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PPM (P... Poor Management)

Ky hills

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Just thought that I would honestly and openly share something that may be of benefit to others, although I'm sure most take steps to avoid this. Years ago when I had registered Charolais, I weaned the calves at an average of 7 1/2 months, worked fine until a heifer calf came up bred a couple years in a row. Since then I started weaning around 6 months for the oldest calves.
Since I have been buying 5-600 weight heifers to be wintered and later sold as bred, I have ended up with at least 1 to be bred before I bought them. I have kept them and calved them out, most of the time they have calved ok and raised pretty good calves, but it was a lot more watching and work. My 2016 calves were spaced out from late Feb-May, and I weaned them
when the oldest were barely 6 months. Since the calves are Angus and Hereford cross, I thought there could be a chance the oldest calves may have been in heat, we Lutalysed them at weaning. Fast forward to now, I noticed a couple of them looking to be bred. This summer, I am hoping to fix a bull lot to have a place that will hold an older bull away from the cows and calves.
And as if I'm not crazy enough, after realizing those heifers are bred, last week at a cow sale I bought a heifer 4-6 months bred to go along with them. I figured that I would be having to watch those like a hawk, I may as well take a chance on another one. :hide:


 

Nesikep

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I have started running two separate herds here since I have 2 bulls.. come about 5 months after calving, both bulls go in one herd and the cows with heifers (especially replacements) go in the other herd
 

Ky hills

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NolanCountyAG":nzl537a7 said:
Are they getting bred by your bull or bull calves they are with?

I figure that it's the bigger bull, he would probably keep the bull calves pushed away.
 

Bigfoot

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I'll own my mistakes to. This was born this week. Heifer can't be 14-15 months old. Daughter sent me a picture, and asked what it was doing in the heifer pen.
 

Lazy M

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I'd only really call it a mistake if you lose the cow or calf. Otherwise a little feed and TLC and you have yourself a real nice fertile cow. That young they hardly ever get bred back without some extra groceries though.
 

WalnutCrest

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But if they do breed back, whoa nelly!

A friend of mine has a cow that gave him his third calf the day before her third birthday.
 

Nesikep

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I don't think coming into heat far too early is good for them, or you, or is an indicator of fertility.. Just as scrotal measurements on bulls do correlate with the daughters coming into heat sooner, it is a VERY small amount (less than a day per cm scrotal circumference IIRC)

As long as they're cycling at a year old, that's fine by me.. I don't think they're doing themselves any favors if you have a lot of 50 of them and they do nothing but ride each other around all winter when they could be eating...

While there are exceptions to it, my experience has been that a heifer bred as a calf will be stunted unless you baby her, and her calves will be smaller because of it... never mind the increased chance of loss at first calf time.
 

farmerjan

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We wind up with a "bred too young" heifer about every other year. They are getting bred while still on their dams, and usually just about the time the bull is due to come out. We hardly ever have any bull calves running with the cows, they are all steers when they go to pasture; that said every once in a while we will forget to do one, or he got by us, or it is one on a bought cow. I had one family that had some dairy in it back aways, bought the calf as a baby to go on a nurse cow. She grew up, had a calf about 2 yrs, and then after her third calf, that heifer calf got caught by the bull. She calves at about 17 months, did fine except was a little bit stunted in size. She went on to have at least a dozen calves. Then, one daughter had a heifer get caught early, she had several calves. Now I have one that would be the great granddaughter; she got caught and calved at 16 months, raised a nice heifer calf, I held her back since she was smaller. Weaned the calf and then put her back with the bull so she went 18 months between calves and has had 4 more calves in a row. Her daughter must've caught the first day in with the bull, has had 2 at less than 12 months apart.
It has seemed to be a genetic thing with this family. They all come in heat young, and I attribute it a little to the dairy in the background. Most dairy heifers that I see start coming in heat at 7-10 months on the farms.
KNOCK ON WOOD, I have never pulled a calf from anyone in this family. And these heifers getting caught at 10-12 months are usually exposed to a +weight bull. Had one last year totally unrelated get caught by the neighbors bull, and she did okay too. That said, I really do prefer to calve my 1st calf heifers out at 27-30 months so that I just don't have to babysit them every minute til they calve. I prefer them to have the little better growth and they aren't so hard pressed to make milk and continue to grow and breed back if they are just a little bit older. A girl can have a baby at 15 but she is alot better off to wait til she is 18 or 20.....
 

