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Heifer calving difficulties

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Anonymous

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Our heifers are starting to make us nervous. This year we have had 2 heifers "hold" their calves untl they finally gave birth (assisted-hard) to very large calves. (Need to check the weights - one born dead, one alive - probably close to 100 lbs). The dead one, most likely died in the process of being born, before it could be pulled. The other will hopefully be OK. We have never had this happen before in several years of calving heifers. These heifers' mothers, maternal & paternal half sisters have had no problems. The heifers (angus) were A.I. bred to very light birth weight angus bulls and are larger heifers-both weighing over 930 lbs at yearling and calved near 22 & 23 months of age. It has been a colder winter than years past, which I heard can affect gestation. The gestation periods were 295 & 299. We did turn out the clean up bull (calving ease angus) for the next cycle, so such large calves should not be that early. Our typical birth weights on our other heifers have ranged from 56-71 lbs. Cows 58-85 lbs. With our largest calf ever at 91 lbs (from a cow). Another heifers calf was dead in the morning (she had it during the night, but he was not unusually large nor was it horribly cold & wet-just a freak thing I guess). Relief is in sight - only 2 are left to calve. Has anyone else had unusual problems or any suggestions? No, we do not pelvic measure. The heifers were 6.5 & nearly 8 frame score.
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Your gestation gives a major clue, the bull is not for heifers, or at least those heifers. Also the difference in frame between heifers suggests you are in a building phase and need to select different bulls for different heifers. I know it's tough with small numbers, but to get some consistancy is worth it.<p>Cold weather will also increase calf size, 2 reasons, 1 that the blood circulation is kept inside the heifer and more avaiable to the calf, and 2 you tend to feed more to combat the cold.<p>With difficult births, you need to intervene sooner than you might think. If a heifer is not making visible progress 20 minutes after hard labor starts, you should assist. Even if you have to reach inside the heifer to find the feet.<p>Jason Trowbridge<br>Southern Angus Farms<br>Alberta Canada
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(User Above)":3ud3257h said:
: Your gestation gives a major clue, the bull is not for heifers, or at least those heifers. Also the difference in frame between heifers suggests you are in a building phase and need to select different bulls for different heifers. I know it's tough with small numbers, but to get some consistancy is worth it.<p>: Cold weather will also increase calf size, 2 reasons, 1 that the blood circulation is kept inside the heifer and more avaiable to the calf, and 2 you tend to feed more to combat the cold.<p>: With difficult births, you need to intervene sooner than you might think. If a heifer is not making visible progress 20 minutes after hard labor starts, you should assist. Even if you have to reach inside the heifer to find the feet.<p>: Jason Trowbridge<br>: Southern Angus Farms<br>: Alberta Canada <p><br>The calf that was born dead was pulled by our neighbor that we pay to help us watch our cows through the week (while we are away). He had been watching her roaming all evening. Just guessing, he probably didn't intervene soon enough; as he had to go get help. We were thankful that he got the calf out, as he most likely saved the heifer by this time.<p>True, we are in a building stage and using different A.I. sires has enabled us (in addition to our herd bulls) to produce fairly uniform calf crops.<p>The pulled calves were out of different A.I. sires, both of which are noted for calving ease. The odd point is, these same A.I. sires did produce small calves on the cows they were used on. It seems the heifers must have kept their "legs crossed" to procratinate calving. We plan on keeping both heifers. I guess we'll know more next spring if their calves were "genetic flukes" (to create such large calves) or if they will maintain dropping larger calves - perhaps it is from their (the heifers) genetic background and not the bulls.<p>Thanks. I was just wondering if anyone else had calved some larger calves on heifers. It sounds as if it is not that uncommon of a problem. Until now, we must have just been very lucky.<p>Jason: I guess in Canada, you tend to have larger calves from both heifers & cows with the cooler weather.
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From what I gather, weights in the deep South are 10 pounds lighter than here based on the same genetics.<p>We haven't had much very cold weather this winter, most days are above freezing.<p>We have used epds for many years and have a consistant range of birth weights mostly between 85 to 95 pounds.<p>The bull pictured is a son of Krugerrand of Donamere thet I raised and am selling semen on.($30/straw). His calves are very consistant around 82 pounds, haven't pulled one.<p>Jason Trowbridge<br>Southern Angus Farms<br>Alberta Canada
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