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How much trouble should I expect?

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holm25

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TCRanch said:
holm25 said:
If they’re good big heifers I wouldn’t worry. Worst that can happen is you’re going to have to break out the calf puller. Just keep an eye on them. Not much you can do now.

Big girls with big butts don't always mean big pelvic measurements. But otherwise, absolutely agree.

Definitely. But without pelvic measurements that’s all you have to bank on.
 

VaCowman

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If those EPD's are correct, personally, I think you're fine. We have bred to CED of 7 and had no issues. Our heifers are pelvic measured though, and grown out properly. It's not too late to have them measured, may be worth it if you are worried. I'm not saying do nothing at calving time, but I'd have them measured and rest easily until due date approaches...calving heifers is always a nerve racking time!
 

Dsth

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Seems like a lot of good advise on this topic, but regardless of what the numbers tell you, the best advise that I can give you is to keep a close eye on them during calving season. Even with high CED numbers, I still watch for calving problems since other problems seem to pop up during calving season. As an old fart, I remember breeding livestock before I knew anything about CED numbers. I would keep my calf chains, calf puller and vets number handy just in case. Hope they all have a nice healthy calf with no problems for you.
 

76 Bar

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Looked up the performance/pedigree info regarding your RA herd bulls that were bred to your BA heifers. IMO Assuredly not sleep all night calving ease. EPDs are meaningless sans a bare minimum of 60% accuracy. Much depends on the heifers themselves and the genetics behind them. Fancy breeder web page. For all the bells & whistles find it odd they didn't bother to take yearling weights on the bulls you purchased.
 

TCRanch

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76 Bar said:
Looked up the performance/pedigree info regarding your RA herd bulls that were bred to your BA heifers. IMO Assuredly not sleep all night calving ease. EPDs are meaningless sans a bare minimum of 60% accuracy. Much depends on the heifers themselves and the genetics behind them. Fancy breeder web page. For all the bells & whistles find it odd they didn't bother to take yearling weights on the bulls you purchased.

As always, your input is valuable.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Not to sound critical, but I would feed those heifers some corn. They are in a lower BCS than they "should" be for calving. BCS of the dam has a lot to do with the health of the calf. Her colostrum will be stronger, the calf will have more vigor at birth, the dam will have more energy to PUSH the calf out in a timely period.
But - you have to weigh your costs vs the value of the calves. WSC can be pretty cost effective.
 

lithuanian farmer

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I would feed some more those heifers too. Some extra feed won't make much of difference in calves BW, but it should make some difference in heifers as it was stated above.
 

SA Angus

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I have 9 heifers, Had a Black angus bull with a nice Calving Ease number. That bull blew out a joint in his back hip 5 days in. I couldn't find a bull I liked so I moved them into the cow herd and the 4 bulls there. 2 of those bulls were young and weren't intended to be used on heifers. As they have matured their calving ease numbers have got even worse. Checked today.

Now they sit at CE of 9 and 10.
Breed average is 12.

Birth weight is 0.0 and 0.5
Breed average is -1.3

They are bred to calve at a little over 24 months. I'ld like to be giving them a little grain because I've not been happy with their growth, but I don't want to make things worse. 5 are 3rd stage, 3 are 2nd, 1 caught me sleeping when I was sorting.

I don't like calving heifers anyways, Now I feel I've really screwed myself. Any words of wisdom is appreciated.
How did it all work out?
The key to keeping birth weights low is only feed not-so-good grass (or hay) during the last three weeks before due date.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Sorry, but I totally disagree with your feeding advice. You cannot starve BW out of your cows for CE. Cows need the highest nutrition closer to parturition. It has been proven time and again, if you reduce protein in the last few months of gestation, the cow does not have the energy needed for calving and her quality of colostrum is reduced. If you drastically changed their diet last 3 months - you "may" reduce a calf BW by maybe 10#. But, the affect of lower nutrition made calving more difficult than the "potential" added weight, and the lower quality colostrum made for weaker/sicker calves.
 

