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Breeding older heifers?

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Zach

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I've got a group of Angus heifers that I'm going to breed June and July at 15 - 16 months old. I do however have 3 that are going to be about 20- 21 months old that I held back so they would all be spring calvers and fit what I want my operation to be. Other than losing out on the revenue of those 3 calving at closer to 24 months are there any issues with waiting that long into their heat and maturation process to allow them to breed? I want to have a uniform calf crop for variety of reasons but don't want to sacrifice the future of these 3 above average heifers, in my opinion. I feel like it shouldn't be an issue but I'm so accustomed growing up to breeding heifers at 14 - 16 months and 800 - 850 pounds to calve at or before 24 months. I appreciate y'all's feedback.
 

Brute 23

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No down side. Quite a few of us wait to breed closer to 24 months because we feel there are less issues. You lose one calf or lose a couple pounds of weaning weight and any gains you made by breeding early went down the tubes.
 

coachg

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I like the size on my heifers over an extra calf. I'm sure there are plenty on here that will disagree. Grandpa said opinions were like rectums ( not his word for it ) most stink .
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Totally understand you wanting to group your cattle. That is a good management decision.
I'm like you, I believe in growing them out to their genetic potential and breeding for 24 months calving. But, you have to do what fits your system.
 

Son of Butch

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First calf heifers over 30 months of age will have more calving problems. Produce bigger calves and it's like their
pelvis isn't as flexible.... the few I've seen (Holstein) were some pretty tough pulls.
 

ez14.

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Copy and paste from an old lucky_p post

Consider this...sutures of pelvic bones fuse and are ossified at around 27 months. If you can get that heifer bred and calved out prior to that point in time, there is more 'wiggle room', if you will, for a calf to pass through the birth canal. The fact that those sutures(junctions between the different bones that make up the pelvis) are not fused, allows for more stretching/spreading than if they were fused and unyielding.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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ez14.":2sfo8z3m said:
Copy and paste from an old lucky_p post

Consider this...sutures of pelvic bones fuse and are ossified at around 27 months. If you can get that heifer bred and calved out prior to that point in time, there is more 'wiggle room', if you will, for a calf to pass through the birth canal. The fact that those sutures(junctions between the different bones that make up the pelvis) are not fused, allows for more stretching/spreading than if they were fused and unyielding.
I was going to post that info, but couldn't find the research I have read in past to post, so I kept my "fingers" shut. that is not just Lucky P's opinion, there is research to back that info up. After they calve as a heifer, everything is "stretched" out for life.
 

True Grit Farms

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I like a heifer to calve by 20 months, if not sooner. There's more than one way to keep frame size down and calf size up. Some of my best cows calved at 16 to 18 months and are moderate framed. Now that we use a breeding season and condition our heifers before breeding our cow size has definitely got larger. Our easy doing cattle are becoming more dependent on hay and feed every generation. Those big olé cows sure look good, but don't work in a commercial herd that has to scrap and make their own way without help.
 
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Zach

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Thanks for all the input. They are well conditioned but not fat. They are grown slow for good feet and longetivity. Also they will be bred to a calving ease Angus bull as heifers before crossing them. I'll be sure and pay close attention to the older ones given the above post. Thanks again.
 

ez14.

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":2bzvy8vh said:
ez14.":2bzvy8vh said:
Copy and paste from an old lucky_p post

Consider this...sutures of pelvic bones fuse and are ossified at around 27 months. If you can get that heifer bred and calved out prior to that point in time, there is more 'wiggle room', if you will, for a calf to pass through the birth canal. The fact that those sutures(junctions between the different bones that make up the pelvis) are not fused, allows for more stretching/spreading than if they were fused and unyielding.
I was going to post that info, but couldn't find the research I have read in past to post, so I kept my "fingers" shut. that is not just Lucky P's opinion, there is research to back that info up. After they calve as a heifer, everything is "stretched" out for life.
I know it's not just lucky_p's opinion but like you I couldn't find the research I have seen before
 

farmerjan

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I have heard about the "fusing" of the pelvic bones. However, we have much better success with our heifers calving them in the 27-30 month range. They have the maturity to settle down and calve and keep on going about their business. Few if any in the past 20 years have given us any problem with accepting their calf, and the few that I have had to graft a calf on have seemed pretty well to take it in stride. Maybe 2 or 3. They just want a baby.

They have more body condition. Because we do not feed our heifers to grow very fast, they take a bit more time to get to where I want them in size. We don't push them, and don't get much grain except when they are first weaned they do get supplemented. By the time they are 12-14 months, they eat hay and grass, with once or twice a week grain to call them into the pen. Most are in the 900 + lb range when they calve. Most of our cows are in the 1050-1200 when mature. They don't seem to lose much body condition when they are milking and tend to rebreed easily. I use an easy calving bull on them and haven't pulled a calf in years from a heifer. They just spit them out and they get up and nurse and go on.

