Developing Heifers

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blackcowz

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Hi all,
This fall I am going to try a new heifer development ration from Kent Feeds. These are LimFlex females that we'll be trying to market as replacements and show females this fall. I plan on feeding this to all the calves at weaning, both sexes, and then changing the steers over to their finishing ration as they start to get to that 600-800 pound range. How do you think this will work for growing calves? Do heifers need a slightly different ration than the steers as they develop? I haven't ever fed grain to heifers before, but would like to with these LimFlex females. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Feed Tag:

Guaranteed Analysis
Crude Protein, min 13.5%
Crude Fat, min 3.5%
Crude Fiber, max 11.0%
Calcium (Ca), min 0.6%
Calcium (Ca), max 1.1%
Phosphorus (P), min 0.35%
Salt (NaCl), min 0.2%
Salt (NaCl), max 0.7%
Potassium (K), min 0.45%
Copper (Cu), min 45 ppm
Selenium (Se), min 0.3 ppm
Zinc (Zn), min 145 ppm
Vitamin A, min 6,250 IU/lb
Vitamin D3, min 675 IU/lb
Vitamin E, min 14 IU/lb

Ingredients
Corn, Oats, Barley, Processed Grain By-Products, Cottonseed Hulls, Soybean Meal, Linseed Meal, Sunflower Meal, Dried Whey, Dried Cheese Product, Dehydrated Alfalfa Meal, Cane Molasses, Calcium Carbonate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Salt, Vegetable Oil, Animal Fat, Yeast Culture, Dried Brewers Yeast, Reed-Sedge Peat, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Menadione Dimethylpyrimidinol Bisulfite (source of Vitamin K Activity), Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Biotin, Folic Acid, Zinc Methionine Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Calcium Iodate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Cobalt Carbonate, Magnesium Oxide, Potassium Chloride, Sodium Selenite (source of Selenium), Propionic Acid, Acetic Acid, Benzoic Acid, Sorbic Acid, Ethoxyquin and BHT (preservatives).

Feeding Directions
Feed as the sole grain ration along with long stem hay to growing steers and heifers weighing 500 - 700 pounds.
 

novatech

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I give mine all the gras they can eat.
They get some feed at weaning just to gentle them down then they go to the pasture forever.
 

Frankie

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blackcowz":2ljstdyh said:
Hi all,
This fall I am going to try a new heifer development ration from Kent Feeds. These are LimFlex females that we'll be trying to market as replacements and show females this fall. I plan on feeding this to all the calves at weaning, both sexes, and then changing the steers over to their finishing ration as they start to get to that 600-800 pound range. How do you think this will work for growing calves? Do heifers need a slightly different ration than the steers as they develop? I haven't ever fed grain to heifers before, but would like to with these LimFlex females. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Do you have an ag advisor? Or a 4-H advisor? You'll find many suggestions about developing heifers. But here's something from OK State University:

The period between weaning and breeding is a very critical time in the life of a beef female. At weaning she is between 7 and 10 months old and weighs, in general, 350 to 650 pounds. Some six months later, she is exposed to the bull or to artificial insemination. Hopefully, most of these heifers are bred in the first 21 days and 80 percent or more are pregnant after a 45 day breeding season. Growing programs for weaned replacement heifers must be adequate to allow enough gain from weaning to 13 months of age to allow a high percentage of heifers to being cycling. Since most beef breed replacements will need to gain 240 pounds between weaning and breeding, the heifers must gain at least 1.33 pounds per day.

Read the entire article here: http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/exten/cc-co ... place.html

And from Iowa State:

http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/pdfs/bch/02100.pdf
 
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blackcowz

blackcowz

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Frankie":18mldsw0 said:
blackcowz":18mldsw0 said:
Hi all,
This fall I am going to try a new heifer development ration from Kent Feeds. These are LimFlex females that we'll be trying to market as replacements and show females this fall. I plan on feeding this to all the calves at weaning, both sexes, and then changing the steers over to their finishing ration as they start to get to that 600-800 pound range. How do you think this will work for growing calves? Do heifers need a slightly different ration than the steers as they develop? I haven't ever fed grain to heifers before, but would like to with these LimFlex females. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Do you have an ag advisor? Or a 4-H advisor? You'll find many suggestions about developing heifers. But here's something from OK State University:

The period between weaning and breeding is a very critical time in the life of a beef female. At weaning she is between 7 and 10 months old and weighs, in general, 350 to 650 pounds. Some six months later, she is exposed to the bull or to artificial insemination. Hopefully, most of these heifers are bred in the first 21 days and 80 percent or more are pregnant after a 45 day breeding season. Growing programs for weaned replacement heifers must be adequate to allow enough gain from weaning to 13 months of age to allow a high percentage of heifers to being cycling. Since most beef breed replacements will need to gain 240 pounds between weaning and breeding, the heifers must gain at least 1.33 pounds per day.

Read the entire article here: http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/exten/cc-co ... place.html

And from Iowa State:

http://www.iowabeefcenter.org/pdfs/bch/02100.pdf

frankie, I really do appreciate that. Actually, there is a couple local guys who have experience developing heifers and one guy who raises seedstock Limousin, so I guess I'll get with him and ask. But this is also some excellent reading material. Thanks for posting it. Generally, our heifers never see a speck of grain in their life, but these are kinda "special" in the sense that we're trying to make them look as good as we can to market them as show cattle and as top end replacements. Plus, some will stay in the herd and will need to be in good shape to breed back A.I. Thanks for the info.
 

Frankie

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blackcowz":1d8gfb3j said:
frankie, I really do appreciate that. Actually, there is a couple local guys who have experience developing heifers and one guy who raises seedstock Limousin, so I guess I'll get with him and ask. But this is also some excellent reading material. Thanks for posting it. Generally, our heifers never see a speck of grain in their life, but these are kinda "special" in the sense that we're trying to make them look as good as we can to market them as show cattle and as top end replacements. Plus, some will stay in the herd and will need to be in good shape to breed back A.I. Thanks for the info.

You're welcome. Our Extension people are full of very useful info, if we'll just take time to listen.

If you're going to market these girls as show heifers, I'd think they needed to be very well grown out. And that usually means feed. Good luck with them.....
 
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blackcowz

blackcowz

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Frankie":s069fn0b said:
blackcowz":s069fn0b said:
frankie, I really do appreciate that. Actually, there is a couple local guys who have experience developing heifers and one guy who raises seedstock Limousin, so I guess I'll get with him and ask. But this is also some excellent reading material. Thanks for posting it. Generally, our heifers never see a speck of grain in their life, but these are kinda "special" in the sense that we're trying to make them look as good as we can to market them as show cattle and as top end replacements. Plus, some will stay in the herd and will need to be in good shape to breed back A.I. Thanks for the info.

You're welcome. Our Extension people are full of very useful info, if we'll just take time to listen.

If you're going to market these girls as show heifers, I'd think they needed to be very well grown out. And that usually means feed. Good luck with them.....

Thanks again! I reckon I should have thought to utilize the local guys right off the bat. Hopefully I can get some pictures of these gals as babies. They look good right now at under a month, so I'm hoping they'll be awesomer by weaning. :D Thanks again.
 

KMacGinley

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I agree with Frankie that if you are going to market them as show heifers you will have to feed them somewhat aggressively, however if you intend to keep them for your own replacements, you will have better milking, longer lasting cows if you bring them on slowly on a 100% high quality forage ration.
 

Aero

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it looks like you are going to ruin some heifers to me.

they might work in the Hollywood show ring, but you might as well plan on eating them after that.
 

edrsimms

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The show heifer arena has a much different feeding program than heifers that go back into a production operation for most people. I have seen few show heifers that made exceptional broodcows-- I hope those remarks were obvious to most of us.

For Fall born heifers----- weaned at 7 mos-- they normally weigh in at 600 lbs. Ours go on our best forages to gain 1.5 lbs per day on summer graze (for us that is Millet) until the following Fall. Our heifers at 15 months (first breeding) normally weigh in about 900 to 1000 lbs and this is done soley on forage. The only feed they get is during their post-weaning phase when I am trying to gentle them up a bit.

