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Thinking of "Unregistering" A Few--Advice?

boondocks

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My herd is reg Angus. 17 total, including calves and a couple steers. We have a momma (one of our first 2 cows) that turned up as a possible NH carrier when they first identified it. She was already bred. Heifer calf was born, tested NHC (rats). Rolled the dice again, knowing that AAA registers NHC cows (they just must be tested). Another NHC heifer calf. Rolled the dice again, thinking "gee this is a nice cow, surely we will get a non-carrier heifer (or nice steer). Yup, a third NHC heifer calf. (The first heifer subsequently gave birth to a steer). (Yes, I am starting to wonder if this trait isn't more complex than the basic Punnett square AAA says).

So, I have 3 nice NHC cows/heifers bred to good AI bulls, plus last summer's NHC heifer calf. I am trying to be a responsible breeder, and so far have declined to sell these (even though it's permissible). One guy wanted one and I demurred. But I'm getting tired of getting all NHC in this "family", and thinking of selling all (or all but one), maybe as a family. They are nice cows, very maternal, closed herd, etc. I doubt in this market I would get much of a bump for registered cows with NHC; am contemplating just selling them without registration papers. The test really isn't hard to do, and just costs a few bucks; I'm just getting frustrated with the same results. The contrary view is that if they are kept registered, at least they won't be bred to carrier bulls (or shouldn't be anyway)....
Thoughts?
 

wbvs58

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I would carry on as you are, being NHC doesn't stop them from being good cows. What is your goal? Are you aiming to sell registered bulls? If these cows that are carriers are taking the place of non carriers in your herd then I would thin them out a bit. The carriers are no problem in a commercial herd, most bulls sold from reputable breeders now are NH free so risk in a commercial herd is negligible.

Half of my herd is based from a very good cow that I bought knowing she was AMC, her 1st calf a heifer was free, her 2nd calf a heifer was AMC which I kept for a couple of calves the 1st was a heifer that was free, these have gone on now to produce a string of heifers. I still have the original cow but she will be going in a couple of weeks, her last 4 calves have been free and I don't like the chance of her having another one that tests free besides I have more than enough of her derivatives in the herd. Be patient between her and her heifers you will get plenty of clean replacements.

Ken
 

bse

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I have one DD cow kept one heifer out of her that's DD there recipes, if I wasn't putting embryos in they would have to go. I don't like the hassle. I take mine to a broker, I tell him they need to be on the Monday truck(slaughter) don't want anyone winding up with my problems. Through all the defects that's the only one I've ever had, after the new one comes out could change my way of thinking.
 

Fire Sweep Ranch

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We have one cow, positive for NH. She has had 3 calves tested, two positive (bull that we steered and are raising for the freezer, and ).
She just calved another heifer last week, and she will be tested as well. You have the right idea, better to know than guess. We sold the other heifer as a bred, and the buyer knew she was a carrier. Full disclosure is ask you need to worry about.
 

Rafter S

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According to the information sheet from the Angus Association, if a calf is an NHC Carrier then both parents are also. Have you thought about trying a different bull, or is that information incorrect?
 

bse

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That is incorrect, they can pass the gene, but for the condition to show up it takes both parents.
 

Rafter S

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bse":175iydzo said:
That is incorrect, they can pass the gene, but for the condition to show up it takes both parents.

You're right. Apparently my reading comprehension skills aren't what they should be this morning.
 

SPH

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Hope I don't offend anyone by expressing the view that I am about to say... Why aren't you culling this defect out of your herd, especially when the progeny is also testing positive for it too? Especially if you are selling any kind of seedstock off your farm, I get that you aren't selling those that tested positive and I'm glad you are taking a hard stance on that but why would you want to keep replicating this gene within your own herd by keeping the females? I get that you say they are good cows but would you keep a bull that tested positive for a defect? It's kind of like saying you're OK with keeping animals that carry a defect such as Hypotrichosis because you need the other animal you mate it with to be a carrier also in order for the defect to show up so you'll just be careful when you make breeding decisions. You're going to keep replicating the defect in herd if you keep any females that have it so the only way to really manage it without getting rid of your cows that tested positive for it would be to not retain any progeny by them and only use them for terminal calves. To me a better cow is one that tested free of defects, it may hurt to cull cows that are productive but you'll benefit more in the long term by riding yourself of this problem.

