Stop feeding grain prior to calving?

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NonTypicalCPA

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I had my first calf last spring from a belted galloway heifer I didn't know was pregnant. We had to pull that calf as it presented with the nose and only one foot. The other foot was tucked back. It was a tough pull but everyone came through it. I had been feeding that heifer 12.5% grain about a 2 quart scoop a day up until she delivered. I've read a couple times now that you should stop feeding grain a month before delivery, but I wanted to confirm here if that is the case? The calf was only 62lbs, but belties are a smaller breed. I've been graining them daily and am getting close to being a month out and wondering if I should stop?
 

ez14.

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I don't think so (for one thing that calf wasn't to big) if you want to feed grain as long as you're not over feeding it it should be fine! Though personally I'd prefer to save the money and not feed grain to cows (heifers are a little different)
 

Aaron

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You should have quit feeding her grain long before that - say 3 months or better. She was over conditioned and had massive internal fat deposits in her pelvic area which made for a tough delivery. A good heifer should sneeze and shoot out a 62 lb calf straight across a field. My neighbor had the same issues. Bought heifers from me, raised under ranch conditions. Warned him not to overfeed or he'll be in trouble as they are easy keeping to begin with. He fed them heavy like he always does. Had 70-85 lb calves off them and had to pull every one. Actually broke the leg on one it was so hard a pull. Heifers were in feedlot fat condition when they calved. I've got a 'skinny' 900 lb heifer in my heifer pen that dropped and popped out a 75 lb calf in 30 minutes by herself. That is how it is supposed to be.
 

ez14.

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Aaron":3s39z7ir said:
You should have quit feeding her grain long before that - say 3 months or better. She was over conditioned and had massive internal fat deposits in her pelvic area which made for a tough delivery. A good heifer should sneeze and shoot out a 62 lb calf straight across a field. My neighbor had the same issues. Bought heifers from me, raised under ranch conditions. Warned him not to overfeed or he'll be in trouble as they are easy keeping to begin with. He fed them heavy like he always does. Had 70-85 lb calves off them and had to pull every one. Actually broke the leg on one it was so hard a pull. Heifers were in feedlot fat condition when they calved. I've got a 'skinny' 900 lb heifer in my heifer pen that dropped and popped out a 75 lb calf in 30 minutes by herself. That is how it is supposed to be.
Some truth there for sure! But it was a Miss presentation which can be hard no matter the heifers condition
 

Aaron

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ez14.":15rav3mo said:
Aaron":15rav3mo said:
You should have quit feeding her grain long before that - say 3 months or better. She was over conditioned and had massive internal fat deposits in her pelvic area which made for a tough delivery. A good heifer should sneeze and shoot out a 62 lb calf straight across a field. My neighbor had the same issues. Bought heifers from me, raised under ranch conditions. Warned him not to overfeed or he'll be in trouble as they are easy keeping to begin with. He fed them heavy like he always does. Had 70-85 lb calves off them and had to pull every one. Actually broke the leg on one it was so hard a pull. Heifers were in feedlot fat condition when they calved. I've got a 'skinny' 900 lb heifer in my heifer pen that dropped and popped out a 75 lb calf in 30 minutes by herself. That is how it is supposed to be.
Some truth there for sure! But it was a Miss presentation which can be hard no matter the heifers condition

I assumed they repositioned the leg and pulled as a normal presentation. Good way to pop joints out of place on calf doing it the other way.
 

Air gator

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I have read a lot of research and everything I have seen is that feeding pregnant cows and heifers helps them breed back and calves are healthier. Cutting a cow or heifer off from feed for 3 months or more is extreme. Likewise, if you pen up a heifer like she is in a feedlot and have feed free choice it is extreme. If you feed a cow 1 percent of her body weight and you have calving problems then I would argue that there is a problem with the animal not with the feed. To me if you are trying to breed a heifer to calve at 2 years old, which is a common practice, your heifer will never reach her full potential without feed. The caveat to that is if you have the ideal forage so that you have quality grass and your cows have body condition then that's a different st
ory. Even with that you would likely have to supplement with protein and minerals. By the way from what I have seen with recips the only time that weight hurts fertility is if they are obese...Body Score 9.

This is from University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Thin cows at calving (BCS 4 or thinner) produce less colostrum, give birth to less vigorous calves that are slower to stand and these calves have lower immunoglobulin levels (Table 2, below), thus impairing their ability to overcome early calf-hood disease challenges. This illustrates the importance of targeting mature cows to calve in a BCS of at least 5. Because 1st-calf-heifers have only reached about 85% of their mature weight after calving and require additional nutrients to support growth, they need to be fed so they are a BCS of 6 at calving.
 

ez14.

