My bull calf

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IGotMyWings

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This is my bull calf. He was C-Sectioned about a week early last March, making him 8 months old. He seems a little short for that age. Should I be overly concerned, or is he just going to be a late bloomer because he was taken out out of the oven a tad early? The mother heifer got down in mud and snow and by the time they got to her, she was too weak to stand, so that's why he was zipped out. Other than being short, I think he has good lines, and a few neighbors are really interested in his calves when he starts producing. Other neighbors say that he's stunted, some say that he's fine. Me? I'm confused. I'm afraid that I bought a midget bull!
 

KNERSIE

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I know its not polite to answer a question with a question, but hopefully this will make you think.

Do you really want your weanling calves to look like him?
 

bandit80

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Hard to tell alot from the picture, but this is my take.

Being taken by CSection a week early shouldn't have stunted him. 2 weeks early to 2 weeks late is "normal". Was he fostered to another cow or raised off a bottle? To me, he has that bottle baby look some of them get. Pot belly, that is. He also doesn't appear to have much muscling for an 8 month old. Bulls at that age should show good muscle expression. He appears to have almost zero hind quarter muscling. He does appear to be short. Not all animals should be used for breedign, and I think he would be better served as a steer, and not a breeder.
 

Joy of Texas

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I agree with bandit. That calf might be out of a good bloodline. But I know I wouldn't use him as a breeding bull. I sift thru several bull calves every year. That one would be at the top of my list.
 

Keren

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I agree with everything that has been said.

And my gut feeling is I wouldnt use him

BUT ... if you know he has had a set back to make him look like that, and he has good genetics behind him, and you dont have a lot of money, it is one way that you can get better genetics and I personally have done it before myself. In fact, the little buck I am breeding to next year has got probably one of the best pedigrees I have seen, but he is stunted because he was fostered on to a doe that didnt have enough milk. I couldnt afford him if he looked good, but I am thinking he will give me some nice kids. Just make sure that there is a 'reason' for him to look poor, because in all honesty he does look poor. Because if there isnt a good 'reason' then just remember - the 'great' genetics in the world can still produce a dud. Look at Paris Hilton.

Just curious, why was he caesar'd early?
 
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IGotMyWings

IGotMyWings

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Here is a little better view of my bull calf.

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He was sectioned out because his mother got down in the mud and wouldn't stand when they found her. They got him out and put her down.

I have neighbors that have seen him up close and although they show concern about his height, nobody has said that he was as pitiful as y'all are saying! Let me know if this picture makes a difference in the opinions.
 

dun

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From the picture, other then being pot bellied he doesn;t appear to have any muscleing in the rear quarter
 

spoon

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I'm certainly no expert on bulls but he just doesn't look like a bull I'd want. As stated before he has no rear and seems to be short front to back as well as top to ground. The pot belly may contribute to some of the appearance issues but if he was mine he'd be steer heading for the freezer. He's a pretty color though. :D
 

djinwa

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You can have great genetics which cannot be expressed if on poor nutrition. So without more information, we cannot determine why he lacks muscle.

What have you been feeding him his whole life? Even if a poor start in life, with good nutrition, he should eventually put on some muscle.
 

TheBullLady

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I would be willing to bet that the heifer suffered more from the c section than the calf did.. ie: not much milk production. He looks like a calf that hasn't been fed well.
 
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IGotMyWings

IGotMyWings

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djinwa":1w44b9rb said:
You can have great genetics which cannot be expressed if on poor nutrition. So without more information, we cannot determine why he lacks muscle.

What have you been feeding him his whole life? Even if a poor start in life, with good nutrition, he should eventually put on some muscle.

The people that we bought him from were bottle feeding him 20/20 medicated MR. We bought the same kind and worked our way from two bottles a day (what they were feeding him) to four. He was tough to get started on calf starter, but it was left available to him pretty much from the start as was hay. Once he took to the starter and hay pretty well, we weened him off the bottles. For a time, because my original plan for renting pasture fell through, he was on a dog cable in the barn lot and ate yard grass, hay and grain, but he chose the green grass over the hay most of the time. Once he was moved to established pasture, where he is now, it was the pasture grass and grain, and now that we've had a hard freeze, there is hay and grain.

