Cow Longevity

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When we first got our land it was nothing but weeds and I bought some longhorns to keep on it to chew it down. They did a great job while I was spraying and mowing and threw a decent brangus in there. Old man told me he was going to give me an old longhorn and I told him to just kick her off. 26 now and still having babies! Ugliest cow on earth but she's a pet so I keep her
 
When we first got our land it was nothing but weeds and I bought some longhorns to keep on it to chew it down. They did a great job while I was spraying and mowing and threw a decent brangus in there. Old man told me he was going to give me an old longhorn and I told him to just kick her off. 26 now and still having babies! Ugliest cow on earth but she's a pet so I keep her
I've herd :sneaky: of over 20, but I think 26, on the backside of 20 downhill to 30, is about the oldest I've herd :sneaky: of. Anyone have a cow that has been productive (or alive) at 30?
 
I have a cow that is 16. Thinking about selling her because or her age. She still has good calves just longer times in between. Use to she had a calf every 11 to 12 months. Right now she is at 15 months. I have kept several of her calves, best mommas I have. Think I am going to give her one more shot and hope she has a heifer.
Still has good calves.......Ya know, if you like her that much, and the calves are good, maybe consider enriching her feed just a little bit to possibly shorten her recovery time before breeding back. Don't go too far and over condition her or you will end up with the same problem or concern.....long breed back time......or worse, she stays open. Just a slight nudge and see what happens.
 
Still has good calves.......Ya know, if you like her that much, and the calves are good, maybe consider enriching her feed just a little bit to possibly shorten her recovery time before breeding back. Don't go too far and over condition her or you will end up with the same problem or concern.....long breed back time......or worse, she stays open. Just a slight nudge and see what happens.
I have her in the pen with a heifer I am keeping this year, feeding her. I can tell that she is bred, hoping she give me one more heifer.
 
I've herd :sneaky: of over 20, but I think 26, on the backside of 20 downhill to 30, is about the oldest I've herd :sneaky: of. Anyone have a cow that has been productive (or alive) at 30?
I have not. heard of a cow that old. But a neighbor that has all kinds of stuff...petting zoo, 3 sleighs and a lot of reindeer that he goes to places for people to get p[cs made with Santa, a herd of camels now that he takes to events for camel rides, a zedonk and a zebra on his pony ride carousel, etc., has a LH steer that he gives kids rides on and pics on, that is now 32. It's pasture buddy was a Brahma steer, that was 27 when he died in 2020. His wife rode that one with a saddle and bridle. Both of them had an extremely easy life, though, and Wayne was careful to not let them get overly fat. I have known of Brahma cows producing at over 20 yrs old, but don't recall any at 30 or more. I think it could be probable, though.
 
I have not. heard of a cow that old. But a neighbor that has all kinds of stuff...petting zoo, 3 sleighs and a lot of reindeer that he goes to places for people to get p[cs made with Santa, a herd of camels now that he takes to events for camel rides, a zedonk and a zebra on his pony ride carousel, etc., has a LH steer that he gives kids rides on and pics on, that is now 32. It's pasture buddy was a Brahma steer, that was 27 when he died in 2020. His wife rode that one with a saddle and bridle. Both of them had an extremely easy life, though, and Wayne was careful to not let them get overly fat. I have known of Brahma cows producing at over 20 yrs old, but don't recall any at 30 or more. I think it could be probable, though.
The breeder I get my bulls from had one cow up into her mid 20's, she'd had like 22 calves I think? I'm happy if the majority of my replacement heifers make 10 years (and that's not the case at all).. One year I had a nice group of 6 replacement heifers and they all made 10 years, but I've had many years when I'd cull most of them out by 4 years
 
The breeder I get my bulls from had one cow up into her mid 20's, she'd had like 22 calves I think? I'm happy if the majority of my replacement heifers make 10 years (and that's not the case at all).. One year I had a nice group of 6 replacement heifers and they all made 10 years, but I've had many years when I'd cull most of them out by 4 years
You might want to buy replacements from someone that makes it a priority to breed heifers from older cows that have been productive for more than ten years and lasted. That was my starting priority when I was raising commercial replacements and my customers seemed to appreciate having to buy replacements less often...
 
These are my 2 oldest girls. Pic was last summer, and they'll be 13 next month. Both still calve within the first couple weeks of calving season and raise whoppers - I've kept every heifer from them, so the lineage continues. They just stand there and generally don't even watch while I tag/work their newborns; they know the drill. Baldie on the left (33A) had early-stage cancer eye in 2017. Vet removed both 3rd eyelids and zero problems since, haven't treated her for anything else. Black, purebred Angus (4A) is the head cow, a total diva, and worth it. Treated her for an abscess in 2018. That's it. We didn't start raising cattle until 2009, so these girls were in the first group of heifers we retained.
View attachment 24801
Update on my old girls. Baldy on the left (33A) stifled. She's still keeping up with the herd and raising an okay calf, but she's losing condition and I'm selling her when I wean in 3 weeks. 4A (Bebe) is still Boss Cow! Gave me another heifer this year (Beth Dutton - absolutely keeping her) and got bred the 1st week I turned out the bulls. Still in good condition with zero other problems and will spit out her 13th calf around the 1st week of March '24.
 