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Aaron":1d9pkk4r said:
ez14.":1d9pkk4r said:
Aaron":1d9pkk4r said:
You should have quit feeding her grain long before that - say 3 months or better. She was over conditioned and had massive internal fat deposits in her pelvic area which made for a tough delivery. A good heifer should sneeze and shoot out a 62 lb calf straight across a field. My neighbor had the same issues. Bought heifers from me, raised under ranch conditions. Warned him not to overfeed or he'll be in trouble as they are easy keeping to begin with. He fed them heavy like he always does. Had 70-85 lb calves off them and had to pull every one. Actually broke the leg on one it was so hard a pull. Heifers were in feedlot fat condition when they calved. I've got a 'skinny' 900 lb heifer in my heifer pen that dropped and popped out a 75 lb calf in 30 minutes by herself. That is how it is supposed to be.
Some truth there for sure! But it was a Miss presentation which can be hard no matter the heifers condition

I assumed they repositioned the leg and pulled as a normal presentation. Good way to pop joints out of place on calf doing it the other way.
I suppose maybe we both jumped to conclusions! And should have asked for more information before trying to answer.

I don't know if they repositioned it or not
 

callmefence

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ez14.":311ovpqj said:
Aaron":311ovpqj said:
ez14.":311ovpqj said:
Some truth there for sure! But it was a Miss presentation which can be hard no matter the heifers condition

I assumed they repositioned the leg and pulled as a normal presentation. Good way to pop joints out of place on calf doing it the other way.
I suppose maybe we both jumped to conclusions! And should have asked for more information before trying to answer.

I don't know if they repositioned it or not

Don't really matter. The only thing you do know is the calf was mispositioned and that is most likely what put the heifer in the chute. Once repositioned your going to go head and finish the pull.
That said I don't like to see my heifers on anything but just grass a few months before calving.
 

ez14.

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callmefence":3oq6qtv0 said:
ez14.":3oq6qtv0 said:
Aaron":3oq6qtv0 said:
I assumed they repositioned the leg and pulled as a normal presentation. Good way to pop joints out of place on calf doing it the other way.
I suppose maybe we both jumped to conclusions! And should have asked for more information before trying to answer.

I don't know if they repositioned it or not

Don't really matter. The only thing you do know is the calf was mispositioned and that is most likely what put the heifer in the chute. Once repositioned your going to go head and finish the pull.
That said I don't like to see my heifers on anything but just grass a few months before calving.
yeah but the pull shouldn't have been hard after being repositioned
 

callmefence

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ez14.":1xnumuzf said:
callmefence":1xnumuzf said:
ez14.":1xnumuzf said:
I suppose maybe we both jumped to conclusions! And should have asked for more information before trying to answer.

I don't know if they repositioned it or not

Don't really matter. The only thing you do know is the calf was mispositioned and that is most likely what put the heifer in the chute. Once repositioned your going to go head and finish the pull.
That said I don't like to see my heifers on anything but just grass a few months before calving.
yeah but the pull shouldn't have been hard after being repositioned
Not necessarily. If she's been down awhile and exhausted, lost some dilation etc.
But mainly hard means different things to different folks. To me hard means I had to pull a calf.
 

ddd75

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Aaron":zia345u7 said:
You should have quit feeding her grain long before that - say 3 months or better. She was over conditioned and had massive internal fat deposits in her pelvic area which made for a tough delivery. A good heifer should sneeze and shoot out a 62 lb calf straight across a field. My neighbor had the same issues. Bought heifers from me, raised under ranch conditions. Warned him not to overfeed or he'll be in trouble as they are easy keeping to begin with. He fed them heavy like he always does. Had 70-85 lb calves off them and had to pull every one. Actually broke the leg on one it was so hard a pull. Heifers were in feedlot fat condition when they calved. I've got a 'skinny' 900 lb heifer in my heifer pen that dropped and popped out a 75 lb calf in 30 minutes by herself. That is how it is supposed to be.


exactly..

sometimes i feed heifers, sometimes i don't.. but as soon as they get bred.. I don't feed them anything.
 

dun

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callmefence":nyz81eq2 said:
ez14.":nyz81eq2 said:
yeah but the pull shouldn't have been hard after being repositioned
Not necessarily. If she's been down awhile and exhausted, lost some dilation etc.
But mainly hard means different things to different folks. To me hard means I had to pull a calf.
Once a heifer or cow is exhausted, ti's gonna be a hard pull. Maybe not a calf jack hard, but still gonna take some doing.
 