I'd be more worried about pinpointing where you are getting the defect trait from and making sure you don't continue to replicate it within your own herd. This is why I am glad breed associations are moving to requiring more DNA testing in order to register cattle. AHA requires it of any bull you want to register calves sired by and many guys now are just doing it on any bull they sell regardless if they are going to commercial herds because it's a great tool to have that you can guarantee up front that the bull a guy is buying from you is already tested free of defects. I believe that donor dams also have to be DNA tested in order to receive ET certification which is another good thing IMO too. In a herd of 17 females and at least 3 are known defect carriers that is 18% of your herd. The problem is not with the testing and the results you are getting and whether or not to register them is the solution. The problem is that the trait exists in your herd and the solution should be taking the necessary steps to rid yourself of the undesirable trait which probably includes doing some more testing within your herd if you say you have a closed herd.
 

True Grit Farms

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SPH":jsvgs5gu said:
Hope I don't offend anyone by expressing the view that I am about to say... Why aren't you culling this defect out of your herd, especially when the progeny is also testing positive for it too? Especially if you are selling any kind of seedstock off your farm, I get that you aren't selling those that tested positive and I'm glad you are taking a hard stance on that but why would you want to keep replicating this gene within your own herd by keeping the females? I get that you say they are good cows but would you keep a bull that tested positive for a defect? It's kind of like saying you're OK with keeping animals that carry a defect such as Hypotrichosis because you need the other animal you mate it with to be a carrier also in order for the defect to show up so you'll just be careful when you make breeding decisions. You're going to keep replicating the defect in herd if you keep any females that have it so the only way to really manage it without getting rid of your cows that tested positive for it would be to not retain any progeny by them and only use them for terminal calves. To me a better cow is one that tested free of defects, it may hurt to cull cows that are productive but you'll benefit more in the long term by riding yourself of this problem.

I'd be more worried about pinpointing where you are getting the defect trait from and making sure you don't continue to replicate it within your own herd. This is why I am glad breed associations are moving to requiring more DNA testing in order to register cattle. AHA requires it of any bull you want to register calves sired by and many guys now are just doing it on any bull they sell regardless if they are going to commercial herds because it's a great tool to have that you can guarantee up front that the bull a guy is buying from you is already tested free of defects. I believe that donor dams also have to be DNA tested in order to receive ET certification which is another good thing IMO too. In a herd of 17 females and at least 3 are known defect carriers that is 18% of your herd. The problem is not with the testing and the results you are getting and whether or not to register them is the solution. The problem is that the trait exists in your herd and the solution should be taking the necessary steps to rid yourself of the undesirable trait which probably includes doing some more testing within your herd if you say you have a closed herd.

Excellent post, I've been wondering the same thing myself. Selling seed stock is a whole different game from the commercial cattlemen, and as such there's a responsibility that comes with it. IMO How can quality breeding stock have a defect?
 

SPH

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True Grit Farms":2bl7gk7y said:
Excellent post, I've been wondering the same thing myself. Selling seed stock is a whole different game from the commercial cattlemen, and as such there's a responsibility that comes with it. IMO How can quality breeding stock have a defect?

Thanks, that was just the first thing that came to mind as soon as I read this scenario. To me not reproducing more carriers of genetic defects is way more important than what kind of cow or bull that animal is regardless what kind of program you are running. Those defects are going to reek havoc eventually if you don't cull them once they are identified you'll have to deal with them at some point in your own herd. Plus the last thing a seedstock guy wants is an angry customer you sold a bull or female to that had one of these undesirable defects pop up plus something like that can also do more damage to your reputation as a seller than the damage it may do by culling the problem in the first place. It's a heck of a lot easier just to bite the bullet and rid yourself of the defect when it is found than to attempt to "manage" it, even if that sets you back a little then you still are going to benefit more long term by doing the right thing.
 

