Having too much calving ease?

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Stocker Steve

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I have used some AI calving ease bulls (like Conquest) on heifers, and retained some of these calves. They are usually smaller cows at 1100 to 1300#, and I am fine with that.
I have one calving ease bull who usually throws calves with BWs in the 70s that come a week early.
Now some of these calving ease x calving ease calves are coming out really small - - BWs in the 60s - - and look a bit narrow like a kid goat. Seems like a poor match.
Do you have a BW cut off below which you will not retain heifers, or do you only look at WW?
 

Bright Raven

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Steve - I don't like small cows. I have a personal preference for cows in the 1300 to 1600 range. Thus, except on heifers, I don't use the calving ease bulls. I notice the heifers I have raised out of calving ease bulls tend to take me out of the cow size I prefer. So yes, I think you can dig a hole with over use of calving ease.

I don't retain heifers less than 80 pounds birth weight.
 

Ebenezer

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Select for a comfortable CED but with bulls that show +BW. Just a few years ago, Angus folks would say +3BW or lower or +2BW or lower was great for heifers. Then the bottom fell out and now a bull needs to be negative BW to be a heifer bull. Ten or 15 years does not change the need of the numbers to be different. The people and opinions changed and it has hurt the cattle. Some of the best bulls we used on heifers were +BW and OK (not extreme) on CED when they developed it. Curve benders are anomalies that seem to create problems in the second or third generation when genes rearrange back toward normal. So I avoid that too but could sell you some semen pretty cheaply on an old one if you want to learn, too!
 

Bright Raven

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This is Hook's Broadway. PB Simmental.

I have had a few calves out of him. There has not been a single calving issue. I have 4 cows due to him this fall. I would not use him on a Heifer.
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Stocker Steve

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Ebenezer":o7h8vyz8 said:
Select for a comfortable CED but with bulls that show +BW. Just a few years ago, Angus folks would say +3BW or lower or +2BW or lower was great for heifers. Then the bottom fell out and now a bull needs to be negative BW to be a heifer bull. Ten or 15 years does not change the need of the numbers to be different. The people and opinions changed and it has hurt the cattle. Some of the best bulls we used on heifers were +BW and OK (not extreme) on CED when they developed it. Curve benders are anomalies that seem to create problems in the second or third generation when genes rearrange back toward normal. So I avoid that too but could sell you some semen pretty cheaply on an old one if you want to learn, too!

Thats for the tips. Most of the calves out of my calving ease bull are 20# above herd average for weaning weight, but there are a few dinks in the mix... He does not work well on small or tall cows.

Is it just me, or are some of the calving ease bulls narrow?
 

Ebenezer

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Is it just me, or are some of the calving ease bulls narrow?

Yes. But you can find some of all cattle to be narrow. But for true low BW to occur something has to be removed from the calf. Just select for it and muscling is as easy to remove as it is to increase since the % heritability is high on the trait.

In the dull middle ground, the lack of a lot of unnecessary culling makes life mundane and easier. Not bad to admit to laziness if it makes life easier, more fun and aids profit. Or at least I have grown a callous to not mind anymore. I selectively use a specific calving ease bull via AI back and forth in the mix. Not so much due to calving ease but due to the total package. An older bull with a track record and good stuff here. Just what I like and probably what others do not. Each to his own.
 

Nesikep

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I think repeated use of stacking calving ease and low BW bulls in the family tree eventually produces cows less capable of calving... It's rare I have a calf less than 80 lbs here.. Had to assist one of my 4 heifers this year, and that's because a leg was the wrong way... Like Ron, I like about a 1400 lb mature weight on a cow.. I'm trying to get away from 1800 lb behemoths, I don't find they wean any bigger calves and they do eat more.. Going under 1200 lb mature weight calving problems are going to be more likely and they do wean a smaller calf so I'm trying to find the happy medium and get consistency. I will also say that a calf born heavier will wean heavier given the same amount of milk... Higher milking cows are better off with a bigger, hungry calf than a small one.. I have one this year that was born at 140 lbs, he's 2 months old and he's MUCH bigger than any other calf...
 

Bright Raven

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Nesikep":3uuj360l said:
Going under 1200 lb mature weight calving problems are going to be more likely and they do wean a smaller calf so I'm trying to find the happy medium and get consistency. I will also say that a calf born heavier will wean heavier given the same amount of milk... Higher milking cows are better off with a bigger, hungry calf than a small one.. I have one this year that was born at 140 lbs, he's 2 months old and he's MUCH bigger than any other calf...

I like this observation. I see it reflected here!
 