Nesikep

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farmerjan":3bw6fhbu said:
We wind up with a "bred too young" heifer about every other year. They are getting bred while still on their dams, and usually just about the time the bull is due to come out. We hardly ever have any bull calves running with the cows, they are all steers when they go to pasture; that said every once in a while we will forget to do one, or he got by us, or it is one on a bought cow. I had one family that had some dairy in it back aways, bought the calf as a baby to go on a nurse cow. She grew up, had a calf about 2 yrs, and then after her third calf, that heifer calf got caught by the bull. She calves at about 17 months, did fine except was a little bit stunted in size. She went on to have at least a dozen calves. Then, one daughter had a heifer get caught early, she had several calves. Now I have one that would be the great granddaughter; she got caught and calved at 16 months, raised a nice heifer calf, I held her back since she was smaller. Weaned the calf and then put her back with the bull so she went 18 months between calves and has had 4 more calves in a row. Her daughter must've caught the first day in with the bull, has had 2 at less than 12 months apart.
It has seemed to be a genetic thing with this family. They all come in heat young, and I attribute it a little to the dairy in the background. Most dairy heifers that I see start coming in heat at 7-10 months on the farms.
KNOCK ON WOOD, I have never pulled a calf from anyone in this family. And these heifers getting caught at 10-12 months are usually exposed to a +weight bull. Had one last year totally unrelated get caught by the neighbors bull, and she did okay too. That said, I really do prefer to calve my 1st calf heifers out at 27-30 months so that I just don't have to babysit them every minute til they calve. I prefer them to have the little better growth and they aren't so hard pressed to make milk and continue to grow and breed back if they are just a little bit older. A girl can have a baby at 15 but she is alot better off to wait til she is 18 or 20.....

I wish that having them have their first calf at 28ish months didn't mean having 2 calving seasons... We used to have them calf at 36 months but that's just too long, and I do wish I could give them a little more than 24.
 

Supa Dexta

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Lazy M":yy6jaxhq said:
I'd only really call it a mistake if you lose the cow or calf. Otherwise a little feed and TLC and you have yourself a real nice fertile cow. That young they hardly ever get bred back without some extra groceries though.


Its been my experience they never milk like they should and the calves don't grow like they should compared to the older heifers calves.. And this continues past the first calf - recorded a few animals over a few calves - and then they were all out of strikes and gone.
 

farmerjan

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Supa Dexta; Maybe we have gotten lucky with the ones I have. Maybe the dairy in them way back has helped. But they all almost wean some of the biggest calves in the bunch; the calves are 3/4 the cows height and if you aren't careful, you will put the momma in with the weaned calves cuz they are shorter. So no, we don't see them as milking less or weaning smaller calves. The first time yes maybe...but this family constitutes about 1/3 to 1/2 of all my own beef cows (35 total that are mine alone). I am more than pleased and keep many of the heifer calves. We don't like real big cows that need to eat alot; usually want them to be in the 1000 to 1150 range when mature. If they will milk and wean off a 450-600lb calf, on just pasture, then we are happy. We have a couple of outlets for calves under 500 lbs and they also sell as good or better at those weights at the market. Most of our calves are in the 75-90 lb range at birth, more along the 70-80 lb size. Yes I have weighed some to be sure of my "guesstimation" of weight. This family also has about 65-70% heifer calves....only had 4 bull calves out of 12 (or 14?) from the original cow.

Nesikep; that is why we have gone to 2 calving seasons on the heifers, to not hold them over for a whole year, even though I am not so thrilled with calving them in the fall. We'll see how it pans out the next couple of years. I just like the heifers calving and getting good grass for grazing season.
 

lithuanian farmer

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Had two heifers calved at 15 months age. Both had heifers, one was 66lbs BW. One heifer didn't went inheat for 11months after 1st calving. She grew abit and now is an average cow in the herd, but has normal size calves without problems, 90-100lbs and they grow better than most, her second heifer at 17-18months age weighed over 1350lbs and reached 4.5lbs daily gain during summer. The second early calved heifer was kept away from the bull until her sisters went to the herd, but is probably the smallest cow in the herd. Her calves grow abit smaller too. However she calves okay, just had 93lbs heifer without problems.
 

Dave

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In four years of buying 60-70 heifers each year that weighed 750-800 pounds, I figured roughly 20% of them arrived bred. These would be spring born heifers purchased at roughly one year of age. A shot or two of lute got most but not all the calves out of them.
 

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