Nesikep

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There ought to be a 50% statistical chance that the calf from your cow is a carrier if bred to a non carrier bull.. It sounds like you're just unlucky.
If bred to a carrier bull, it would be a 25% non carrier, 50% carrier, and 25% affected

A carrier animal can produce non carrier offspring, so if the cow is great otherwise, why not try and get some good animals from her.. As long as you're DNA testing and honest about it all, I don't see a problem with it. I wouldn't sell any bulls that tested carrier positive though, and in the long run I'd definitely be selecting against the trait
 

True Grit Farms

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Nesikep":g5e2gj5m said:
There ought to be a 50% statistical chance that the calf from your cow is a carrier if bred to a non carrier bull.. It sounds like you're just unlucky.
If bred to a carrier bull, it would be a 25% non carrier, 50% carrier, and 25% affected

A carrier animal can produce non carrier offspring, so if the cow is great otherwise, why not try and get some good animals from her.. As long as you're DNA testing and honest about it all, I don't see a problem with it. I wouldn't sell any bulls that tested carrier positive though, and in the long run I'd definitely be selecting against the trait

With that criteria the defect will never get cleared up. If you cut the head off of every animal that's a carrier the defect could disappear in one generation. It won't happen but it's possible.
 

Nesikep

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True Grit Farms":183x3lwm said:
Nesikep":183x3lwm said:
There ought to be a 50% statistical chance that the calf from your cow is a carrier if bred to a non carrier bull.. It sounds like you're just unlucky.
If bred to a carrier bull, it would be a 25% non carrier, 50% carrier, and 25% affected

A carrier animal can produce non carrier offspring, so if the cow is great otherwise, why not try and get some good animals from her.. As long as you're DNA testing and honest about it all, I don't see a problem with it. I wouldn't sell any bulls that tested carrier positive though, and in the long run I'd definitely be selecting against the trait

With that criteria the defect will never get cleared up. If you cut the head off of every animal that's a carrier the defect could disappear in one generation. It won't happen but it's possible.

If you paid $4k for a cow that turns out to be a carrier, I don't think you're going to just go and butcher her.. Perhaps you should do it with daughters that test positive unless you want to keep testing forever.. and really, what's the point of testing if you're keeping them anyhow?

How do these defects get spread so far and wide? It's not because of a carrier cow, it's because of a carrier bull, especially those popular ones in semen catalogs
 

wbvs58

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Nesikep":tqp3mlqx said:
There ought to be a 50% statistical chance that the calf from your cow is a carrier if bred to a non carrier bull.. It sounds like you're just unlucky.
If bred to a carrier bull, it would be a 25% non carrier, 50% carrier, and 25% affected

A carrier animal can produce non carrier offspring, so if the cow is great otherwise, why not try and get some good animals from her.. As long as you're DNA testing and honest about it all, I don't see a problem with it. I wouldn't sell any bulls that tested carrier positive though, and in the long run I'd definitely be selecting against the trait

Where's the like button for Nesi's post. You obviously have a good understanding of recessive genetic conditions Nesi.

SPH and his followers obviously haven't got a clue. Testing is the key to managing recessive conditions and knowing what you have. Ruthless culling is not necessary, you can still make good use of cows of high genetic value by testing the offspring and manouvering away from the condition by only selecting heifers that are clean or you may need to use some carrier heifers for a couple of years to produce the clean offspring but if the cow is of high genetic merit it is worth the effort. You then come along behind and cull your carriers, you'd be surprised at how quickly things clean up.

This strategy has been demonstrated with the last Angus genetic condition DD, in Australia at least seedstock producers were not as quick to cull for DD as with the earlier conditions but rather live with it, they mainly just kept free heifers from carrier cows but the carriers were rapidly replaced and culled for age and now it is rare to see any DDC.

Ken
 

SPH

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wbvs58":1f2lh66y said:
Nesikep":1f2lh66y said:
There ought to be a 50% statistical chance that the calf from your cow is a carrier if bred to a non carrier bull.. It sounds like you're just unlucky.
If bred to a carrier bull, it would be a 25% non carrier, 50% carrier, and 25% affected

A carrier animal can produce non carrier offspring, so if the cow is great otherwise, why not try and get some good animals from her.. As long as you're DNA testing and honest about it all, I don't see a problem with it. I wouldn't sell any bulls that tested carrier positive though, and in the long run I'd definitely be selecting against the trait

Where's the like button for Nesi's post. You obviously have a good understanding of recessive genetic conditions Nesi.

