Show Heifer

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capparelli

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I am looking at a 3/4 Maine 1/4 Limi show heifer. She has been weaned and on feed for 60 days, but she is only 6 months old. I always leave my calves on their mommas until 6 months, I was wondering what the drawbacks are for a calf being weaned at 4 months or if there is any.
 

*Cowgirl*

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Depends on the calf. If the momma's not milking very well, or she is in bad condition, or if the calf isn't getting what it needs, I'll pull it off early. Otherwise I leave them and break the calves while they are still on the cow.
 

AAOK

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As a general rule, early weaning will give an advantage to a show calf over those weaned later. Two to three months is not unusual to wean a show calf. My personal opinion is that the earlier they are on full feed, the more it will enhance their optimal development.
 

showkid1200

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we wean are show calves at 5 months. gives them plenty of time to develop while still having enough time on there momma
 

msscamp

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AAOK":19gqs8sy said:
As a general rule, early weaning will give an advantage to a show calf over those weaned later. Two to three months is not unusual to wean a show calf. My personal opinion is that the earlier they are on full feed, the more it will enhance their optimal development.

Why would you think this?
 

SKF Show Cattle

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We always wean are calves that we are planning on showing by the time they are four months or earlier if the mother is run down. Never had a problem and they always look good. Plus they are so much easier to break when they are young. We usually have them to their first show by the time they are five months old.
 

msscamp

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SKF Show Cattle":1c3h80pg said:
We always wean are calves that we are planning on showing by the time they are four months or earlier if the mother is run down. Never had a problem and they always look good. Plus they are so much easier to break when they are young. We usually have them to their first show by the time they are five months old.

There is a world of difference between weaning young if the mother is being pulled down (although I don't understand why she would be pulled down if the management was there - provided it wasn't a drought year, she wasn't bred too young, and didn't have health problems - which may or may not come back to management), and weaning young as a matter of practice because of the 'convenience' factor. We don't do shows anymore, but we used to and we've broken too many calves to lead and show while still on their mothers for me to believe it's that difficult. Seperate the calf and work with him/her for an hour or so every day, what is so difficult about that? Start when they are a week or so old and it gets even easier because they are easier to handle. Sure, you need to cut down the time when they are very young, but it's still possible and easier. 'Looking' good, and 'being' good are two different things - particularly as the calves mature. There is a sound, proven reason that beef calves are usually not weaned until they are 6 months old, that reason is growth, nutrition, health, and the ability to perform later in life. The younger a calf is weaned, the less developed his/her immune system is, and the greater toll the stress takes in the form of illness. Yes, an adequate diet will offset some of that, but no diet can replace what nature intended. If you doubt that, look at bottle calves - no matter how well they do, it will never be as good as it would have been if that calf had been raised on its mother. A lot of the posts I read on this showboard simply reinforces my refusal to buy show heifers. True, there are a number of people out there who raise their show heifers according to the generally accepted practices of raising cattle, but they sure seem to be in the minority and it's impossible to tell them from the rest - unless one knows their management practices.
 

Keren

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I couldn't have said it better myself, msscamp. :clap: :clap: :clap:

As for weaning age, I am of the opinion that nothing is better for a calf than milk. It is not unusual for our show calves to be on mamma right up to 9 or 10 months old, unless of course we want to show them that early (or drought conditions are taking a toll on the cow etc). In my experience this gives them the best start in life.

As for the original question, I have only ever fed out one steer that was weaned early, he was orphaned and so began eating hard feed at 2 months. He ended up being Grand Champion. I'm not saying this is a typical case, though. I would think the best thing to do would be look at the calf, if she looks healthy, is growing well and fits your selection criteria, then go for it.
 

AAOK

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msscamp":yf79ia1e said:
AAOK":yf79ia1e said:
As a general rule, early weaning will give an advantage to a show calf over those weaned later. Two to three months is not unusual to wean a show calf. My personal opinion is that the earlier they are on full feed, the more it will enhance their optimal development.

Why would you think this?

I don't just think this to be true, I have experienced it time and time again through practice. Our family started completely blind into the Cattle Industry, and more specificly into Show Calves. A lot of what we learned was through trial and error, but much was gained by watching and asking the experts (The breeders who always won). By our third year of raising Show calves, we started feeding our Show Ration to the Mama just before calving, and continue for the next few months. By 4 -6 weeks of age, the calf will be eating right along with the cow. Depending on the calf, and the amount of time I have available, at about 3-4 months, I pull the calf and begin increasing the show ration daily. For the next 30 days, the calf is allowed to nurse once a day (this is only when I have time, not for every calf). I shoot to have the calf consuming 20-25 pounds of feed per day by 5 months. It's really not that much different from the Commercial business. A Creep fed calf on a good medicated mineral and vitamin program will always excell over a calf just nursing. The show calves converted early to a complete Show Ration with Vitamains and mineral will grow out with more volume, be stouter, healthier, and will be easier keeping cows after their show careers are finished. None of this is guess work, it's been proven by the top "Show" breeders, and I have had the same success with our calves.
 

AAOK

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msscamp":u0sqlwue said:
If you doubt that, look at bottle calves - no matter how well they do, it will never be as good as it would have been if that calf had been raised on its mother.

You must not have ever seen the calves at a well managed dairy. By 4-5 months they are twice the calves that you'll find with most commercial beef breeders at weaning age.
 

SKF Show Cattle

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When we wean early because the cow is run down it's not due to poor managment it's because it has been a dry hot summer and there's not much grass. We do start working with the calves while they are still on their mother. Most of your show calves are weaned early. Take a look at the age of the calves at a lot of the sales and you will see that they are usally under 6 months of age. The show calves that we buy are all most always 5 months old and they grow just fine. We have never had a problem with one that was weaned early so there is no harm in weaning early. As long as you have them on a good feed program.
 

TheBullLady

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If you start your baby calves on a creep feeder, you can successfully wean them at a younger than "normal" age, if you need to do so to handle them. A lot of people don't have the facilities to keep them together and work with the calf on the cow. Being on feed is the key. Getting them eating at an early age is to your advantage.
 

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