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Cattle Rack Rancher

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I've heard that the average herd only weans about 70% of calves as related to the cows that were bred the year before. This sounds low to me. But if this is true, what percent of cows would you guess come in open? What percent abort? What percent of calves are lost during calving and how many fall to disease before they are weaned? I'm curious to ask some of the longer term ranchers what their experiences have been.
 

Jake

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70% is a little low but I'd agree with 80-85% Figure on 5-7% baby calf death rate. Another 5% are stolen or die over the summer. Then there are always the cows that will come up open and that will be about 5-10%
 

Craig-TX

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Jake":h2vewtr5 said:
70% is a little low but I'd agree with 80-85% Figure on 5-7% baby calf death rate. Another 5% are stolen or die over the summer. Then there are always the cows that will come up open and that will be about 5-10%

Based on my experience, those are excellent guestimates.

Craig-TX
 

D.R. Cattle

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Wow. Those numbers seem low. I'm doing 95% on a bad season. All natural service. Never lost any to theft. Death within a week of birth or stillborn, and open cows the only causes. But the only opens I get are new heifers because they only get one chance at being open, then they hit the road. And because I buy them from the right source, they are guaranteed. If they come up open, I trade it for another. With still born and dystocia I even cull the cows sometimes. Ruthless culling will increase your calving rate. I did lose one once to just..well..losing it. I had a crazy heifer climb over the weaning lot fence and disappear. Never saw her again. Spent the day on roping horses wandering through neighbors yards and everything. She must have wandered into the wrong yard, somebody put her in the freezer.
 

Jake

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You must be in a darn good neighborhood if you never have any stolen. We've probably even had some stolen calves come through the lot.
 
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Cattle Rack Rancher

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When I bought back into cattle a few years ago, i bought all pairs. The first year, I used the bull on them about 25% of them came in open. I blamed this on the bull as he spent a good part of the summer standing at the fence throwing insults and posturing with the neighbors bull. Last year, same thing 25% open cows. I've been told that it could be some kind of disease that is spread by coyotes and is nothing you can vaccinate for. I've never preg checked before and with things the way they are here, shipping healthy open cows for $.15 a lb doesn't make sense anyway so I will save my money. These are different cows and a different farm than I had before. Does anybody think this is a disease or is it infertile cows (I don't see them much in the winter because it is always dark when I'm home). I don't see them in heat until I bring my heifers back in the spring. Are they aborting over the winter? I imagine the weather up here stresses them quite a bit. I'm looking for averages, I've never lost any calves to calving problems or predators. When I read that 70% average weaning, I thought that maybe I just had average cows. Any ideas?
 

Craig-TX

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If you’re running him near his limit you might want to put an additional bull on them for a while. With competition at home he will pay more attention to business and spend less time cussing the neighbor, or if not, the new boy will get to take care of things. Then you can watch them for a few months and sell the one you like the least.

Craig-TX
 

jt

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Cattle Rack Rancher":z6uyemf7 said:
I've heard that the average herd only weans about 70% of calves as related to the cows that were bred the year before. This sounds low to me. But if this is true, what percent of cows would you guess come in open? What percent abort? What percent of calves are lost during calving and how many fall to disease before they are weaned? I'm curious to ask some of the longer term ranchers what their experiences have been.

sounds very low to me. i consider anything below 90% bad. but maybe i have just had exceptionally good luck. i know things can happen, and probably will sooner or later, but i couldnt stay in the business if i came in at 70% every year.

just my opinion

jt
 

D.R. Cattle

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Jake":1osmas4i said:
You must be in a darn good neighborhood if you never have any stolen. We've probably even had some stolen calves come through the lot.
This is funny. I have a friend at work that is Mexican. Now Mexicans do it up right when their daughters turn 15. They have huge fiestas. This one will have 600 people. Anyway they usually check with me for live cattle when they have one of these. I'll sell them a heifer that won't breed or save them a yearling if I have enough advance notice. In this case I opened the gate a month ago for a stray and no one claimed it. So I decided this would be perfect for these guys. I was to meet them at the pasture today around lunch. I brought the 22 Hornet along for business. A usual upon arrival, I hooped and hollered and sure enough the stampede was on to see who could get to the feeders first. The stray I had sold was a bit leary, so naturally she stood back from the herd and allowed me to put some hot lead behind her ear. I bled her out and shortly after a pickup truck full of amigos showed up. These guys are impressive. They were all packing mini machete looking knives and went right to it. 20 minutes later the cow was dressed and being loaded into their truck. I locked the gate behind them and went back to work. As soon as I walked into the door of the office, I had a call from an old aquaintance stating that he had seen a truckload of Mexicans with machetes ripping one of my cows a new one! Boy how news travels!
 

tfosterjr

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I think that was my heifer. She had 4 legs and was kinda skittish. Sorry if she caused you any concerns.If it will make you feel better you can make donations to the Republican National Comittee in her honor. :lol:
 

D.R. Cattle

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I tried like crazy to find the owner. I'm pretty sure I did, but they didn't want her back for hassle of getting her caught and loaded. No sweat for me. I capped her and got $350.
 

