keep or sale heifers

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We have just a few cattle (5 cows and a bull). We have just weaned 3 heifer calves. Looking for some recommendations on whether we should keep the heifers to build our herd or sell them and use the money to buy a cow close to calving or maybe a cow/calf pair?
Unless.................If you have excellent genetics and can't buy equivilent females, you may very well be better off keeping the heifers and just waiting for the payback.


Campground Cattle":437wjdc4 said:
Sell the heifers your two years at minimum before you get a return.
You are better off buying heavy bred or 3and 1's.
Dun I agree with the genetic's, with only five cows I was thinking it a little early to start line breeding. Also the cost, no income coming in until he can get his herd built. But with only five cows he going to have to dig in his pockets anyway.
Sell the heifers, and buy buy some 3&1's or young bred cows. Not only do you get a quicker return, you wont have to worry about in-breeding or keeping your heifers seperate from your bull so they wouldn't breed too young, or getting them bred to a neighbors bull..
We don't linebreed but the genetics we have devloped in our commercial cattle would be hard to duplicate from an outside source. Not that we have great animals, but they work very well in our environment and under our managment. The heifer that had the dead calf was purchased from an outside herd. Excellent breeding, but don't know the history of the herd she came from, i.e. was she a pulled calf, did her mother not go into normal labor as a heifer, etc.. We have five more heifers to go and don't expect any problems, but who can tell. One was raised here the others were purchased.


Campground Cattle":xhvcqbf0 said:
Dun I agree with the genetic's, with only five cows I was thinking it a little early to start line breeding. Also the cost, no income coming in until he can get his herd built. But with only five cows he going to have to dig in his pockets anyway.
I would sell the heifers for some of the same reasons you were first told. But also to improve the genetics of your heard. Find some new cows that are outside that compliment or can improve certain traits.
i would rather keep heifers that i know and wait, it will cost you to wait but my two cents i would rather wait . when you buy cattle you really don't know what you get i have bought some good ones and i have bought some i was dissappointed in. if the cows are fertile and maternal keep the heifers and change bulls.
This is one of the most common issues, and one for which there is probably no absolutely correct answer! In years past I guess I've sort of done what jcarkie just posted about. Currently I'm selling everything I raise. Maybe I'm not enough of a progressive thinker, but there are certain of my cows that I'm generally very happy to keep heifers out of, despite that there may be something for sale available to me at a fair price and with superior genetics. If a cow always breeds back on time, delivers without problems, weans off a good sized calf considering my forage conditions, has a good disposition and no udder problems I'll generally be happy to keep her heifers, or at least not ship them at weaning. I believe those good traits are fairly heritable and so I'm willing to try to grow my own out of those "known quantity" type of cows rather than buy & transport cows from elsewhere that look good but about which I know very little else. The 2+ year wait for a payback is not a problem, in my mind.

One method that I and a few friends use is to separate the group of heifers that we think we want to keep and grow them out separately. With the passage of time some we will continue to like a lot and some may go down in our estimation -- and they get culled at that later time. At the same time we understand that the current conventional wisdom is that for small operations you are better off buying replacements from folks with the latest genetics, and who have the facilities and forage program to grow out the heifers properly and get them up to proper weight as effeciently as possible.

Another thing to consider is unknown health issues with respect to newly purchased animals. The topic just posted today on another of these Cattle Today boards, regarding a Johnes problem with purchased cows, is a prime case in point. If you raise your own replacements and essentially have a closed herd except for new bulls you probably are bettter off from a health standpoint. Granted you still need to be concerned about the neighbors cattle, broken fences, roaming bulls, etc. I never have bought replacements that were not OCV's and Bangs tested, but I guess with hindsight I would rest easier if they would have been tested for a number of other possible diseases before I bought them. But I do realize that other tests (except for bulls) are not routinely done and that each layer of testing addds to the cost.

Dang this is wordy --- sorry about that --- I need to learn to express my thoughts in far fewer words!!! Arnold Ziffle
I agree with Dun & jcarkie. If you've got the bloodlines you want (momma cows that calf regular with ease, good milkers, gentle, easy to handle, etc. ) keep the heifers for awhile. With so few cows you're most likely not trying to make alot of money right now ( hobby?) so wean & feed them for awhile. You can always cull later if they don't grow off as you expect, if you get in a bind for some money or if you run across a great deal on some replacements from a source that you know and trust.

It all depends on your needs and patience. If you have good mother cows that have all the traits you desire by all means you want to work with that. If you have undsirable feature like lack of milk,disposition, horns, ect. you probably want to sell them off.They are right about the timr it takes to prepare a heifer but it pays off to be selective. But do not forget the bull you keep is half your calf crop, so be extra particular when it comes to the bull you choose.
I'm no expert by any streatch. How about selling the bull and buying more cows? I didnt think that it was worth keeping and feeding a bull unless you had 15 or so cows. Buy a bull later when you have more cows.

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