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First Time Heifer Calves

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cmf1

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I hear conflicting views on First Time Heifer Calves being kept for replacements.
Anybody got steadfast rules regarding this or is it more a case by case basis.
I'd really like to hear real life experience as well as prevailing opinions.
Thanks.
 

KNERSIE

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That depends on whether you breed your heifers to quality bulls or whether you just use a scrub bull to open the heifers.

If you've done your job correctly with past management and breeding decisions the replacement heifers should be your best genetic material. If you breed them to quality bulls why would you not want to retain that genetics? If your selection criteria is based on performance (soundness goes without saying) it will automatically cull out the poorer performers and the heifers out of your first calvers that makes this cut will likely go on to perform to your satisfaction.
 
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cmf1

cmf1

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I agree with that completely Knersie.
However,
I've been told by some old timers that first calves don't normally grow out to be as solid as 2nds and so ons.
I've never applied this theory in picking or keeping, but I'm curious as to any science or anecdotal evidence behind a concept that seems to have wheels in some peoples minds.
It does'nt make sense to me, but I've had conversations with some that take it as rule.
 

KNERSIE

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I've been told by some old timers that first calves don't normally grow out to be as solid as 2nds and so ons.

I think the old timers have told you an old wife's tale.
 
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cmf1

cmf1

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I think you are right, but I've heard it from more than one and it makes me wonder how prevelent the concept is. My first born older brother used to beat the crap out of me. Then I grew a bit more and thumped him pretty regular, and now it'd be an all day deal for the both of us. No vigor lost or gained from first to third born in my eyes.
But again I've heard it more than once. And I'm curious as to why.
 

Frankie

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It's not an old wives tale. It depends on gentics, management, etc, but a first calf heifer will generally wean a lighter calf than a mature cow. She's not going to be milking as heavy because she's still growing herself. That's why breed associations adjust 205 day weights on first calf heifer's calves.

We used to sell most of our registered Angus heifers and use that money to buy 3-4 year old bred cows. We've been keeping more of them the last few years, but generally their first calf isn't as heavy as the mature cows. After the AAA adjusts the 205 day weights, it's easier to compare the calves to those of the mature cows.
 
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cmf1

cmf1

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So Frankie,
With an easier comparison available to you through the adjustments, do you keep any firsts for replacement or do you consider them to be sub par regardless.
 

Frankie

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cmf1":3585b0re said:
So Frankie,
With an easier comparison available to you through the adjustments, do you keep any firsts for replacement or do you consider them to be sub par regardless.

Genetically speaking, if you're doing your homework, the heifers should be better than their mommas. But they probably won't wean as heavy a calf as their momma until they're grown. So if you're selling pounds of calf, first calf heifers aren't a winning proposition. If you're building your herd, know their genetics and have time for them to mature, you're smart to keep them.

We have been keeping first calvers the last few years. We bred five this spring for ourselves. We always kept the daughters of what we consider the best cows. I've never understood it, but you'll often see a bred heifer (sometimes even an open one) outsell well bred 3-5 year old cows with a calf at side and history on her previous calves! So we took advantage of that for a long time and sold our bred heifers, took the money and bought well bred, experienced, cows. It worked well for us for years. But the two places we liked to buy replacements both went out of business, plus prices for good Angus cows has really gone up. So we have been keeping some.
 

ScottyB

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Some first time heifers will not get pregant for awhile after their first calf. So you might have a first time heifer come up open when all the other mature cows were re-bred. That is something to be aware of as well.
 
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cmf1

cmf1

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If you're building your herd, know their genetics and have time for them to mature, you're smart to keep them.

We always kept the daughters of what we consider the best cows.

That's the sentiments that I have on the issue.


So if you're selling pounds of calf, first calf heifers aren't a winning proposition.