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You might want to buy replacements from someone that makes it a priority to breed heifers from older cows that have been productive for more than ten years and lasted. That was my starting priority when I was raising commercial replacements and my customers seemed to appreciate having to buy replacements less often...
definitely, I've only ever bought one heifer, but to have a bull that comes from such a place is a good thing too
 
I don't wait around to see how long a cow will make it before she lets me down. I have enough let me down for enough reasons to not add old age to the list. In my situation (climate, geography, performance expectations etc. ) I have found it best to sell the cow before old age sets in, generally 13-14 is old enough. I know we all have or have had a great old cow(s) that produced great calves for a long time so the thought is to keep her doing it until she can't. But if we are keeping replacements our herd should constantly be improving, and we should be producing replacements at least as good as the aforementioned cow(s).
 
I don't wait around to see how long a cow will make it before she lets me down. I have enough let me down for enough reasons to not add old age to the list. In my situation (climate, geography, performance expectations etc. ) I have found it best to sell the cow before old age sets in, generally 13-14 is old enough. I know we all have or have had a great old cow(s) that produced great calves for a long time so the thought is to keep her doing it until she can't. But if we are keeping replacements our herd should constantly be improving, and we should be producing replacements at least as good as the aforementioned cow(s).
There's a conflict between expecting continuing fertility into whatever years you deem appropriate to cull a cow for age... and culling a cow at an earlier age just to protect yourself from the possibility of an infertile cow due to age.

If you want cows to be productive until they are 15... then you have to keep heifers from cows that have performed well into their teens. If all your replacement heifers come from 5 year old cows you are going to be getting replacements from cows that will only last 5/6/7/etc. years. Some will outperform their mothers, but your average will be going down. Of course there is no guarantee that a specific heifer out of a 15 year old cow will outperform the average, but the numbers show a group of heifers from 15 year old cows will be more fertile, longer as an average. And when you couple those heifers with a bull that came out of an older cow, and from a line of bulls that came from older cows, you will get heifers with a greater propensity to maintain fertility into age.

It costs money to replace productive cows, but it also costs money to keep unproductive cows. Culling a cow early costs as much as culling too late.

This business is predicated on averages and improving them. People that buy animals with this in mind do better than people that only buy the cheapest things they can find and have no plan to make improvements.
 
If all your replacement heifers come from 5 year old cows you are going to be getting replacements from cows that will only last 5/6/7/etc.
That statement is illogical and has no basis in fact.

You and everyone else is quite welcome to keep cows until they become shells and fail. If people feel they are making progress doing that then that's fine. I'm saying my business model doesn't take that route it will not.
 
There's a conflict between expecting continuing fertility into whatever years you deem appropriate to cull a cow for age... and culling a cow at an earlier age just to protect yourself from the possibility of an infertile cow due to age.

If you want cows to be productive until they are 15... then you have to keep heifers from cows that have performed well into their teens. If all your replacement heifers come from 5 year old cows you are going to be getting replacements from cows that will only last 5/6/7/etc. years. Some will outperform their mothers, but your average will be going down. Of course there is no guarantee that a specific heifer out of a 15 year old cow will outperform the average, but the numbers show a group of heifers from 15 year old cows will be more fertile, longer as an average. And when you couple those heifers with a bull that came out of an older cow, and from a line of bulls that came from older cows, you will get heifers with a greater propensity to maintain fertility into age.

It costs money to replace productive cows, but it also costs money to keep unproductive cows. Culling a cow early costs as much as culling too late.

This business is predicated on averages and improving them. People that buy animals with this in mind do better than people that only buy the cheapest things they can find and have no plan to make improvements.
You make some good points. How much does development of that heifer contribute to longevity along with genetics?
 
You make some good points. How much does development of that heifer contribute to longevity along with genetics?
Same for bulls. Push them hard as young animals and you grow mass and weight. develop them a bit slower and you develop all parts including bone and ligaments at the same rate. For heifers there is the issue of excess fat in the udder. For bulls there is the issue of excess fat in the scrotum. But bigger is better and more is great so we keep seeing the same cycles. If you want sounder breeding stock and performance data, do performance work on steers and cull heifers that are peers to potential breeders. But that is not the American way. That's my experience.
 
That statement is illogical and has no basis in fact.

You and everyone else is quite welcome to keep cows until they become shells and fail. If people feel they are making progress doing that then that's fine. I'm saying my business model doesn't take that route it will not.
I'm not saying you have to do it or anything else. But I am saying that if someone isn't pushing for longevity by keeping older, productive cows then longevity will decrease. If it isn't a survival advantage to be productive, and a trait that's being selected for, then that trait will become less common in the greater gene pool.

So if it's illogical to you then maybe I said it badly so you didn't understand. I'm sure others here, especially those that understand the advantages to retention of long lived, productive cows do understand. And yeah... there is a basis in fact.

My customers were buying my product because they got better results, and they paid more for them because they made more money. The results prove out.
 
So if I keep a replacement heifer from a 2 year old does that mean I am going to get a replacement that only lasts 2 years?
 
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