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heifer problem

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chadreed88

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I just had to get a vet out to perform a cesarian on a heifer because she couln't have the calf. The calf was dead when they got it out. I have about 12 other heifers like this that are due to calve although they aren't all out of the same bull. What would you do with a heifer like this that have a problem calving? Do you ship them or do they usually have better luck. I know it depends on the size of calves but this calve was average size. One other thing to add to this was she didn't really bag up at all. Any suggestions on this matter? Thanks
 

randiliana

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There are a lot of factors that you have to consider. What was the reason that this heifer couldn't deliver the calf? Was it simply because she didn't have enough room in her? Was there some sort of birth defect or malpresentation?

I am guessing from your post, that the heifer didn't have enough room. If that is the case, and the calf is of average or below average size, I would SHIP the heifer. You could keep her, but the odds are that she will not grow enough to prevent future calving problems. The fact that it was a C-section indicates that things were not just a little tight, but that there was no room. I would maybe keep a heifer that had an average sized calf that was pulled, but not a C-section.

We had a heifer that we pulled a 60 lb calf out of a couple years ago, it was a pretty hard pull. She went down the road, after raising the calf, as I believed that if she could not even handle a 60 lb calf, she would probably be trouble down the road when bred to our higher BW 'cow' bulls.

If the calf was large, then that explains why she had problems. In this case, I would wait to see what the other calves are like out of the same bull. If they are all large calves, then I would give this one another chance. If the rest are smaller than this heifer's calf, then I would likely ship her. All calving problems, even size issues, are not always the bull's fault. Sometimes it is just the way the bull 'clicked' with a certain cow, sometimes you get a cow that consistently throws a large calf, even when bred to calving ease or small BW bulls.

We also had a cow that had the highest BW calf of her group of heifers, she went on to consistently throw large calves. We ended up with 2 C-sections out of her, the first we contributed to the feed, and we had a lot of very heavy calves the same year, but the second one was the last she had on our place. Her Avg BW on 8 calves was 111 lbs, with a range from 93 - 150 lbs. Of her first 3 calves we had 2 assists and a C-section, then she had 4 by herself, and the last was another C-section. I hind sight we should have gotten rid of her after the second calf, which was a 150 lb c-section. We have other cows with higher Avg BW's, but have never had a problem with them.

As for bagging up, some heifers/cows really don't bag up a lot before they calve. And udder size is not a great indicator of how much milk a cow has anyways. We have a 12 year old cow here that has a small (tiny infact) udder. But she raises a good calf every year. Plus large udders tend to break down quicker, and be prone to other problems, such as mastitis, I have found.
 

KNERSIE

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I won't even tolerate a hard pull in my herd. If the calf couldn't be pulled it means the pelvic opening is so small that the calf simply won't fit through the hole. Unless she was bred before she was weaned she has no excuse in my opinion and needs to be culled.

That isn't the type of genetics you need in future generations even if she have them without assistance from here on.

I have seen many more tiny udders raise poor calves than good sized udders raise poor calves, but will agree that udder size isn't the best indication of milking ability or milk quality.
 

Nesikep

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I'd be tempted to say make her walk down the road, we have also found cows who have had c sections are more prone to fertility problems

the one heifer we had that was bred before she was weened calved on her own, and despite the fact that even her 4th calf wasn't all that big at the end of this year, she's probably been profitable, a 4 1/2 year old cow that has had 4 calves... no, I do not recommend it, and we will never keep anything of her no matter how good she performs.. but as long as she gives us a calf a year, we'll let her stay, it's better to get a small calf every year than big calves 3 out of 4 years
 

randiliana

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KNERSIE":1x0b9e6z said:
I won't even tolerate a hard pull in my herd. If the calf couldn't be pulled it means the pelvic opening is so small that the calf simply won't fit through the hole. Unless she was bred before she was weaned she has no excuse in my opinion and needs to be culled.

That isn't the type of genetics you need in future generations even if she have them without assistance from here on.

I have seen many more tiny udders raise poor calves than good sized udders raise poor calves, but will agree that udder size isn't the best indication of milking ability or milk quality.

Well, as far as hard pulls go, one has to look at the big picture, in my mind. Not all heifers get bred to the ideal bull, a large calf is generally the reason we have a hard pull. Usually 90+ lb calves in our case. If it is a bigger calf, I have no problem keeping her, usually she will have calves with no problem after that. But, if I have a hard pull, and the calf is under 80 lbs, then I have real doubts about keeping the heifer around for another year. Most of our heifers will pop out 75-90+ lb calves with no problems.

We have bought the majority of our cows as bred heifers. When you buy heifers, you never know for sure what they are bred to, the are all sold as 'bred to calving ease bull'. They aren't always...... We have kept a # of cows who we assisted as first calvers, a # of them were hard pulls. Of all these animals we only had 2 or 3 that had to be assisted in subsequent years. One consistantly had larger than average calves, and one like to give us malpresentations. Most of them went on to be good cows, with no other problems, some are 10-12 years old now.

A C-section, however, is another story, that pretty much shows that the animal had no room for whatever sized calf she had. A hard pull, the calf did come through the birth canal, and if she does breed back, providing the calf was a decent size, she should grow enough to make future calvings by herself. In this case I work on the 2 strikes rule, they get one free turn around the board, if they have problems the next year, then that is it.

As a commercial producer, I cannot afford to dump every animal that ever gave me a problem. It is hard enough making a go of it, let alone when you are buying/raising $1000+ bred heifers that end up $300 culls.
 

Nesikep

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when we bought our original 12 cows, they were hereford crosses, apparently had pelvic measurements done, and all that stuff, but were bred to "cow bulls".. simmentals, we had one calf at 130 lbs and he was still premature, we had a couple others that were really hard pulls.. 2 had prolapes.. we ended up losing 3 calves and 2 cows.. of the ones that remained, most did fairly well, though some had bad genes all over and all their offspring would prolapse, or the teats would get all distended after 2 years, or they had hooves that needed to be trimmed at least once a year.. looking at our herd now, 95% of it is offspring from about 3 of those 12 original cows
 

mnmtranching

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Keeping the birth weight below 70 pounds in heifers saves so much trouble.

Sell her for kill or make burger. Feed her a while and she would make some good steaks. Don't breed her again.
 

4CTophand

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Just dont keep cows that consistently throw bigger calves under correct management. dont keep heifers out of these cows because to do so continues the process of maintaining genetics we dont deem useful ........... also a pelvic measurement on heifers isnt a bad idea-- don't keep heifers that are narrow and dont buy bred heifers if you dont know how they were managed pre-calving.
Buy your heifers from a cattleman and not some guy with a few heifers for sale....

T
 
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