have their birthdays in their ears. I dont got anything to hide.

I do occasionally buy a project or two with an unknown birth date. But they get sold that way too.
 
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gcreekrch

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To be fair here, a good barber will hide a LOT!

I dont operate that way, but know of a few that do. I dont buy their junk.

All of MY home raised calves have their birthdays in their ears. I dont got anything to hide.

I do occasionally buy a project or two with an unknown birth date. But they get sold that way too.
That doesn’t happen on private sales?
 
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Poorman

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The open are separated out so these will be gone. The next group we will wait till they are 750 and breed for 60 days and get a herd of cows that breed early. Right or wrong we are buying at the sale barn bc there is not many herds left in the area. Everything is either becoming housing developments or getting bought by weekends for hunting. The local auction (1 hour away) only has 10-12 head of cattle weekly so we are heading 2.5 hours where they sell around 200 a week. I have talked to some guys online that are selling replacements most in ky but a few in western Ohio. Most of them are not budging off about $50 per 100wt over what auctions are bringing so I might just buy 30% more heifers then I want in the group and sell the open and ones that don’t breed.
 

faster horses

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1200# bred replacement heifers are really pretty. But they grow up to be too big for our country. I remember when we were glad they weighed 700#, now 900# fits pretty well. It's
really easy these days to get cattle that are too big, especially for our environment. They
don't have to be big to be easy calvers. I remember too, some friends raised some crossbred
heifers. They were huge and they were also a huge wreck. The next year they pelvic measured the heifers and one-third, yes 1/3rd had too small of pelvis to calve easily.
 

Ky hills

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I used to buy heifers from the stockyards, winter and breed them either AI or natural, and sell them at a graded bred heifer sale. They were bred to registered calving ease bulls, and pelvic measured prior to breeding. Usually out of a group of around 30, there would be 1 or 2 a year culled out after the spring working, the pelvic measuring would pick up on if they were to small in that regard or not developed right. Over the years of doing that program, I've kept back a few that did not make the final cut for one reason or another, maybe a small blue spot in an eye, or not quite enough frame etc. Have brought back home a few one year, and kept a random half of them to build our herd the last year that we were part of the sale. They have most all went on to make good cows. Happened to see the sale rep for the heifer sale the other day, and he talked like he would like for us to be a part of the sale again, so that tells me that the feedback from our heifers has been mostly positive, which would be consistent with what I have heard first hand from folks I know that have bought our heifers.
I have tried a few different times to venture into registered cattle. Admittedly, I'm not into buying high dollar heavily promoted high selling lots, and one should not have to do that in order to put together a respectable quality herd. I gave up and focused on building up the commercial herd. Most of the registered cattle, did not meet our needs or hold up. We bought 4 registered Hereford heifers, at a regional registered sale. All are gone within 5 years, and 2 should have been gone sooner for not calving regular.
Just because an animal is purchased from a well respected farm or a registered breeder does not necessarily make them superior to an animal purchased at a regular day at the stockyards.
 

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