Heifer Capacity

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Stocker Steve

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I purchased several groups of heifers over the past several years. Most grew out well but some could use more heart girth, and it appears like I need a little better eye.

I realize that culling is a continuous process - - but how old does a heifer need to be to have a good idea of her mature size and shape?
 

dun

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You can have a pretty good feel at 12-14 months but to be sre, about the time she calves as a 2 year old you will know what you have.
 

cypressfarms

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Stocker Steve":jftg7vjg said:
and it appears like I need a little better eye.

Don't we all? I'd give my right arm to be able to pick out cattle as good as my dad. Kudos to you, Steve, for being strong enough to make this statement.
 

Aaron

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By weaning time, you should be able to tell. A gutless heifer at 7 months will be a gutless heifer at 15 months. :cowboy:
 

dun

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99% of the time you're right. But there is sometimes that 1% that don;t really develop till yearlings.
I'm big into storys. We had a heifer that at weaning the vet coulnd;t belive we had kept her and hadn't sent her down the road with the other feeders. She sure didn;t look like much at that time. The next spring when he was doing the repro tract cores he got to the last heifer, had his arm inside of her and asked whatever had happened to that sorry heifer we had kept in the fall. When he was looking over our heifers he had commented on this last heifer and what a powerhouse she had turned into. When he asked I told him he had his arm inside her right then. He couldn;t believe what she had turned into. If you recall the crossbred Hereford heifer I posted a picture of in the red bull thread, that was her first daughter.
This is her at about 20 months 6 months bred
robin.jpg
 

mnmtranching

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I think you can pretty much tell at about the time you turn them out with the bull. At 14-16 months. And sure, there are indications much earlier. Their frame will grow until about 3 years old. It's much easier to put flesh on them after that. I'm talking about average feeding conditions in our part of the country. Most producers up here don't pamper their heifers much. They calve, get thin, don't bred back on time, haul em to town, or feed em up for heiferette.
 

Aaron

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dun":31l4je51 said:
99% of the time you're right. But there is sometimes that 1% that don;t really develop till yearlings.
I'm big into storys. We had a heifer that at weaning the vet coulnd;t belive we had kept her and hadn't sent her down the road with the other feeders. She sure didn;t look like much at that time. The next spring when he was doing the repro tract cores he got to the last heifer, had his arm inside of her and asked whatever had happened to that sorry heifer we had kept in the fall. When he was looking over our heifers he had commented on this last heifer and what a powerhouse she had turned into. When he asked I told him he had his arm inside her right then. He couldn;t believe what she had turned into. If you recall the crossbred Hereford heifer I posted a picture of in the red bull thread, that was her first daughter.
This is her at about 20 months 6 months bred
robin.jpg

A heifer that is flat sided or has no muscle in certain places (hip, flank, etc.) won't ever develop it. Most don't think long-term. I have seen a lot of sorry heifers that turned into good looking cows. Most of us have enough fleshy heifers that when the time to cull comes, we don't give any consideration to the structural integrity of the poor heifers and look at them beyond the present time. :cowboy:
 
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Stocker Steve

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mnmtranching":79zbhqu4 said:
Their frame will grow until about 3 years old. It's much easier to put flesh on them after that. I'm talking about average feeding conditions in our part of the country. Most producers up here don't pamper their heifers much. They calve, get thin, don't bred back on time, haul em to town, or feed em up for heiferette.

I hear a lot of horror stories about heifers not breeding back. Then I drive by their pasture and it looks like a pool table with all black eight balls on it...

I have had a few low capacity fall calvers that did not breed back, but they did continue to grow through the winter and then really fleshed on good pasture the next summer. So they became a heiferet. This is one reason I like buying fall calving white face heifers - - they are almost always worth more after having a calf than you paid for them originally.
 
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Stocker Steve

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dun":2s5f9cot said:
We had a heifer that at weaning the vet coulnd;t belive we had kept her and hadn't sent her down the road with the other feeders. She sure didn;t look like much at that time. The next spring when he was doing the repro tract cores he got to the last heifer, had his arm inside of her and asked whatever had happened to that sorry heifer we had kept in the fall. When he was looking over our heifers he had commented on this last heifer and what a powerhouse she had turned into. When he asked I told him he had his arm inside her right then. He couldn;t believe what she had turned into.

Why did you know to keep her if she looked sorry?
 

dun

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Stocker Steve":xxygkx12 said:
dun":xxygkx12 said:
We had a heifer that at weaning the vet coulnd;t belive we had kept her and hadn't sent her down the road with the other feeders. She sure didn;t look like much at that time. The next spring when he was doing the repro tract cores he got to the last heifer, had his arm inside of her and asked whatever had happened to that sorry heifer we had kept in the fall. When he was looking over our heifers he had commented on this last heifer and what a powerhouse she had turned into. When he asked I told him he had his arm inside her right then. He couldn;t believe what she had turned into.

Why did you know to keep her if she looked sorry?
I knew her genetics! She turned into a real power cow by the time she calved.
 

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