I guess that sums up why I've been told what I stated earlier.
Two completely different end games.
Sort of.
Because keeping the better genetics is going to make more money or pounds in the long run to me.
 

jcarkie

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the first calf is not as big when born if you use a small birthweight bull, and the heifer does not milk as well as a mature cow. if pound for pound she raises a good calf i would keep them if they measure up.
i wouldn't sell them all because it was moms first time, but if there are better calves then i keep the best.
if the dam is a good cow and the daughter is looking good i would keep her, i base alot on cows families.
 

dun

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Generally our heifers from heifers make better cows by 4-5 years of age then their mothers do. But we select for improving genetics instead of just freshening our heifers.
The deal about 3 year olds coming up open does happen. A 2 year old puts a lot into raising that first calf while she is still growing so requires (generally) better nutrition then an older cow. That said, if you've selected for easy keeping cows that also raise good calves you will have very, very few 3 year olds open even when run with older cows with no additional feed/nutrition. The only thing that throws a monkey wrench in the works is drought, poor pasture conditions, poor condition at calving, etc.
 

KNERSIE

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The deal about 3 year olds coming up open does happen.

Regardless of whether the dam of that 3 year old was a first calver or mature cow.

A first calver needs good management to ensure that they cycle in a timely manner to breed back in the given timeframe, how old her dam was when she was born 27 months earlier has no significance now.
 

novatech

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If you don't keep heifers from first time calvers you slow your breeding program down. Good sound heifers should produce good sound calves consistently from the start. If not there may be something wrong with your breeding management, or unwillness to cull.
I go as far as pushing my heifers, breeding heifers early to speed up the process of attaining my genetic goals.
May be luck, the breed, or something else but so far it has worked for me.
 

KNERSIE

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novatech":1fu0c2l7 said:
If you don't keep heifers from first time calvers you slow your breeding program down. Good sound heifers should produce good sound calves consistently from the start. If not there may be something wrong with your breeding management, or unwillness to cull.
I go as far as pushing my heifers, breeding heifers early to speed up the process of attaining my genetic goals.
May be luck, the breed, or something else but so far it has worked for me.

If you manage to do that consistantly with brahman you are doing more things right than wrong! :clap:
 

dun

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KNERSIE":zjzszsav said:
The deal about 3 year olds coming up open does happen.

Regardless of whether the dam of that 3 year old was a first calver or mature cow.

A first calver needs good management to ensure that they cycle in a timely manner to breed back in the given timeframe, how old her dam was when she was born 27 months earlier has no significance now.
I agree more or less. It just seems that a heifers heifer calf doesn;t really get her full growth till she's a bit older. Could come from starting out at weaning and breeding as being a little smaller. Just an opinion
 

grannysoo

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I have no problem at all keeping first time heifer calves provided you are happy with their mother and father. It takes them a few years to reach full maturity, but I know what I have with these and this is how my herd got built.

Good cows, good temperment, good calves.
 
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cmf1

cmf1

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The reason I even seriously pondered the question is because I have a first heifer that I was waiting on to calve with high expactations.
She is a first heifer.
Her calf is a first heifer.
This was by far the smallest calf of the season, 45-50lbs.(Same bull on rest of herd 65-75 lbs.)
Momma was exceptionally fit full term.
Momma is maintaining very well and milking well after 2 1/2 weeks.
Baby is growing well and looks like good bones.
Momma passed on one of my favorite things about her to the calf: her haircoat shines like a
new penny all year round.
All in all I'm happy with both, I'm just curious about the maturing of the heifer calf because of what I've heard some say about first time heifers.
I guess I'll have to wait about 6-7 months to ponder it again.

Photos don't seem to be uploadable right now so I'll post one later.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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As said previously, if the sire is decent and you bred for improvement, a first calf heifer's calf should be your best genetics. You need to adjust WW's by age of calf (adjust to 205 days) and by age of dam. Each breed association has adjustment figures. Even if your cattle aren't purebred, you can just pick a breed close to what you have & use their adjustments.
 

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