If you dont have grazing available, which sounds like you don't I would be very cautious about feeding them high fat content feeds. You really dont want your heifers gaining tremendous amounts of weight due to depositing fat where we dont want it. For show heifers a little hair can hide some of these flaws but not all. I would also prefer a lower CP feed -- maybe 12 %. Another thing to keep in mind is that all ruminant animals need 20% of their feed intake to be a forage ( grazing, hay etc..) to keep the rumen active.

The basic rule (for me) is to grow them out as I would for any production heifer because if she wins a show --so what--- what can she do when I dump her out on pasture with the rest of them when her show days are over. Of course as show people go they tend to like a heifer that resembles a shoebox with legs.......... what I think will impress a judge at a show would be a heifer that is sound and is not overfinished with a medium frame and with the possibility of easy fleshability.

Steers, on the other hand, don't need to be put on their finishing ration until they reach 850+ (depending on the breed, frame,etc...)
Steers weaned at 7 mos average about 650+ lbs. I normally put steers on millet starting about yesterday post-weaning for 3-hours/day (6am to 9am) (ADG= minimum of 2.5 to 2.9 lbs per day) then placed in lounging areas with plenty of shade and fresh water (its hot down here) until they reach 850 to 900 lbs. (June, July, Aug). Most steers we have are usually sold at this time, but for the ones I keep to finish go to our feedlot and are fed a 12% ration where 20 % of the overall ration consists of a forage of some kind. They normally put on 3.5 to 4 lbs per day and some even higher and are fnished in 110 days maximum. (About 14-15 months of age)

Bottom line though is I don't keep calves that have low weaning weights (below average WDA), large frames, unsound feet and legs or crazy. I want a uniform group to feed and I place them in groups by breed and weight (works the best for me)
My 2 cents.........
 
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blackcowz

blackcowz

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Thanks! That is some great info and gave me some things to consider with my heifers. I will get together with our local breeder and bring up some things about that. Actually, heifers in the show ring have been starting to pay attention to making sure that they aren't too fat. Forage can be a bit of a challenge in our neck of the woods, but the only reason I would feed grain is for the sole purpose of getting the heifers "perty" to sell this fall. Thanks again for all the information.
 

MShaffer

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edrsimms":1rtvdmsb said:
For Fall born heifers----- weaned at 7 mos-- they normally weigh in at 600 lbs. Ours go on our best forages to gain 1.5 lbs per day on summer graze (for us that is Millet) until the following Fall. Our heifers at 15 months (first breeding) normally weigh in about 900 to 1000 lbs and this is done soley on forage. The only feed they get is during their post-weaning phase when I am trying to gentle them up a bit.

How long and how much do you feed them during the post-weaning phase?
 

edrsimms

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MShaffer":2lk0n2qx said:
edrsimms":2lk0n2qx said:
For Fall born heifers----- weaned at 7 mos-- they normally weigh in at 600 lbs. Ours go on our best forages to gain 1.5 lbs per day on summer graze (for us that is Millet) until the following Fall. Our heifers at 15 months (first breeding) normally weigh in about 900 to 1000 lbs and this is done soley on forage. The only feed they get is during their post-weaning phase when I am trying to gentle them up a bit.

How long and how much do you feed them during the post-weaning phase?

I feed them about 3 weeks post-weaning to gentle them up and help them get past weaning stress. I make my own feed 12% corn based ration using SBM for protien req. I dont feed them but about 6 lbs per head during this period, with free choice high quality grass hay + pasture.
 

Aero

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edrsimms":1aiwdtpv said:
Bottom line though is I don't keep calves that have low weaning weights (below average WDA), large frames, unsound feet and legs or crazy. I want a uniform group to feed and I place them in groups by breed and weight (works the best for me)

there are some conceptual issues with these statements:
1) if you dont keep any below average WW calves, you are increasing mature size (frame included). it is possible to increase weight without frame, but you are fighting nature.

if you are selecting for anything other than the middle (above and below average), you are selecting more heterozygous animals. this doesnt lend itself to uniformity over the long haul.
 

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