Question on calf quality...

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TNRiver

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Heard something from a long time cattle producer that got me thinking..
He said he never retains calves from 1st calf heifers. He said the first calf a heifer has
will be the worst calf they ever produce. We haven't noticed this to be true in our operation
so far, but we are fairly early into our bloodlines...
Anybody know of any truth to this? Opinions?
 

dun

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With proper selection the first calf heifers calf should be the top genetics. It's only those that use a junk bull just to get a heifer bred that have problems with their calves. They may be a bit smaller at weaning but by 2 they'll catch up with the others. That's one of those your mileage may vary and subject to tricky limitations.
 

Txpiney

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I'm gonna find out, cause I have 2 heifer calves out of first calf heifers that I plan on retaining. Only time will tell, but yes I've heard the same thing before. The bull I have makes very good heifers and not so good bulls.
 
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TNRiver

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dun":2723w1a3 said:
With proper selection the first calf heifers calf should be the top genetics. It's only those that use a junk bull just to get a heifer bred that have problems with their calves. They may be a bit smaller at weaning but by 2 they'll catch up with the others. That's one of those your mileage may vary and subject to tricky limitations.

Just a question.. If it were the same bull and the same momma cow having calves for several years, what makes the first calf have "better" genetics...would it not be the same?
 

cmay

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TNRiver":22n8lofz said:
dun":22n8lofz said:
With proper selection the first calf heifers calf should be the top genetics. It's only those that use a junk bull just to get a heifer bred that have problems with their calves. They may be a bit smaller at weaning but by 2 they'll catch up with the others. That's one of those your mileage may vary and subject to tricky limitations.

Just a question.. If it were the same bull and the same momma cow having calves for several years, what makes the first calf have "better" genetics...would it not be the same?


Several years later, some of those mommas would have been culled. The gene pool of the older cows "should" be better genetics.
 

TCRanch

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I've kept a number of heifers from 1st calf heifers, based on the performance of their lineage. So far only one has been a disappointment and there have been multiple bulls but all have similar EPD's.
 

farmerjan

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Old timers around here also have that "don't keep heifers out of first calf heifers" idea. I will keep them if I like them. Yes they are often a little bit smaller, but hey, they were smaller when born because I WANTED a smaller calf out of that heifer so she wouldn't have a problem. I agree that they usually pretty much catch up after 2 or 3 in size if you don't breed them too young. The thing that I have some questions about is this whole frame size as they often do seem to have a slightly smaller frame, again, because the bull was an easy calving bull. But, yes they should be of the better genetics since you are trying to improve your animals by using better bulls. Alot of commercial people do use an easy calving bull on heifers, and sell all the calves as a terminal cross. Then according to how they did, maybe keep a calf the next time. I try to look at the calf, and her parentage....and we are commercial but do try to retain 20+ heifers a year. Some may very well be out of heifers.
 
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TNRiver

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Thanks for the replies. I was just wondering because we have some calves out of some first calf heifers that we REALLY like and are going to keep them.. just wanted to hear some other opinions.
 

Nesikep

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I just typically found the growth isn't going to be there, momma hasn't really developed her full milking potential.. Genetics should be genetics and shouldn't change.. if they really do make a calf that is exceptional by even a cow standards then it's probably worth giving them a try.
That said, I'm not trying to increase my herd size, so I can afford to wait a while to get heifer calves... I'll learn a little more about the cow in the meanwhile.

As much as people would like to think their genetics are improving faster than their cow herd is aging, I think that's rather optimistic in the vast majority of herds.. If I have two identical calves, one from a 15 year old cow, the other from a first timer, but can only keep one of them, I'd choose the proven cow's calf every time... If the heifer is as good as she supposedly is, she ought to live to have plenty of them anyhow.
 

ky colonel

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we kept 3 heifers back and bred to a good bull they had 3 heifers also and now those are better than their moms. so i wouldnt be afraid to keep back heifers again as long as they are from quality and you breed to quality they should be fine.
 

mwj

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TNRiver":2tsltvf5 said:
dun":2tsltvf5 said:
With proper selection the first calf heifers calf should be the top genetics. It's only those that use a junk bull just to get a heifer bred that have problems with their calves. They may be a bit smaller at weaning but by 2 they'll catch up with the others. That's one of those your mileage may vary and subject to tricky limitations.

Just a question.. If it were the same bull and the same momma cow having calves for several years, what makes the first calf have "better" genetics...would it not be the same?

What he meant, was the heifers calf should be your most current genetics. This is provided you are only keeping the best for replacements, and breeding to a good bull. The year heifers go into production is the only time it will hold true for that animal.
 

SIMMGAL

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In my personal experience, if you have quality heifers and breed those heifers to a quality bull you shouldn't have that problem. Sure, a heifer might not wean off as large of a calf as a mature cow milking at her full potential, but if you are continually improving your herd's genetic potential in every generation then the genetics should still be there. Some of my favorite replacements have been out of first calf heifers. Since I started using AI in my herd, I haven't had to sacrifice WW for CE as much as I did when we just bred out heifers to a walking bull many many eons ago. If the calf is junky, it's getting shipped. Doesn't mater if it's out of a mature cow or a first calf heifer.
 

dun

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TNRiver":2qlrplyq said:
dun":2qlrplyq said:
With proper selection the first calf heifers calf should be the top genetics. It's only those that use a junk bull just to get a heifer bred that have problems with their calves. They may be a bit smaller at weaning but by 2 they'll catch up with the others. That's one of those your mileage may vary and subject to tricky limitations.

Just a question.. If it were the same bull and the same momma cow having calves for several years, what makes the first calf have "better" genetics...would it not be the same?
Correct, the genetics would be the same within the normal variation between full sibs. Because the heifer is still growing she won;t have as much milk typically as she would have for later calves. That pretty much means that the calf (may) wean lighter but when her true genetics are expressed as she matures she'll be just like any other full sib from later pregnancys
The better genetics comes into play simply because you should be using better wuality bulls each year.
 

True Grit Farms

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I agree on the quality and genetics part. Using AI is the way to get the genetics, and culling is the way to get quality. And if you feed "push" the heifer and calf, they're be no difference in calf size or weight at weaning. IMO
 

Son of Butch

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TNRiver":3ko1h2pw said:
Heard something from a long time cattle producer that got me thinking..
He said he never retains calves from 1st calf heifers. He said the first calf a heifer has will be the worst calf
they ever produce.
Anybody know of any truth to this? Opinions?
:bs:
In Example: Glendell Arlinda Chief was one of the best holstein sires of his day...and his dam was a first calf heifer
that died shortly after calving. Just one of many examples, off the top of my head, Paclamar Mandingo would be another.

IF you are making genetic progress your first calf heifers should be genetically superior to their dams (your older cows)
The problem isn't the genetics or quality of the calves, the problem is His Management of his first calf heifers.

By automatically culling all calves from first calf heifers you are automatically slowing your genetic progress.
 

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