SPH and his followers obviously haven't got a clue. Testing is the key to managing recessive conditions and knowing what you have. Ruthless culling is not necessary, you can still make good use of cows of high genetic value by testing the offspring and manouvering away from the condition by only selecting heifers that are clean or you may need to use some carrier heifers for a couple of years to produce the clean offspring but if the cow is of high genetic merit it is worth the effort. You then come along behind and cull your carriers, you'd be surprised at how quickly things clean up.

This strategy has been demonstrated with the last Angus genetic condition DD, in Australia at least seedstock producers were not as quick to cull for DD as with the earlier conditions but rather live with it, they mainly just kept free heifers from carrier cows but the carriers were rapidly replaced and culled for age and now it is rare to see any DDC.

Ken

You are entitled to your opinion but as a seedstock breeder we sure as heck don't want the reputation of having a herd with known genetics defects let alone selling animals that are carriers as that is bad for business. So say what you want but I don't find that to be "clueless" at all to have the mindset and management practice that if a known defect was detected in an animal in our herd we would just "manage" a recessive genetic defect gene. Culling it out would be the responsible thing to do to prevent it from replicating and potentially introducing it into it to someone else's herd if you sold an animal that was a carrier. Now if the guy above decides that the females he has tested positive for the defect that he won't retain any females by her and all her calves will be terminal calves that is perfectly fine if that is how he chooses to manage the defect as it is not allowing it to replicate nor leave his farm. Unfortunately some guys aren't as honest as that though and choosing not to register a purebred in order to avoid testing for defects is like turning a blind eye on a problem you know exists. Just because you are choosing to ignore it doesn't mean the problem goes away.

Nesikep: If we bought a $4000 cow from a reputable breeder (which as a purebred breeder that's the only way we would even buy a female not raised by us) and she tested positive for a genetic defect you would bet not only would we cull her but we'd be going back to that breeder to let them know we expect compensation for selling us an animal that is a carrier of a genetic defect. Yeah it would suck to spend that much on a cow you get no use out of but considering the costs and damage you could do to your own program and potentially others if you keep passing the defect onto future generations that is something you would just have to chalk up as a bad purchase and move on. Most reputable breeders would likely make good on their sale and either replace her with a comparable animal or refund you but I bet most would want to know about a defect so they could do some more testing in their own herd so they can identify the carriers and don't continue to replicate it and sell animals that are carriers. I know we would do the same if we had sold one that later was tested positive as a carrier. We DNA test all our sale bulls and we wouldn't think twice about sending one to slaughter no matter how good he might be if he came back as a known carrier of a defect because it would essentially make him impossible to sell. We'd probably have his dam tested too and start the process of identifying where he got the defect from as we would already know that his sire would be free of defects since he would have already been DNA tested in order to register a calf sired by him.

I can't speak for what other breeds have in place but I know that the AHA has a standard set of terms and conditions that most sales and breeders abide by which can be found here: http://hereford.org/node/319 If you scroll down the page you will find a section specifically about genetic defects. While there is some room for interpretation most reputable breeders will guarantee their seedstock free of genetic defects and mostly likely have already DNA tested them for them prior to sale, bulls especially have come under the most scrutiny for this as they are required to be DNA tested now in order to register calves out of them.

If someone believes that "managing" genetic defects vs removing them from your program is fine then by all means you have the right to make your own choices regarding that as it is a free world for you to do so. If you are just raising terminal cattle it probably won't matter but if you are selling seedstock that is a dangerous approach to take unless you are testing every single animal on your farm in order to be confident that you are not selling a carrier to someone. That's our stance on that, you can choose to disagree with it but I have a feeling that a lot of guys would rather do business with someone who is proactive about testing for defects and has an established reputation for doing things the right and honest way than someone who is OK with having those traits in their program and doesn't show much concern for them.
 

wbvs58

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Well no wonder you don't know anything about managing genetic conditions SPH, you are a Hereford breeder and have not had 1st hand experience with dealing with recessive genetic conditions. I think the Angus societies around the world have done a very good job in dealing with a string of genetic conditions. Along with the researchers they have been quick to establish a practical DNA test for each condition that comes along to allow the industry to identify any carriers that from their pedigree suggest that they may have a %age chance of being a carrier. There is no blanket DNA test to screen an animal for genetic conditions, you have to ask for each test individually and is unnecessary if the pedigree is clear of carriers. It must be very expensive for you to test all your bulls individually for every condition known to mankind before you sell them. I can understand getting parent verification done and maybe the Zoetis 50K to help with accuracy of EBV's but to my knowledge there is no blanket test for genetic conditions. The hysteria you show for genetic conditions is typical of someone that knows little about it. None of us like the prospect of these genetic conditions but it is a fact of life and I am sure there will be more in the future, my herd of registered Angus would be every bit as clean as your herd of Herefords but none of us know what is around the corner and with the experience and knowledge I have of dealing with the ones that have occurred to date in the Angus breed I would not be overly concerned if another cropped up tomorrow, I can deal with it.

