Heifer Development?

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Stocker Steve

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One of my new bulls two years ago was deep and wide and short legged. His young calves looked a bit that way. We now just weaned the heifer calves who were bale grazing with the cows. Most of the 9 to 10 month old heifer calves from this bull are are striking, and don't look like they fit the rest of the group any more.

How old do heifers need to be to be before you are confident on mature shape and height? Is it possible to be too wide or too deep?
 
I find they only start to mature after they wean their 2nd calf but I think you get a good idea of their build after about 18mths of age. My heifers are born around July/August and get inseminated the following Sept/October. I like this time of year now, end of our summer when I can walk around the cattle and perv at all the young ladies ar$es. From now until calving they start to show a bit of why I kept them.
One of the things I like about AI is that I can pick the sires to suit the individual females. Something that is getting a bit "framey" I can put back to something a bit more solid. Allows me to tweak things a bit.

Ken
 
"heifer calves from this bull are are striking, and don't look like they fit the rest of the group any more."
You said his calves were like him when young. Are you saying they still are? or not???
I like mine short legged with tons of body depth and width. "Occasionally" a leggy calf will "catch up" to herself and not be so framey/leggy as an adult, but, generally, you can tell what you are getting by their frame/structure, leg length as a calf. Rarely do I get "totally fooled".
Ken I agree with matching each animal to "the right bull".
 
Reminds me of a quote I ran across once. Don't remember who to give credit to.

"If an animal makes you money and doesn't require alot of hassle, you'll soon get to like the looks of her."
 
I think part of what is happening is I have an angus bull that is stamping most of his calves. I am not used to seeing that. I ran all continental composite bulls for a while, and still have two of that kind.
 
Stocker Steve said:
How old do heifers need to be to be before you are confident on mature shape and height? Is it possible to be too wide or too deep?

I'm wondering the same thing.

We AI bred to an angus bull well regarded for females. As usual for me, of course we calved 80% bull calves. So, watching just a couple heifers out of that bull over the summer I liked one but come weaning she was definitely shorter. Her mom is an average to slightly above average height cow and her granddam was a tall cow. But, I'd kinda decided to pass over retaining her due to height.

Then we weighed her. And she was 100 lbs heavier than every other weaned heifer. I have no idea where she packed the weight on, but . . .

So, I'm kinda hoping she keeps growing a bit.
 
Stickney94 said:
Stocker Steve said:
How old do heifers need to be to be before you are confident on mature shape and height? Is it possible to be too wide or too deep?

I'm wondering the same thing.

We AI bred to an angus bull well regarded for females. As usual for me, of course we calved 80% bull calves. So, watching just a couple heifers out of that bull over the summer I liked one but come weaning she was definitely shorter. Her mom is an average to slightly above average height cow and her granddam was a tall cow. But, I'd kinda decided to pass over retaining her due to height.

Then we weighed her. And she was 100 lbs heavier than every other weaned heifer. I have no idea where she packed the weight on, but . . .

So, I'm kinda hoping she keeps growing a bit.

What's the down side to a short legged cow? I prefer all my cows to be short legged. You can't sell daylight under them.
I've also noticed tall cattle that can reach their head over fences and corrals tend to cause a lot more problems.
 
kentuckyguy said:
What's the down side to a short legged cow?

I'm in MN, so they get high centered in snow drifts. :D


Seriously, just herd consistency/vanity.

Based on genetics I'd guess she will get taller. But right now, her height is an outlier compared to her same sire contemporaries.
 
Some you can see from day one and some take time. I make a cut around 6 mo, then kind of reevaluate ever 6 mo after that.

I would say you should know by a year at the latest what their build will be. With a little practice the main cut should be at weaning for their build.
 
We evaluate heifers at several different stages. 1-Birth, 2-turnout, 3-weaning, 4-after preconditioning for 45-60d, 5-repro exams (pelvic meas., RTS), 6-preg check (heifers get AI'ed and cleaned up with AI 1 time, so max breeding season is ~21-25d) That usually trims them down pretty well. The more hoops you make them jump through, the better they are in the long term...or atleast, that is what we have seen. I'm sure this is not the ONLY way to pick replacements, its just our way.
 

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