The grain is 12% protein sweet feed from Rural King or Orscheln (depending on which town I'm in when it's time to buy) and although I didn't measure, which my have been my downfall in calf raising, once he took to the starter and was weened, he'd get about a pound to pound and a half at feeding time. That, of course, increased as he got bigger. Now, I'm feeding about five to seven pounds of grain, spread out for all of them, but with them all eating the hay, I use the grain as a "treat" to add a little something to the diet, but mainly to help me! They (even the new ones) have learned what that white bucket is for and I can lead and load them like the Pied Piper!
 

CattleHand

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Im no expert in telling what type of a bull a calf will become but I dont think I woudl keep him to breed back. Id castrate him adn take him to market when the time came.
 

Keren

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IGotMyWings":1j6fcjuk said:
djinwa":1j6fcjuk said:
You can have great genetics which cannot be expressed if on poor nutrition. So without more information, we cannot determine why he lacks muscle.

What have you been feeding him his whole life? Even if a poor start in life, with good nutrition, he should eventually put on some muscle.

The people that we bought him from were bottle feeding him 20/20 medicated MR. We bought the same kind and worked our way from two bottles a day (what they were feeding him) to four. He was tough to get started on calf starter, but it was left available to him pretty much from the start as was hay. Once he took to the starter and hay pretty well, we weened him off the bottles. For a time, because my original plan for renting pasture fell through, he was on a dog cable in the barn lot and ate yard grass, hay and grain, but he chose the green grass over the hay most of the time. Once he was moved to established pasture, where he is now, it was the pasture grass and grain, and now that we've had a hard freeze, there is hay and grain.

The grain is 12% protein sweet feed from Rural King or Orscheln (depending on which town I'm in when it's time to buy) and although I didn't measure, which my have been my downfall in calf raising, once he took to the starter and was weened, he'd get about a pound to pound and a half at feeding time. That, of course, increased as he got bigger. Now, I'm feeding about five to seven pounds of grain, spread out for all of them, but with them all eating the hay, I use the grain as a "treat" to add a little something to the diet, but mainly to help me! They (even the new ones) have learned what that white bucket is for and I can lead and load them like the Pied Piper!

DING DING DING we have a winner!

Most calf feeds are 18 - 22 % protein. At the very very least maybe 16%. 12% wont cut it.
 

KNERSIE

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There is a little more to bull breeding than just buying someone else's unwanted bottle calf and raising him for a bull.

Even the very best of genetics in a well planned mating often don't work out as planned even when the calf was raised optimally on the dam and then developed further. The chance of striking it lucky with a cull bottle calf isn't a risk worth taking.
 

Victoria

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I don't know how long they were feeding him two bottles a day but this calf looks malnourished like a lot of people's orphans look when they have not gotten enough milk. Even four bottles a day is light in my opinion for an older calf. It would be a pretty sorry milking cow that only produced that much for her calf. They survive on it but they don't thrive on it and that is what you have here. Add in the lack of protein as Keren pointed out and you have a calf that looks like your calf does.

Now on to whether you should keep him as a bull. My advice is no for three reasons. First of all if you have a bull calf that did not reach is potential as your guy did not and has good reason for it then he may actually be a good bull BUT you would have to know a lot about his pedigree to even start to determine that. Have you seen dam, sire, granddams, grandsires? Are they all registered so that you can look at the EPD's to help determine if his genetics should perform better than he has? If not then you have no idea what this guy would produce and the chance of his appearance not being environmental but in actuality genetic is there and personally I wouldn't take the chance in my herd. Secondly, you are talking about keeping a bottle calf as a bull. That is usually just a really bad idea safety wise. Orphan bulls can turn so easily and even a little bull can still kill you. Thirdly, if this little guy doesn't grow he may have a hard time breeding, he looks awful short and does he have much for testicular development? He already looks like he has been steered so I am wondering how much testosterone he has going on anyway.

I know we are all telling you what you didn't want to hear but it's sometimes easier to tell the truth on the internet because we don't have to look you in the eye. I don't know how many cows you have. If you only have one or two then you won't be messing up too many things by trying him out I guess but I keep going back to that picture and thinking that even for 1 or 2 cows it would be worth it finding something better than your current bull. You want a herd you can be proud of, even if it is a smal herd.
 
