Small operation - Breeding

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ksmit454

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I have had cattle for 3 years now and I'm just starting to get the breeding aspect dialed in. You know it takes time, buy the heifers, let them get of age to breed, then wait for calves, and do it all over again. I have 2 heifers that are ready to breed, 2 first calf heifers who calved first week in October, and one cow that is bred, due in December. I know all over the place but I'm learning as I go. I know with the 2 cows that calved in October I can be less careful about birth weight as they calved just fine. But I have these 2 heifers I also want to breed. So do I AI the 2 heifers to small birth weight and rent a bull for the other 2? Seems kinda silly to me to rent a bull for the 2… I would love to find a bull that I would rent for all 4 but is the realistic to breed a low BW bull to 2 cows that don't need it?

Ideally, I want them all within the same breeding/calving window (all 5). But, I have the one cow that is due in December. It would also not be profitable if I just kept the 4 and wait to breed until after she calves. How soon after she calves can I breed her back?
 
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If it were me, I would just use a heifer bull for all them.
We used to do a bred heifer program and had to use heifer bulls for that and at the time just had a few cows so used the same bulls for cows too.
I'm kind of anti AI, I always found you needed a cleanup bull anyways so it wasn't practical for me.
 
If it were me, I would just use a heifer bull for all them.
We used to do a bred heifer program and had to use heifer bulls for that and at the time just had a few cows so used the same bulls for cows too.
I'm kind of anti AI, I always found you needed a cleanup bull anyways so it wasn't practical for me.
Ok. Do you think it would be possible to get a heifer bull that has low BW but high WW? Is that a thing? I have done AI twice with success both times, but I would sure as heck rather have a bull do all the work for me.
 
Ok. Do you think it would be possible to get a heifer bull that has low BW but high WW? Is that a thing? I have done AI twice with success both times, but I would sure as heck rather have a bull do all the work for me.
It should be fairly easy to find a decent growth calving ease bull.
AI can work for some, but I'm like you I'd rather have the bull working .
 
I have 2 heifers that are ready to breed, 2 first calf heifers who calved first week in October, and one cow that is bred, due in December. I know all over the place but I'm learning as I go. It would also not be profitable if I just kept the 4 and wait to breed until after she calves. How soon after she calves can I breed her back?
5-6 weeks aka 35-42 days IF the stars align.
By 8 weeks aka 56 days after calving 94% of cows should be good to go.
 
You have 5 cows. 2 calve in October and you want to breed them to a rent-a-bull, then the other calves in December, and you want to rent her a bull, then you have 2 heifers that you AI? I would just AI all of them with 2 different bulls if you want to. A bull is very expensive to keep around for 2 or 3 cows.
 
I agree that renting a bull is easier, but it would be more expensive in my opinion. if you have had good luck in the past with AI, then that would be the logical way to go. no need for a cleanup bull if you are knowledgeable about heat detection and cycling patterns. you could breed each to a different bull if you desire depending on which traits you want to improve on each cow/heifer.
 
If it was important to me to get em synced up, I'd just wait til the last one calved and get a bull on em about 2 weeks after calving. The 2 first calf heifers may not breed right away anyway. SOMETIMES they take a lil longer to get cycling after their first calf. Not always tho

The others should breed right away.
And there's a possibility the December calver may move up.

It's also possible to get em all to move up next year.
 
I have had cattle for 3 years now and I'm just starting to get the breeding aspect dialed in. You know it takes time, buy the heifers, let them get of age to breed, then wait for calves, and do it all over again. I have 2 heifers that are ready to breed, 2 first calf heifers who calved first week in October, and one cow that is bred, due in December. I know all over the place but I'm learning as I go. I know with the 2 cows that calved in October I can be less careful about birth weight as they calved just fine. But I have these 2 heifers I also want to breed. So do I AI the 2 heifers to small birth weight and rent a bull for the other 2? Seems kinda silly to me to rent a bull for the 2… I would love to find a bull that I would rent for all 4 but is the realistic to breed a low BW bull to 2 cows that don't need it?

Ideally, I want them all within the same breeding/calving window (all 5). But, I have the one cow that is due in December. It would also not be profitable if I just kept the 4 and wait to breed until after she calves. How soon after she calves can I breed her back?
I like all my cows to calve at the same time. Lots of reasons for that including that I have to watch them for a shorter time and when the calves are ready to market they all look similar and get a higher price.

It's also easy to synchronize your animals so they all get bred at the same time using artificial insemination. And you can customize your concerns so you can breed the new heifers to a calving ease bull and the others to something moderate with high weaning weights.

I'd never buy/rent a bull for anything less than 20 cows. It's just too easy to synchronize and AI.

If you have a good person to do the AI they can suggest bulls to address what you want. The best of all possible worlds, IMO.
 
A bull will be your best option to tighten your calving up. In renting a bull I would think you won't have many options to pick and choose. In my experience calving ease bulls that have a low WW can still produce a pretty decent calf, a lot has to do with the milking ability of the cow. If you keep chasing the calving ease and with low WW a smaller cow size may show up down the track if you are keeping your own heifers but it is not a deal breaker in my opinion as long as the quality is there. With AI sires for heifers I tend to shop for middle of the road bulls which are good for the cows as well. When I sell bulls people want a good bit of growth as well as calving ease so I am always keeping an eye on numbers. One of my best cows who is on her 7th calf now is not big frame but weans one of the heaviest if not the heaviest calf each year has terrific calving ease numbers but pitifull growth numbers, her 2 yr old son I am using at present is currently around the 1000kg mark so in situ, nothing wrong with the growth. I record weights regularly with Angus Australia and do genomics but nothing seems to shift with the EBV numbers, I put this down to my relatively small numbers and contempory groups.

