Breeding

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Anonymous

I have several Spring 2000 calves that I would like to breed this coming July when they are around 16 months. They should be around 1000 lbs. by then. Is there a rule of thumb to use to determine when a bull is too heavy? These are all Hereford. I saw a Hereford bull at an auction yesterday that weighed 1790#. It looked as though he would crush them. I also have some yearlings that are 1100-1200#. Could they handle a "beast" this size?
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Anonymous

It really depends on the athleticism of the individual bull. I used a bull on heifers till he was three and over 2400 pounds. He didn't just drop on them though, he "danced". By the time he hit 4 and 2800 pounds it was too risky, but he still could have done the job, but one slip would have injured himself or a heifer.<p>A bull at 1790 isn't bad even for smaller heifers than those you describe. If the bull is fat he might be a bit rougher on the heifer, but a couple weeks he will lean out and carry himself better. Make sure the bull is a good one rather than how heavy/light he is.<p>Jason Trowbridge<br>Southern Angus Farms<br>Alberta Canada
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Don't buy a bull from the sale barn because you don't know what you are getting. Buy from a breeder with integrity with the understanding you want a bull for Herford heifers. A correct bull will have a small head, smooth shoulders and will not have a large boned, wide frame. The majority of calving problems with correctly presented calves is getting the head and hips out. I also suggest using a bull of similar genetics as hybrid vigor will increase birth size of the calf. I also perfer a mature bull to a young aggressive bull because the mature bull will wait until the heifer is ready to stand and be bred before he does a lot of mounting.
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RobertMac & Jason have given their usual good advice. If a bull is going through the sale yard, there is usually something wrong with the bull, either physically or in the calves he throws. <p>Much of how the bull breeds your heifers depends on the conformation and breeding background of the bull. A bull that is post-legged, for example, will not be able to balance on his hind legs as well when breeding a cow, and will put more of his weight on the cow. As a fellow Murray Grey breeder once put it, "A bull should be able to pick apples out of a tree."<p>A bull should have sloping shoulders that don't hang up in the birth canal. He should have good birthweight epd's. A good solid breeding bull with epd's will not cost much more than any other bull & will save you a bundle in the long run. <p>I don't believe the age of the bull is a huge factor, unless the bull is deteriorating in physical wellness. Conformation & genetics are far more important. One of our best Murray Grey cows came from a first-calf heifer and a 10 year old Murray Grey bull. She was 60 pounds at birth, 1200# mature weight, and consistently throws calves in the 60-80# range, with 205 day weights in excess of 600#.
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