Replacements out of first calve heifers?

Help Support CattleToday:

hrbelgians

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
374
Reaction score
0
Location
Northern Indiana
The other day a comment was made on another topic, something of this nature.

Points to remember;
Never keep replacements out of first calve heifers. I guess that caught my eye and I guess I have been asleep as I could not remember hearing that before.

I thought it was an interesting statement, however would someone care to explain a little more in depth on why not??
Thanks
 

dun

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 28, 2003
Messages
47,334
Reaction score
4
Location
MO Ozarks
HOG WASH. If the bull was slected for the proper traits and not just to get a calf on the gorund, there is absolutely no reason to not keep them. In years past the only thing a lot of people did with heifers was bred them to a junk bull that threw little calves just to get them to calve, then they used a decent bull for subsequent calves. There is enough data today that you can pretty well selct for bulls that will give you calving ease with good maternal abilities in their daughters.
 

redcowsrule33

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2008
Messages
924
Reaction score
3
Location
Wisconsin
I agree with dun 100%.

Alot of people will throw away these heifers because they tend to be a bit smaller at weaning but they will catch up after weaning and (should) have the most progressive genetics in your herd. By getting rid of them you are slowing genetic progress by one year.
 
OP
H

hrbelgians

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
374
Reaction score
0
Location
Northern Indiana
redcowsrule33":37xo9i2x said:
I agree with dun 100%.

Alot of people will throw away these heifers because they tend to be a bit smaller at weaning but they will catch up after weaning and (should) have the most progressive genetics in your herd. By getting rid of them you are slowing genetic progress by one year.




Well........Thats interesting because that was my thinking.
Thanks for your opinion Guys!!
 

I luv herfrds

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Messages
5,770
Reaction score
0
Location
Montana
We do not keep first year heifers calves because we do not like to breed daughter to father.
Did break that rule with one though, she is turning out pretty nice though. Still a little smaller then the others we kept.
Will have to watch and see what our first years raise this year, the bull they were bred to was shipped because he got an attitude. He threw nice calves though. Our vet likes them and if we have alot of heifers I bet he will be out looking at them.
 

bigbull338

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 28, 2005
Messages
16,565
Reaction score
0
Location
texas
i always keep heifer calves out of heifers.they are bettergenetics.because you match your cows to the best bulls you can.an then breed the heifer the same way.
 

SRBeef

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
2,931
Reaction score
1
Location
SW Wisconsin
I had heard this same old wives tale - and now agree with Dun: hogwash.

Some of my best looking retained heifers were first calves. You just look at them with the same eye and cull or retain the same as any others. jmho.
 

1982vett

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2008
Messages
9,404
Reaction score
185
Location
Central Texas
It all hinges on genetics. Some don't "breed up" first calf heifers and some first calf heifers shouldn't be first calf heifers to begin with. That said, I see no problem in keeping a heifer calf as long as that calf shows traits and has the genetic ability to be a good performing cow. In fact I have one in my herd now that shows great promise and it's bloodline has sentimental value. It will be the 6th generation of my first bottle calf dad bought for me 40 years ago.
 

I luv herfrds

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Messages
5,770
Reaction score
0
Location
Montana
Now I know that we are all not going to agree on this issue because we all do it differently.
With ours we like a nice low birth weight calf for them. Around 70-78#. Our main herd bulls average 82-91#, now to us that is too big for the first calf. Too much of a chance of things going wrong.
We "breed up" in the main herd.
JMHO
 

hillsdown

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2006
Messages
9,930
Reaction score
9
Location
Alberta, Canada
Well I have always been taught and still believe to this day that your heifers are you future herd and it has certainly been proven true in the dairy world. Especially is you are optimizing your genetics by choosing the best sires to improve your herd. Two of my highest ween weights and most promising heifers are out of heifers, and you betcha I am keeping them . The dams were out of AI sires and then bred to our clean up bull who was out of an AI sire.. Next spring the heifers will be AI'd to another promising sire.

I love heifers and in 3-4 years if you are doing your job right they will put some of those 6-10 year olds to shame on having great calves.. :nod:
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
12,063
Reaction score
749
Location
Central Upstate New York
Diddo what Dun said - HOG WASH.
If you are a breeder and not a multiplier, your heifers should be your best genetics & their 1st offspring, should be your newest "best genetics".
Just because a bull has the ability to sire small BW & great CE, doesn't mean he can't also have great growth & milk & carcass traits. Just do your research.
 

