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Bull influence on BW

brandonm_13

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How much influence does a bull really have on birth weights? You would think 50%, but it seems most of us focus 100% of our attention on the bull when considering bw. Just thinking out loud. :?:
 

Mat Man

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From my experence I would say at 80% or better.I lost 5 out of 7 calves from heafers using a young good looking cross breed bull.
We also lost calves from older cows.That bull made one way trip after 9 months on farm.
We use only Reg.Angus bulls after that mistake.
 

randiliana

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The bull is certainly not the be all and end all when it comes to BW and calving ease. The cow has a lot to do with it, as well as feed and weather.

We have cows in our herd that will consistently throw larger calves regardless of what bull they are bred to and what the majority of his calves are like at birth. When you have one or 2 cows throw substantially larger calves as compared to the rest of the group bred to the same bull, you can definitely attribute the extra BW to the cow.

I've also seen feed throw a kink into things. We fed split chick peas to our cows one winter in the last trimester (this was one of those learning experiences). Got them for free from the seed plant where DH was working. We were feeding good quality alfalfa to begin with and then added in about 5 lbs of chick peas per head. I mean, how could we go wrong with free feed??

Our BWs that year were probably 10 lbs heavier than we usually see, and we had more than one calf over 120 lbs. We were lucky, we had only 1 c-section, and pulled a few. No major wrecks, but it certainly could have been. Extremely high protien in the last trimester is NOT a good idea. Not to say that you want to deprive your cows of protien, but I won't ever do that again.

Sure spooked us on the new bull we had, but we kept him around and never had a problem with him other than that one year when we fed the chickpeas.
 

brandonm_13

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Considering high BW cows, that makes me wonder. If you breed them to a low bw bull and they throw large calves, what would happen if you bred them to a larger bw bull that could increase weaning weights. Would the birth weight stil be about the same since the cow seems to have the prepotency for certain size calves, or would the cobination of a large bw bull and a large bw cow cause you to have an extremely large bw calf???

I was worried about birthings this past season. The brother-in-law was in charge of feeding the cows. They were being fed too much grain. I couldn't seem to convince him to stop feeding so much(he was feeding in the morning when I was at work.), and the cows kept getting fatter. Luckily we did alright. Teh feed wasn't all that high in protein, but the cows were getting too fat. Since then, I've been feeding and gotten the excess weight off them without any problems. Now they are all in the 5-6 bcs range, not 7 and 8.
 

Workinonit Farm

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brandonm_13":173z6y97 said:
would the cobination of a large bw bull and a large bw cow cause you to have an extremely large bw calf???

I once had a cow who consistantly threw large calves, regardless of 'who' the bull was. Her calves were in the 90 lb range, never had any trouble with calving. One year she and one of my Jerseys were bred 'accidently' by a bull known to throw fairly large calves. Both cows had calves that needed to be pulled. The cow known for large calves was having her 8th calf. The Jersey's calf was 80 pounds (large for her) and the other cow's calf was just shy of 130lbs.

I do think the bull does have some influence on the size of the calf, but I don't think the bull is the only influence.

Katherine
 

ArmyDoc

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No personal experience, but have read that in the bos indicus breeds the cow has a lot of influence on the calf, and consequently have much less trouble when bread to large bulls, where as in the bos taurus breeds the cow has much less influence and can get into trouble.
 

dun

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The bulls BW and Calving Ease are just one piece of the equation. The cow has at least 50% influcence, how the cow is fed has 50% influence and the bull has 50% influence. Some cows throw large calves just as some bulls throw large calves. The concept of knowing your cows makes bull selection much easier. With an unknown cow we use a bull that we've had a bunch of calves out of and know what to expect. Heifers or cows his calves seem to all run within 10 lbs of each other year after year. Then there is the genetic nick that happens between 2 animals that consistantly throws either larger or smaller calves then normal.
 

randiliana

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brandonm_13":y4e6wd1m said:
Considering high BW cows, that makes me wonder. If you breed them to a low bw bull and they throw large calves, what would happen if you bred them to a larger bw bull that could increase weaning weights. Would the birth weight stil be about the same since the cow seems to have the prepotency for certain size calves, or would the cobination of a large bw bull and a large bw cow cause you to have an extremely large bw calf???

I was worried about birthings this past season. The brother-in-law was in charge of feeding the cows. They were being fed too much grain. I couldn't seem to convince him to stop feeding so much(he was feeding in the morning when I was at work.), and the cows kept getting fatter. Luckily we did alright. Teh feed wasn't all that high in protein, but the cows were getting too fat. Since then, I've been feeding and gotten the excess weight off them without any problems. Now they are all in the 5-6 bcs range, not 7 and 8.

My answer to this would be sometimes yes and sometimes no. It all depends on how the genetics 'cick'.

I think for the most part that unless you went extremely large (larger than what the cow usually has) it won't have a great effect. But BW's aren't like adding 1+1. Big to big doesn't mean you will come up with huge.

Case in point we had this Hereford cow for several years.

1999 - As a heifer bred BA (easy calving??) she had 105 lb calf (assisted) avg BW from the same group was 76 lbs
2000 - Bred HH (87 lbs) she had a 150 lb calf c-section (year we fed chick peas) avg BW from same bull 93 lbs
2001 - Bred HH (94 lbs) she had a 112 lb calf assisted. Avg BW for same bull 91 lbs
2002 - Bred HH (94 lbs) she had a 116 lb calf unassisted. Avg BW for same bull 98 lbs
2003 - Bred HH (90 lbs) she had a 93 lb calf unassisted. Avg BW for same bull 90 lbs
2004 - Bred BA (?? lbs) she had a 100+/- lb calf unassisted but dead. Avg BW for same bull 80 lbs
2005 - Bred BA (80 lbs) she had a 102 lb calf unassisted. Avg BW for same bull 90 lbs
2006 - Bred BA (80 lbs) she had a 113 lb calf c-section. Avg BW for same bull 96 lbs. She went to town this time.

This cows avg BW for her lifetime was 112 lbs. Which is larger than what we want, and larger than the avg BW of our herd. Definitely she was in the top 5 for BW, maybe even #1.
 

novatech

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ArmyDoc":2m368dg6 said:
No personal experience, but have read that in the bos indicus breeds the cow has a lot of influence on the calf, and consequently have much less trouble when bread to large bulls, where as in the bos taurus breeds the cow has much less influence and can get into trouble.
I have bred for F1's, Brahman cows with Hereford bulls. I have never had to consider wither the bull was high or low birth weight.I do not recall any calf over 80 lbs. I have talked with others that have used Brahman bulls over Hereford cows and they say they have to watch heifers pretty close.
 

KNERSIE

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Genetically both parents have a 50% influence, the cow's intra-uterine environment plays a big role as well as how the cow was managed, so you could argue overall the cow has the bigger influence and the owner of the cow also has some blame when things go wrong.
 

brandonm_13

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It's too bad it's not like chickens. I had bantam hens that were bred by full size roosters. I incubated the eggs(which were normal size), and when the chicks hatched, the were the size of bantams... for about 3 days. After that, they just shot up.
 

brandonm_13

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I found something that was interesting. A southern dairy farmer, trying to make his holstein cows more heat tolerant, crossed them with Senepol(this was the first of a couple of different breed crosses he did). He said that the bull must have more influence than previously thought because he got more milk from the cows that were bred holstein bull to senepol cow than he did from cows that were bred Senepol bull to holstein cow.
 

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