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IGotMyWings

IGotMyWings

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Victoria":2zuqf6l4 said:
I don't know how long they were feeding him two bottles a day but this calf looks malnourished like a lot of people's orphans look when they have not gotten enough milk. Even four bottles a day is light in my opinion for an older calf. It would be a pretty sorry milking cow that only produced that much for her calf. They survive on it but they don't thrive on it and that is what you have here. Add in the lack of protein as Keren pointed out and you have a calf that looks like your calf does.

Now on to whether you should keep him as a bull. My advice is no for three reasons. First of all if you have a bull calf that did not reach is potential as your guy did not and has good reason for it then he may actually be a good bull BUT you would have to know a lot about his pedigree to even start to determine that. Have you seen dam, sire, granddams, grandsires? Are they all registered so that you can look at the EPD's to help determine if his genetics should perform better than he has? If not then you have no idea what this guy would produce and the chance of his appearance not being environmental but in actuality genetic is there and personally I wouldn't take the chance in my herd. Secondly, you are talking about keeping a bottle calf as a bull. That is usually just a really bad idea safety wise. Orphan bulls can turn so easily and even a little bull can still kill you. Thirdly, if this little guy doesn't grow he may have a hard time breeding, he looks awful short and does he have much for testicular development? He already looks like he has been steered so I am wondering how much testosterone he has going on anyway.

I know we are all telling you what you didn't want to hear but it's sometimes easier to tell the truth on the internet because we don't have to look you in the eye. I don't know how many cows you have. If you only have one or two then you won't be messing up too many things by trying him out I guess but I keep going back to that picture and thinking that even for 1 or 2 cows it would be worth it finding something better than your current bull. You want a herd you can be proud of, even if it is a smal herd.

The bull that sired him was registered, but the heifer was not - the guy we bought him from doesn't "waste time" with the paperwork until they've had thier first calf and my little bull was her first - and last! I put my question out there to get honest answers. My goal with the question was to see if anyone else had dealt with stunted calves and see if there was something a) I was doing wrong - apparently everything! and b) if there is a way to improve and make him catch up some. I'm a little suprised at the "junk bull" input because I have neighbors that have been up close to him and one of them told me that when I start getting calves out of him, they would be very interested in buying them. I can rent a bull for $150 from the people we just got the cow/calf pairs...I just might take him up on that.
 

SRBeef

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If you can rent a local bull that has previously sired calves that you can see and evaluate for $150. that also makes economic as well as breeding sense.
 
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IGotMyWings

IGotMyWings

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SRBeef":3tix4vux said:
If you can rent a local bull that has previously sired calves that you can see and evaluate for $150. that also makes economic as well as breeding sense.

I own at least one of the offspring from that bull, I'm not sure if he sired them both. I may have another as the red cow was in with him the day she went into heat. The heifer calf is a doll, uniform color, good shape etc. The steer although darned ugly to look at - brindle with a white patch on his back and black circles around his eyes and nose - is built very well. At least I think so...my judging ability is lacking, as we've seen here!

I was thinking seriously about renting him next month because worthy or not, my bull isn't ready to spark the ladies.
 

Victoria

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I really didn't mean to jump on you, I was just trying to give you an honest answer, I don't usually respond to "what do you think of my bull posts" because I hate to say anything bad about anyone's animals and I rather wish I hadn't this time either but it is too late now. :(

I brought up the lack of milk because that does appear to be the problem. Of course it could also be poor genetics or just a bad cross on the genes, probably a combination of all of them. Everyone has had animals that don't perfom as well as they would have liked to see them perform. I don't think you can improve him at this point. If it is genetics there is nothing you can do to fix it. If it was malnourishment it started when he was first born - premature orphan calves are tough to get looking good. 6-8 feedings a day with a higher quality milk than any replacer is needed to really have them bloom. Most people will laugh at that but that is why I say bloom, to keep them alive and get them to market they need a lot less. I think it is too late to fix it either way, you can get him fat but that won't make him gain the muscle or masculinity.

What have your neighbours said they like about him? What do you personally like about him? What is it that you see in him that I don't? Tell me what his strengths are and his weaknesses.
 

chippie

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If you are feeding him, you need to separate him when you feed him so that you know that he is getting all of his feed.

I would follow the advice given here. To quote an old timer friend, "Quality doesn't cost. It pays."
 

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