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Air gator":2g9px53g said:
I have read a lot of research and everything I have seen is that feeding pregnant cows and heifers helps them breed back and calves are healthier. Cutting a cow or heifer off from feed for 3 months or more is extreme. Likewise, if you pen up a heifer like she is in a feedlot and have feed free choice it is extreme. If you feed a cow 1 percent of her body weight and you have calving problems then I would argue that there is a problem with the animal not with the feed. To me if you are trying to breed a heifer to calve at 2 years old, which is a common practice, your heifer will never reach her full potential without feed. The caveat to that is if you have the ideal forage so that you have quality grass and your cows have body condition then that's a different st
ory. Even with that you would likely have to supplement with protein and minerals. By the way from what I have seen with recips the only time that weight hurts fertility is if they are obese...Body Score 9.

This is from University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Thin cows at calving (BCS 4 or thinner) produce less colostrum, give birth to less vigorous calves that are slower to stand and these calves have lower immunoglobulin levels (Table 2, below), thus impairing their ability to overcome early calf-hood disease challenges. This illustrates the importance of targeting mature cows to calve in a BCS of at least 5. Because 1st-calf-heifers have only reached about 85% of their mature weight after calving and require additional nutrients to support growth, they need to be fed so they are a BCS of 6 at calving.
It comes down to selection. I've got cows (Herefords and Simm mostly) that stay fat on grass and air. If they were continuously grain fed, they would have a hard time waddling to the feed bunk. I'm sure Aaron has the same problem, quality Hereford's are notoriously easy keepers.
 

farmguy

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I am just wondering. My cows never see grain and we live in Minnesota, -40F not unheard. How many of you guys feed grain to your cows? My cattle see grain until after weaning and until sold a couple months later for preconditioning. thanks farmguy.
 

Aaron

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ez14.":3o6hxs6s said:
callmefence":3o6hxs6s said:
ez14.":3o6hxs6s said:
I suppose maybe we both jumped to conclusions! And should have asked for more information before trying to answer.

I don't know if they repositioned it or not

Don't really matter. The only thing you do know is the calf was mispositioned and that is most likely what put the heifer in the chute. Once repositioned your going to go head and finish the pull.
That said I don't like to see my heifers on anything but just grass a few months before calving.
yeah but the pull shouldn't have been hard after being repositioned

Depends how much fat inside and how small a pelvic area. Neighbor had a 75 lb angus heifer calf off a angus/jersey 3 year old first timer who weighed about 1450 lbs and fat as a tick. Proper position, but they had to jack it out. :shock:
 

ez14.

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callmefence":3s4xas86 said:
ez14.":3s4xas86 said:
callmefence":3s4xas86 said:
Don't really matter. The only thing you do know is the calf was mispositioned and that is most likely what put the heifer in the chute. Once repositioned your going to go head and finish the pull.
That said I don't like to see my heifers on anything but just grass a few months before calving.
yeah but the pull shouldn't have been hard after being repositioned
Not necessarily. If she's been down awhile and exhausted, lost some dilation etc.
But mainly hard means different things to different folks. To me hard means I had to pull a calf.
true on all accounts!
 

ez14.

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Aaron":2n1txk68 said:
ez14.":2n1txk68 said:
callmefence":2n1txk68 said:
Don't really matter. The only thing you do know is the calf was mispositioned and that is most likely what put the heifer in the chute. Once repositioned your going to go head and finish the pull.
That said I don't like to see my heifers on anything but just grass a few months before calving.
yeah but the pull shouldn't have been hard after being repositioned

Depends how much fat inside and how small a pelvic area. Neighbor had a 75 lb angus heifer calf off a angus/jersey 3 year old first timer who weighed about 1450 lbs and fat as a tick. Proper position, but they had to jack it out. :shock:
shouldn't have been hard! not won't be hard! i wouldn't blame misposition on the heifer or fed (i know thats not exactly what you were getting at)
 
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NonTypicalCPA

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Sorry I can't seem to figure out how to post from my phone. This heifer was only 19 months when she calved, which could have contributed to the mis-presentation. We did reposition the calf and then had to pull. The heifer was exhausted with her eyes rolled back into her head - thought I might loose both of them. Fortunately they both turned out great and that bull calf brought me $2,000 this spring. I just don't want to be doing something that would contribute to another pull. I have very nice pastures with good grass and clover for them. This now cow has never had a problem keeping weight on her, even when nursing her calf last summer. Thanks for all the feedback.
 

ez14.

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NonTypicalCPA":4rvap4ji said:
Sorry I can't seem to figure out how to post from my phone. This heifer was only 19 months when she calved, which could have contributed to the mis-presentation. We did reposition the calf and then had to pull. The heifer was exhausted with her eyes rolled back into her head - thought I might loose both of them. Fortunately they both turned out great and that bull calf brought me $2,000 this spring. I just don't want to be doing something that would contribute to another pull. I have very nice pastures with good grass and clover for them. This now cow has never had a problem keeping weight on her, even when nursing her calf last summer. Thanks for all the feedback.
at that point it's not surprising you had a little trouble! but i wouldn't think the grain had much if anything to do with it
 
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