Feeding Replacement Heifer

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I have a beautiful Cream White face heifer, just turned a year old a couple of days ago, weighs right on 700 lbs. Vet says she's in fine physical condition. She appears to be in fine shape, but she's not at all fat -- hard as a rock with no excess fat on her.

I have had neighbors tell me that I'm doing her an injustice by not fattening her.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't excess fat in the rudimentary udder interfere with later milk production? And won't excess fat in the abdominal cavity interfere with later conception/fertility? And won't excess fat also predispose her to Ketosis at calving?

Ann B
Fat heifers are a bit tricky. You're right, excess fat is not good. But when a heifer calves, she'll lose weight nursing her calf. If she's not in good condition she may not breed back on time for that second calf. So it's a balancing act. I have to admit that mine are probably too fat when they calve. But with the right genetics they calve unassisted and breed back. I'd pay more attention to the vet's opinion than the neighbor's. Good luck...

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I TOTALLY agree with Frankie on the listening to the vet. YES! If your heifer is too fat before she calves, not only will she calve harder, but the excess fat goes to the bag, lessening the amount of milk she will give and probably even the quality. I ruined three fine heifers this last year because I over conditioned them. PLUS! all three had to be pulled, so you can see I fed a big problem into my cattle. BUMMER! At any rate, lack of exercise was also a problem that added to my other mistakes. After the calf is born, you can grain her to help keep the milk and her health up. I think that I would say a lean heifer, calving the first time is MUCH better and healthier than one that is too fat.

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