Ken
 
I have had cattle for 3 years now and I'm just starting to get the breeding aspect dialed in. You know it takes time, buy the heifers, let them get of age to breed, then wait for calves, and do it all over again. I have 2 heifers that are ready to breed, 2 first calf heifers who calved first week in October, and one cow that is bred, due in December. I know all over the place but I'm learning as I go. I know with the 2 cows that calved in October I can be less careful about birth weight as they calved just fine. But I have these 2 heifers I also want to breed. So do I AI the 2 heifers to small birth weight and rent a bull for the other 2? Seems kinda silly to me to rent a bull for the 2… I would love to find a bull that I would rent for all 4 but is the realistic to breed a low BW bull to 2 cows that don't need it?

Ideally, I want them all within the same breeding/calving window (all 5). But, I have the one cow that is due in December. It would also not be profitable if I just kept the 4 and wait to breed until after she calves. How soon after she calves can I breed her back?
What breed are these cattle?
 
The bull is only part of the equation, calving ease or not. It's the dam I pay the most attention to. I put my +16 CED bull and my +7 CED bull with the main herd a couple years ago and my best producers still calved & raised the best calves, regardless of the sire.

I agree that AI is probably your best bet with only a handful of cows/heifers, especially if you want a tight calving season.

BUT . . . here's another option. Johnson was my +16 and his BSE was okay, not great, and he was getting older. I planned on just selling him at the sale barn but ended up selling him to someone that only has maybe 6 cows. Vet assured me & the buyer that Johnson still had game, so the idea was to sell him at cull price, buyer would use him for a couple months then turn around & sell him. Except his loves that bull and still has him. So, he's essentially yard art but the owner sends me pics of the calves so clearly, he gets to "work" at least 6 times a year. Anyway, maybe you can find an older, proven CED bull for a turn 'n burn?
 
You have 5 cows. 2 calve in October and you want to breed them to a rent-a-bull, then the other calves in December, and you want to rent her a bull, then you have 2 heifers that you AI? I would just AI all of them with 2 different bulls if you want to. A bull is very expensive to keep around for 2 or 3 cows.
Yes it's too expensive to keep a bill around for only 5 head. My plan however was to either rent one or buy one and sell after. It's either that or just AI everyone.
 
If it was important to me to get em synced up, I'd just wait til the last one calved and get a bull on em about 2 weeks after calving. The 2 first calf heifers may not breed right away anyway. SOMETIMES they take a lil longer to get cycling after their first calf. Not always tho

The others should breed right away.
And there's a possibility the December calver may move up.

It's also possible to get em all to move up next year.
I'm glad there are possibilities of getting them all calving closer together. So many options!
 
I like all my cows to calve at the same time. Lots of reasons for that including that I have to watch them for a shorter time and when the calves are ready to market they all look similar and get a higher price.

It's also easy to synchronize your animals so they all get bred at the same time using artificial insemination. And you can customize your concerns so you can breed the new heifers to a calving ease bull and the others to something moderate with high weaning weights.

I'd never buy/rent a bull for anything less than 20 cows. It's just too easy to synchronize and AI.

If you have a good person to do the AI they can suggest bulls to address what you want. The best of all possible worlds, IMO.
That is true, all really great points.
 
A bull will be your best option to tighten your calving up. In renting a bull I would think you won't have many options to pick and choose. In my experience calving ease bulls that have a low WW can still produce a pretty decent calf, a lot has to do with the milking ability of the cow. If you keep chasing the calving ease and with low WW a smaller cow size may show up down the track if you are keeping your own heifers but it is not a deal breaker in my opinion as long as the quality is there. With AI sires for heifers I tend to shop for middle of the road bulls which are good for the cows as well. When I sell bulls people want a good bit of growth as well as calving ease so I am always keeping an eye on numbers. One of my best cows who is on her 7th calf now is not big frame but weans one of the heaviest if not the heaviest calf each year has terrific calving ease numbers but pitifull growth numbers, her 2 yr old son I am using at present is currently around the 1000kg mark so in situ, nothing wrong with the growth. I record weights regularly with Angus Australia and do genomics but nothing seems to shift with the EBV numbers, I put this down to my relatively small numbers and contempory groups.

Ken
Good points. That's the downside to renting a bull as there aren't many options.
 
The bull is only part of the equation, calving ease or not. It's the dam I pay the most attention to. I put my +16 CED bull and my +7 CED bull with the main herd a couple years ago and my best producers still calved & raised the best calves, regardless of the sire.

I agree that AI is probably your best bet with only a handful of cows/heifers, especially if you want a tight calving season.

BUT . . . here's another option. Johnson was my +16 and his BSE was okay, not great, and he was getting older. I planned on just selling him at the sale barn but ended up selling him to someone that only has maybe 6 cows. Vet assured me & the buyer that Johnson still had game, so the idea was to sell him at cull price, buyer would use him for a couple months then turn around & sell him. Except his loves that bull and still has him. So, he's essentially yard art but the owner sends me pics of the calves so clearly, he gets to "work" at least 6 times a year. Anyway, maybe you can find an older, proven CED bull for a turn 'n burn?
That is true, I haven't considered the cows side and how that can affect the calf's ww. And yes that was an option too. I have found a few registered bulls on Craigslist that are older and decently priced. I would still ask for a bse test.
 
That is true, I haven't considered the cows side and how that can affect the calf's ww. And yes that was an option too. I have found a few registered bulls on Craigslist that are older and decently priced. I would still ask for a bse test.
Not a bad idea. I personally love a 4 y/o bull, they're proven and still young enough to get the job done. Downside is the older bulls can be harder to handle in my experience. Some learn that they're bigger than you and only go where they want to. They call the bluff more than the young ones.
 

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