RanchManager

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 12, 2008
Messages
55
Reaction score
0
Often, people use a "heifer bull" on their first time heifers. A bull that statistically throws smaller weight calves and often has lighter weaning weights (but not always the case). It has been shown that consistently using this process selects for females with smaller pelvic areas. Genetically, over time, by using "heifer bulls" and retaining the heifers for replacements, you are inadvertantly selecting for females with a smaller pelvic area. A smaller pelvis means more potential for calving problems. I can't remember the research off the top of my head, but google it and you should find some papers.

This is probably the reason why you hear it often said not to hang onto your heifer's heifer calves. I am not talking about bulls, in general, that throw smaller calves, but bulls that have been breed for the purpose of being a "heifer bull".

We absolutly keep the best of our heifer's calves because they represent the latest and best of our breeding, but do not used bulls specifically bred to be heifer bulls, we just watch the history of the birth weights of our breeding stock.
 

Loch Valley Fold

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 21, 2008
Messages
542
Reaction score
0
Location
NSW Australia
The entire foundation stock of our dairy herd is made up of 1st time heifers, the owner of the dairy farm we managed thought that way don't keep any heifers heifers as they would never do any good I brought most of the heifers for $5.00 each than when he figured out what I wanted them for he wanted $50.00 a head We let them go to the sale yards & had someone else buy them for us & trucked them back home again. 8 years on the girls are only just hitting their stride we've culled a couple on temperament but that is all.
 

novatech

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
4,830
Reaction score
1
Location
Brenham, Texas
I not only retain most of my first calf heifers but push heifers to breed as early as possible in order to speed up my attaining genetic goals. I'm not getting any younger and not very patient either.
 

BeefmasterB

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 2, 2008
Messages
614
Reaction score
0
Location
SE TX
I think the concern would not be so much on rejecting a first calf but rather the health of the first calf and of the heifer! Watching the calf to make sure it's getting colostrum and watching for dystocia would be more important to me as some heifers don't produce enough the first go around. The first calf heifer might take a little longer to recover so nutritional requirements might need to be watched. Other than that, first calves are just as good as the rest IMO.
 

cypressfarms

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 5, 2005
Messages
3,473
Reaction score
27
Location
New Roads, LA
RanchManager":1hjvm3gc said:
Often, people use a "heifer bull" on their first time heifers. A bull that statistically throws smaller weight calves and often has lighter weaning weights (but not always the case). It has been shown that consistently using this process selects for females with smaller pelvic areas. Genetically, over time, by using "heifer bulls" and retaining the heifers for replacements, you are inadvertantly selecting for females with a smaller pelvic area.


DOUBLE HOG WASH!!!!!

Please show me some hard facts, RanchManager, where there is a direct correlation between a cow's size and pelvic size, not to mention that most of the cows we are talking about that are low birth weight will eventually catch up with others - then I will double apologize.

I had posted a while back that from looking at my own herd data, that heifers weaned calves that were way below the herd average (sometimes 100 pounds or more). This was at a 205 day weaning. What is true, however, that eventually by the yearling stage (or longer for some), all of the smaller calves caught up.

Back to topic, I would not hesitate to keep a heifer's calf. About the only thing that you couldn't have visibility on would be the moma's longevity and how her bag holds up over time - for obvious reasons.
 

novatech

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
4,830
Reaction score
1
Location
Brenham, Texas
cypressfarms":1pyiwlzh said:
Back to topic, I would not hesitate to keep a heifer's calf. About the only thing that you couldn't have visibility on would be the moma's longevity and how her bag holds up over time - for obvious reasons.
One of the best reasons I know for starting with old proven cows as seed stock. But you need some good reliable history on the bulls selected to be used on them.
 

I luv herfrds

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 24, 2007
Messages
5,770
Reaction score
0
Location
Montana
OK out of our herd heifer calves that were kept avg. weaning weight 565#
First year heifer's their 7 calves avg. weaning weight 478#.
 

Latest posts

Top