Ky hills

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Ebenezer":3qjy5mmb said:
Select for a comfortable CED but with bulls that show +BW. Just a few years ago, Angus folks would say +3BW or lower or +2BW or lower was great for heifers. Then the bottom fell out and now a bull needs to be negative BW to be a heifer bull. Ten or 15 years does not change the need of the numbers to be different. The people and opinions changed and it has hurt the cattle. Some of the best bulls we used on heifers were +BW and OK (not extreme) on CED when they developed it. Curve benders are anomalies that seem to create problems in the second or third generation when genes rearrange back toward normal. So I avoid that too but could sell you some semen pretty cheaply on an old one if you want to learn, too!

I very much agree a reasonable CED and a lower + BW is what I like to see in a heifer bull. I have used bulls with as much as +2.5 BW and been ok, but am more comfortable with +2 or lower especially if they are bred heifers we are selling. I think there may be situations where the real low ones might be ok, but I have often wondered that at what point do those extremes just become numbers with no added benefits. I wonder if wide spread and continual use of low birth weight bulls could account for a higher rate of smaller pelvic measurements. We purchase heifers to breed and this year 6 didn't meet the required measurement of 150 cm. At first I thought that maybe they were all as a group a little younger perhaps, but then most of the ones that passed far exceeded the requirements being 190-220+ cm. and the group is as consistent in size as in the past.
 

Ky hills

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Nesikep":10a38otc said:
I think repeated use of stacking calving ease and low BW bulls in the family tree eventually produces cows less capable of calving... It's rare I have a calf less than 80 lbs here.. Had to assist one of my 4 heifers this year, and that's because a leg was the wrong way... Like Ron, I like about a 1400 lb mature weight on a cow.. I'm trying to get away from 1800 lb behemoths, I don't find they wean any bigger calves and they do eat more.. Going under 1200 lb mature weight calving problems are going to be more likely and they do wean a smaller calf so I'm trying to find the happy medium and get consistency. I will also say that a calf born heavier will wean heavier given the same amount of milk... Higher milking cows are better off with a bigger, hungry calf than a small one.. I have one this year that was born at 140 lbs, he's 2 months old and he's MUCH bigger than any other calf...

I agree with your assessment, having had Charolais in the past anything under 100lbs. was low BW for them. That cow herd ranged from 1400-1800 lbs. I weighed almost all of those calves and the largest of them was 2 or 3 at 135lbs, while most were from 105-120 out of cows. Sometimes the heifers would have calves about the same size too, but there was sometimes a pull required. The cows that I have now I would definitely not want calves anywhere near that size. The Charolais weaning weights were much heavier with the heaviest being a bull that weighed 900 at 8 months, most others would be 700+to 800+.
Now with smaller Angus and Hereford cows the comparable spring born calves will wean around 550-600+.
It is kind of a trade off, the calves don't weigh as much but the cows are a bit more self sufficient at calving time barring the occasional abnormal presentation.
 

Nesikep

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Ky hills":36loerxw said:
I agree with your assessment, having had Charolais in the past anything under 100lbs. was low BW for them. That cow herd ranged from 1400-1800 lbs. I weighed almost all of those calves and the largest of them was 2 or 3 at 135lbs, while most were from 105-120 out of cows. Sometimes the heifers would have calves about the same size too, but there was sometimes a pull required. The cows that I have now I would definitely not want calves anywhere near that size. The Charolais weaning weights were much heavier with the heaviest being a bull that weighed 900 at 8 months, most others would be 700+to 800+.
Now with smaller Angus and Hereford cows the comparable spring born calves will wean around 550-600+.
It is kind of a trade off, the calves don't weigh as much but the cows are a bit more self sufficient at calving time barring the occasional abnormal presentation.
My bigger cows have shorthorn influence, they're the ones that make the monster calves.. there's about 4 of them left, You can tell them all you want, but 130-140 lb bull calves is all they'll make, regardless of the bull they're bred to...
you probably have seen it already, but since it's relevant, here's a 140 lb'er being born in the time it take to play a folk song.. he's heavy but he's long too
[youtube]https://youtu.be/GwcnbPEmnRs[/youtube]
The brother of this one is my current bull Hector, On Sunday my buddy's Jersey/Dexter/Angus heifer calved out a bull calf from him unassisted.. Only trouble he had was one of his 2nd timer Longhorns.. I was just there for it, a few bale twines and I pulled it by hand
 

True Grit Farms

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There's no such thing as to much calving ease around here. We sell live calves and babysitting isn't something that I have time for. A decent carcass weight by 18 months is all that we're looking for around here. With the DNA testing and EPD'S that are available today you can't hardly miss, it's called consistency. Buy good bulls from reputable breeders and the rest is easy. Seems like a lot of folks make things harder by trying to save a few dollars.
 