tfosterjr

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Have never owned one that I wouldn't go after, either to ship her or eat her. Can't see putting the neighbors out by letting them tend to my business because I was too lazy or unconcerned to bother. Maybe you should send him a bill for the expenses incurred in keeping her alive until sale. Feed,cartridge,fuel, and carcass disposal fee. Might make him come running next time. :lol:
 

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I am at about 96% most of my losses are due to one of two things Gators and Lightening
Parts of some of my pastures are a little low, I called then swamp but the EPA came along and told me they were Federally protected wetlands and Federally protected Gators lived there and I had to leave them as they are, about 150 acres total. Because of The Wetlands/Swamp I have to live with the Gators and for the most part we all get along together. If I start losing caves I go hunting, Gator tail is good if you don’t over cook it.

ELW
 

PATB

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Your averages seem low to me. I think it would be hard to make a profit at the level. Most years we are over 90 percent calves weaned to cows exposed. We had several bad bouts with some type of scours and a cow family that did not want to breed. We got the scours under control my changeing our calving season eariler and give first defense bolus to the late calves. You might want to look at your mineral program, since this can affect your conception rates. The home page of this site has several nice articles on mineral lately. Check the archives also for more info.
 

sillco

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Cattle Rack Rancher":ytrmq9sk said:
I've heard that the average herd only weans about 70% of calves as related to the cows that were bred the year before. This sounds low to me. But if this is true, what percent of cows would you guess come in open? What percent abort? What percent of calves are lost during calving and how many fall to disease before they are weaned? I'm curious to ask some of the longer term ranchers what their experiences have been.

I supect that they mean 70% of cows exposed to the bull, not bred by the bull.

Cost and calving numbers should be figured using cows exposed. That is the only way to account for the cost of the open cows.
 
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Good point, Sillco. As I said, I don't preg check because we can't ship any cows right now anyway. If I were to guess, I would think that they are aborting early in the term. As I said, I'm on a new farm. I think there could be a seriously higher number of parasites here than where I used to live. One guy I know lost 8 heifers in the last two week -40 F cold snap we had. He didn't bother treating them for parasites in the fall and when I was helping him separate his calves in December, I thought they looked awful thin and they just didn't didn't have enough fat to survive. I treated mine with ivomec this fall which is a step up from the louse powder I usually use. They seem to be in better shape than they were last spring and they are eating less. I start calving in about two weeks and if I have 25% open cows this year, I guess I'll start a serious vaccination program for every possible thing that it could be. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll have to settle for calling it a cost of doing business just like all the other ranchers around here.
 

sillco

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Cattle Rack Rancher":1mhvb6gq said:
Good point, Sillco. As I said, I don't preg check because we can't ship any cows right now anyway. If I were to guess, I would think that they are aborting early in the term. As I said, I'm on a new farm. I think there could be a seriously higher number of parasites here than where I used to live. One guy I know lost 8 heifers in the last two week -40 F cold snap we had. He didn't bother treating them for parasites in the fall and when I was helping him separate his calves in December, I thought they looked awful thin and they just didn't didn't have enough fat to survive. I treated mine with ivomec this fall which is a step up from the louse powder I usually use. They seem to be in better shape than they were last spring and they are eating less. I start calving in about two weeks and if I have 25% open cows this year, I guess I'll start a serious vaccination program for every possible thing that it could be. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll have to settle for calling it a cost of doing business just like all the other ranchers around here.

If many of your cows come up open I would call a Vet to do some investigating as to why they are open. One can spend a lot of money on vacantions and not get the right one.

Also, I think treating interenal parasites in the fall is beneficial. At lease you will not be feeding the worms and the cows all winter. A good parasite program is well worth the money.
Have a good day.
 

Campground Cattle

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sillco":29wzgjqn said:
Cattle Rack Rancher":29wzgjqn said:
Good point, Sillco. As I said, I don't preg check because we can't ship any cows right now anyway. If I were to guess, I would think that they are aborting early in the term. As I said, I'm on a new farm. I think there could be a seriously higher number of parasites here than where I used to live. One guy I know lost 8 heifers in the last two week -40 F cold snap we had. He didn't bother treating them for parasites in the fall and when I was helping him separate his calves in December, I thought they looked awful thin and they just didn't didn't have enough fat to survive. I treated mine with ivomec this fall which is a step up from the louse powder I usually use. They seem to be in better shape than they were last spring and they are eating less. I start calving in about two weeks and if I have 25% open cows this year, I guess I'll start a serious vaccination program for every possible thing that it could be. If that doesn't work, I guess I'll have to settle for calling it a cost of doing business just like all the other ranchers around here.

If many of your cows come up open I would call a Vet to do some investigating as to why they are open. One can spend a lot of money on vacantions and not get the right one.

Also, I think treating interenal parasites in the fall is beneficial. At lease you will not be feeding the worms and the cows all winter. A good parasite program is well worth the money.
Have a good day.

Totally agree with a good worming program, cattle have enough stress making it through winter. Our winters can not even come close to what some of ya'll face. I couldn't imagine cattle coming through the winters you describe not being in top shape.
 

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