We use plus weight bulls on our cows and don't have problems with calving either. Calves will run from 75 to 90 lbs on the cows; 55-75 lbs. on the heifers.

Everyone has to do what they feel works for their system. We do not run our heifers with our cows until they have their 2nd calf on the ground and are incorporated into the mature herd. I don't want them having to compete with some boss cows when they are trying to eat, grow, feed a baby, and get bred back. We are lucky enough to have many rented pastures, some smaller sized like 10-30 acres so it is easy to group them to take advantage of the pasture and keep them in a group that they will succeed in. Once they have their 2nd calf on the ground, they are "grownups" and can hold their own in most any group we have.

Occasionally we have held a heifer back to get her in synch with the rest. Often they are bigger, older, do get bred to the easy calving bulls, and if they have the size and the calf is doing good, may go with the mature cows with their first calf. There have been a few that have gotten bred sooner, and they never seem to get their full size. Usually do a good job with their calf, but it seems to take more out of them. But again, we do not "feed" them except what they get at pastures in the grazing months. We do feed some silage in the winter to weaned calves and the fall first calf heifers if they are at that barn lot, and the grandma cows get it to help them keep up their body condition and get the calves through the winter.
 

ddd75

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True Grit Farms":134d4icp said:
I like a heifer to calve by 20 months, if not sooner. There's more than one way to keep frame size down and calf size up. Some of my best cows calved at 16 to 18 months and are moderate framed. Now that we use a breeding season and condition our heifers before breeding our cow size has definitely got larger. Our easy doing cattle are becoming more dependent on hay and feed every generation. Those big olé cows sure look good, but don't work in a commercial herd that has to scrap and make their own way without help.
i agree. calving early does indeed keep the cow size down.

I just had a 28 month old give her 2nd calf. bred back right on time.
 

lithuanian farmer

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Don't see anything bad at calving heifers abit older. Had calved some pretty young (not intentionally), two at 15 months, one at 20 months. The first two are calving okay, but always stayed on the smaller side. The third one had a big dead heifer calf, a hard pull and uterine prolapse... We usually calve at ~30months age, but it's different from each animal. This year going to have one heifer calving abit earlier. She was born in June and should calve in July or August. Will see how she does. She's Angusx.
We might gonna try to breed our replacement heifers abit earlier this summer. They'll be AI'ed, but will stay on meal for some time to keep them growing. Will see if they'll perform well.
 

Brute 23

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So all the Brahman or Brahman infuenced heifers that don't see bulls until 18-24 months have more problems.... I think not.

"Streching" the pelvic area at a young age does not sound good long term.
 

True Grit Farms

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Brute 23":31eqbbsr said:
So all the Brahman or Brahman infuenced heifers that don't see bulls until 18-24 months have more problems.... I think not.

"Streching" the pelvic area at a young age does not sound good long term.

Can't say anything about Brahman, but everyone that's anyone around here says a heifer needs to calve by 24 months.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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You need to breed heifers by weight more than by age. Although, I stand by the fact that I do not believe in calving heifers out younger than 20-21 months of age. But, if they are not grown out, then they should be held back for breeding.
 

Brute 23

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True Grit Farms":2hn38fvm said:
Brute 23":2hn38fvm said:
So all the Brahman or Brahman infuenced heifers that don't see bulls until 18-24 months have more problems.... I think not.

"Streching" the pelvic area at a young age does not sound good long term.

Can't say anything about Brahman, but everyone that's anyone around here says a heifer needs to calve by 24 months.

To each their own but you will never see me posting about how much of a pia calving heifers out is. :tiphat:
 

Son of Butch

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Brute 23":351n9ukr said:
So all the Brahman or Brahman infuenced heifers that don't see bulls until 18-24 months have more problems....
I think not.
"Stretching" the pelvic area at a young age does not sound good long term.
op question is angus heifers not brahman... which is a horse of another color (and tastes about the same :) )

How does stretching at under 27 months sound worse than tearing at over 28 months?
 

Brute 23

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Son of Butch":275wtwi3 said:
Brute 23":275wtwi3 said:
So all the Brahman or Brahman infuenced heifers that don't see bulls until 18-24 months have more problems....
I think not.
"Stretching" the pelvic area at a young age does not sound good long term.
op question is angus heifers not brahman... which is a horse of another color (and tastes about the same :) )

How does stretching at under 27 months sound worse than tearing at over 28 months?

I was responding to the responses after the op. If they are all only talking about Angus than I apologize.

The idea is that animals that may stretch at 1-2 years may not strectch at 2-3 due to being fully developed.

Every thing I am reading shows no proof that breeding early has any other benefit than getting one more calf out. It's debated if it is actually profitable due to higher numbers of calving issues, higher culling rates, potential for breed back issues, added feed and lower weaning weights. None of the studies adress the long term physical effects on calving before being fully developed.
 

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