Davemk

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Stocker Steve":3k2hatds said:
I have used some AI calving ease bulls (like Conquest) on heifers, and retained some of these calves. They are usually smaller cows at 1100 to 1300#, and I am fine with that.
I have one calving ease bull who usually throws calves with BWs in the 70s that come a week early.
Now some of these calving ease x calving ease calves are coming out really small - - BWs in the 60s - - and look a bit narrow like a kid goat. Seems like a poor match.
Do you have a BW cut off below which you will not retain heifers, or do you only look at WW?

In a word. Hell yes.

Some of you should try getting some of these cattle finished without losing your rearend.
 

mrvictordomino

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True Grit Farms":2llbeiun said:
There's no such thing as to much calving ease around here. We sell live calves and babysitting isn't something that I have time for. A decent carcass weight by 18 months is all that we're looking for around here. With the DNA testing and EPD'S that are available today you can't hardly miss, it's called consistency. Buy good bulls from reputable breeders and the rest is easy. Seems like a lot of folks make things harder by trying to save a few dollars.
Good commen sense post
 

Nesikep

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Speaking just for myself, I'd say if you're having calving problems, then you should look into more calving ease, but if you aren't having problems you have nothing to gain by stacking it repeatedly
 

Rafter S

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I pay a lot of attention to calving ease when I'm putting a bull on 15 month old heifers, but none when selecting a bull to use on mature cows.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Stacking CE is a disaster waiting to happen - if, and only if, you don't pay attention to all the other EPD's & tools available. At least in the Simmental breed, there are good CE bulls with good growth traits (average or better) and good MCE, (called SPREAD bulls). I'm sure ALL breeds have them. Watch your numbers across the board, don't just focus on CE direct.
I definitely would not pay any attention to how small the bw was for retaining a heifer. How she grows is the biggest factor for me. On the opposite side, you need to watch heifers with really large bw's and be careful what bull you breed her to for first calf.
 

Ky hills

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For my cattle, I certainly want calving ease. I don't particularly enjoy having to constantly babysit and assist with cows calving or having to work with slow to get up and going calves which sometimes occurs with larger BW calves. For heifers we use low BW and CED's of 7 or higher bulls, and have the heifers pelvic measured, for tools of selection to help minimize calving issues, but still check them regularly. For cows I am ok with using average or a little higher BW bulls, but I don't want to have to babysit cows, and don't particularly enjoy assisting the birth or having to work with weak and slow to get going calves. I feel that cows should be able to give birth to calves easily within a range of weights but when using known higher birthweight bulls be it anomalies of the same breed or breeds known to sire calves much bigger then extra management is to be expected. My concern is the use of say for example an Angus bull with a -3 or even -4 BW, and CED in the high teens to +20. It is my belief that if those numbers as well as others are accurate then for most herds that is over kill so to speak.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I have never had pelvic measurements on my heifers. Not saying I don't believe in them, just have never been convinced I needed that service. We may help 1 heifer in two years calving seasons - at most. Not counting abnormal presentations to cows and/or heifers.
I believe in growing out my heifers prior to breeding so that they can easily handle a 80 - 100# calf. Most are in the 70-85# range. I guess small pelvic sizes are not a problem for the type of cattle I choose to raise.
And, I do not grain feed thru calving. My heifers are fed about 5# whole shell corn from weaning to breeding in our "nice" NY winters. Then they go out on pasture with the cows when they are bred.
I talk to many people that are so worried about calving out heifers. Just never has been a problem for me - ever.
 

Bright Raven

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":1gma8rgr said:
I have never had pelvic measurements on my heifers. Not saying I don't believe in them, just have never been convinced I needed that service. We may help 1 heifer in two years calving seasons - at most. Not counting abnormal presentations to cows and/or heifers.
I believe in growing out my heifers prior to breeding so that they can easily handle a 80 - 100# calf. Most are in the 70-85# range. I guess small pelvic sizes are not a problem for the type of cattle I choose to raise.
And, I do not grain feed thru calving. My heifers are fed about 5# whole shell corn from weaning to breeding in our "nice" NY winters. Then they go out on pasture with the cows when they are bred.
I talk to many people that are so worried about calving out heifers. Just never has been a problem for me - ever.

My experience here has been the same. I have had heifers deliver 100 pound calves, unassisted
 

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