As far as your $4000 cow goes if it was an Angus you would be foolish not to have looked her up on the AA website where it would clearly show whether she was a carrier or had a %age chance of being a carrier so if you went ahead with the purchase it would be knowing the fact. If you made a purchase of a cow and the next day it was announced that a new genetic condition was discovered and that cow ended up testing +ve then you the purchaser would have to bare the loss as the deal was done before the condition was known. This has occurred to many of us and we have managed it without any great loss financially or to our reputation and have still ended with a clean herd at the end of the day. Bulls are a different kettle of fish and I know a couple of people that purchased bulls in the $50,000 bracket a couple of weeks before DD was announced and they came up DDC. Bulls need to come out of the system immediately so these bulls were relegated to purely commercial use.

Scaremongering with the hysteria that the likes of you create is not helpfull to the industry. Working through a situation with knowledge and modern science is what gets the results.

Ken
 

Nesikep

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I think EVERYBODY agrees you should strive to eliminate all defects... the question is how quickly? I absolutely am against dishonesty, and I think if there is a defect that is possible in the bloodline it should be tested for... Selling a carrier heifer unregistered at the sale barn is also dishonest, since she is probably a fine animal and WILL end up in someones herd.

Now lets say some new recessive defect comes along? Lets say you AI'd the majority of your herd for a couple years to the bull that originated the defect before the defect was discovered.. Of course since he's a fancy sire you've sold his heifers and his bulls, and now people are bashing down your door wanting a refund.. you'd be flat broke, you probably wouldn't get squat in compensation yourself either.

The defect is only relevant if both parents are carriers... Be honest, test, and let the buyer make the choice... especially with females... Bulls that TEST positive ought to be steered.
 

boondocks

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Good discussion, for the most part. But I'm a bit taken aback at how quickly a few folks jumped to conclusions. To recap: I know EXACTLY which animals in our herd are carriers. The herd is ALL REGISTERED. Keep in mind that in the Angus book, they TELL you if you have a potential carrier you need to test.(If so, and you don't test, you can't register). So it's not a matter of "at least X number" are carriers--no; we know exactly who is, and who isn't. (And one or two of you are confusing affected animals and carrier animals).
Since purchasing our initial 2 cows, they (and their progeny) have been AI'd (to non-carriers from SS), so it's not a matter of continuing to breed to a carrier bull. (Hey, I may be fairly new at this but I'm not an idiot). (It goes back to a sire from the 1970's, several generations back in the mama's line). As someone points out, we have had bad luck; if my stats memory serves, we had a 1/64 chance of getting 3 carrier females in a row (1/4 x 1/4 x1/4: each mating had a one in four chance of producing a female carrier). Ken has identified what happened here exactly: we had just bought (and bred) her when the defect/test was first identified. She was one of two cows we started with, so it's not like we were in a mood to chuck her, especially given we had a 3 in 4 chance of getting either a "steer" or a non-carrier female.(Keep in mind she is a carrier, not an affected cow; if bred to a noncarrier, she will NEVER have an affected calf). Each time we have bred her, we have had the same 3 in 4 chance of getting either a "steer" or a non-carrier female. So yeah, just really bad luck. I have enough genetics background to know that if we start culling for every defect as they get discovered, we will soon be out of cows. There ain't a creature born that doesn't have genetic "defects" folks. It's just a matter of how much we've learned about any given genetic variant.
Obviously, I would fully disclose the status if I sold any of these; if I did, I would probably rather see them go to a commercial herd. We've gotten only one male from this family, and he was steered on the spot (as would be any others).
Anybody but SPH think I should just butcher them all? At a minimum, I'm thinking that's what we'll do with any new female carriers going forward.Wish ET had a better conception rate. Would have a few good recips.
 

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