Ky hills

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Sorry, but I totally disagree with your feeding advice. You cannot starve BW out of your cows for CE. Cows need the highest nutrition closer to parturition. It has been proven time and again, if you reduce protein in the last few months of gestation, the cow does not have the energy needed for calving and her quality of colostrum is reduced. If you drastically changed their diet last 3 months - you "may" reduce a calf BW by maybe 10#. But, the affect of lower nutrition made calving more difficult than the "potential" added weight, and the lower quality colostrum made for weaker/sicker calves.
I agree, I often hear people say that my cattle are too fat, which is incorrect. We try to keep our cattle in a good condition because like you have stated it is more advantageous to have a heifer in good enough shape to calve and then be able to give adequate quality and quantity milk. An under nourished heifer is behind the curve, they need adequate nutrition from somewhere in order to be in shape to have a calf and raise it all the while continuing to grow and rebreed in a timely manner. If the heifer is too thin or too heavy either one will cause problems.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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My vet has said he has NEVER had an animal so fat that it caused calving difficulties.
They are better to be too fat than barely "just right". I want my heifers to have a layer of fat (6 - 7 BCS). I would take a 7.5 over a 5 (barely enough for a heifer). Once she calves, you play heck putting anything on her. Maybe some of you can hand feed your nursing cows - not me. They are a cow then and they need to earn their keep.
I grain my heifers (5-6# of whole shell corn + 15-16% protein baleage) from weaning until safe bred. then they get turned out with the cows on grass and should never see grain again.
 

SA Angus

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Sorry, but I totally disagree with your feeding advice. You cannot starve BW out of your cows for CE. Cows need the highest nutrition closer to parturition. It has been proven time and again, if you reduce protein in the last few months of gestation, the cow does not have the energy needed for calving and her quality of colostrum is reduced. If you drastically changed their diet last 3 months - you "may" reduce a calf BW by maybe 10#. But, the affect of lower nutrition made calving more difficult than the "potential" added weight, and the lower quality colostrum made
Sorry, but I totally disagree with your feeding advice. You cannot starve BW out of your cows for CE. Cows need the highest nutrition closer to parturition. It has been proven time and again, if you reduce protein in the last few months of gestation, the cow does not have the energy needed for calving and her quality of colostrum is reduced. If you drastically changed their diet last 3 months - you "may" reduce a calf BW by maybe 10#. But, the affect of lower nutrition made calving more difficult than the "potential" added weight, and the lower quality colostrum made for weaker/sicker calves.
Not starving. And not three months.
 

SA Angus

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Not starving. And not three months.
My vet has said he has NEVER had an animal so fat that it caused calving difficulties.
They are better to be too fat than barely "just right". I want my heifers to have a layer of fat (6 - 7 BCS). I would take a 7.5 over a 5 (barely enough for a heifer). Once she calves, you play heck putting anything on her. Maybe some of you can hand feed your nursing cows - not me. They are a cow then and they need to earn their keep.
I grain my heifers (5-6# of whole shell corn + 15-16% protein baleage) from weaning until safe bred. then they get turned out with the cows on grass and should never see grain again.
As I stated in a later post that you did not respond to: I don’t believe I suggested “starving” and I referred to 3 weeks not 3 months. There was not suggestion on limiting feed intake. I was attempting to help someone who was concerned about calving issues. I assumed they would rather have live calves that birth on their own that dead calves. One comment: Many breeders do not feed corn to heifers because of potential fat issues in udders. My approach is not to “totally disagree” but to state knowledge I have accumulated. Feel free to “Totally disagree” but please base your argument on what is stated.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Yes, I understand that. But, reducing their quality of feed "during" the last 3 months, can be detrimental to their ability to calve out properly and to make the necessary quality colostrum. The last 3 weeks are crucial to their development & production of colostrum.
My point is - do not reduce feed intake or quality during the last 3 months. If anything, increase it.
They are already bred. Already have potential CE problems with the bull. Don't increase the health risk of the upcoming new calf.
 

SA Angus

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Yes, I understand that. But, reducing their quality of feed "during" the last 3 months, can be detrimental to their ability to calve out properly and to make the necessary quality colostrum. The last 3 weeks are crucial to their development & production of colostrum.
My point is - do not reduce feed intake or quality during the last 3 months. If anything, increase it.
They are already bred. Already have potential CE problems with the bull. Don't increase the health risk of the upcoming new calf.
I disagree but you can have your opinions. PourIng the feed to the cow will not effect calf size? My experiences are different. I guess you still believe I stated starving?
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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You are twisting words. I did not say YOU are starving your cows. I did not imply you wanted them to starve their cows.
Yes, you can add about 10# of weight on a fetus by feeding too much protein the last 90 days of gestation. No, that 10# does not cause more dystocia worth reducing the quality/amount fed to the cow to avoid the extra weight.
Do I recommend over-feeding a pregnant cow? Absolutely not. But, it has been proven by research, you are better off over-feeding than underfeeding. Especially heifers, should be gaining wight up to parturition.
I firmly believe a heifer should be 6+ BCS, if you expect her to have calved at 24 months and plan to have her calve at 36 months old.
I simply disagreed with your advice. Different opinions. That is why we are replying on an open forum.
I have only been calving for nearly 50 years. Read tons of University & beef reports because I put out a 24 page newsletter 5 times a year. So, I have to be up-to-date with as much info as I can. Merely sharing the knowledge I have acquired. Sure don't know everything and still learning.
 

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