Weaning naturally

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Hunter

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We naturally wean or trailer wean unless we are retaining. Our calves are sold at 9-11 months. We did have a couple heifers have their second calf 11 months after the first. We feed them medicated salt and some protein every so often to go with all the grass they can eat. Yes, we have had some whose second calf was 3-6 months late but is that b/c of not weaning or b/c they were heifers?
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Hunter":3o1ud94h said:
We naturally wean or trailer wean unless we are retaining. Our calves are sold at 9-11 months. We did have a couple heifers have their second calf 11 months after the first. We feed them medicated salt and some protein every so often to go with all the grass they can eat. Yes, we have had some whose second calf was 3-6 months late but is that b/c of not weaning or b/c they were heifers?
Not quite sure what you meant. Naturally wean or trailer wean??? If calf is sold at 9 months - it got weaned.
So, natural wean, you mean you leave calf with dam no matter if the calf is sucking at next calving time or not? Do you calve year round?
 

Lucky

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Hunter":tlobzpp1 said:
We calve year around and the calves are never separated from the dams.

This is what I wonder about with the natural weaning groups. I finally went to a 90 day calving season 5-6 years ago and it’s made things so much easier. It had its ups and downs at first but overall is way better than year round calving.
 

Lucky

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True Grit Farms":jecfx0b1 said:
Lucky":jecfx0b1 said:
True Grit Farms":jecfx0b1 said:
I'm all for BQA and doing things supposedly right way. But don't think for a minute that it'll make you anymore more money. I'm not saying that our management is right, but I feel it puts the most money in our pocket per acre. And if you include the time we save by not having to screw with our cows daily, we're money ahead. I pick and choose what I feel is the best management for making money on our cattle and off our property.
I can't keep up with the Jone's, but I've come to realize that's life.

What do you do with the older calves once the new ones are born? Not arguing just curious, everyone has to do what works for them.
The nicer heifers that we sell private treaty are separated and worked to BQA and or sale standards. We feed them a corn - wcs ration daily and they look good, sometimes really good. We've won the best pen of heifers at the GCA sale and topped the sale price a time or two at others. It's easy to raise nice looking cattle all you need to do is feed them. But it's hard to make money feeding heifers, especially when you can buy bred young cows for $700 or less. The rest of the heifers are left out with the cows and bulls to fend for themselves, no extra nothing. I'm not scared for our heifers to calve at 17 - 18 months and 800 - 850lbs. To me it's the way it's supposed to be and makes the most sense. In nature there's no breeding age or supplements, but we do vaccinate every heifer to BQA standards. I know that sounds crazy to some, but I don't want large cows. MOST of the time when a heifer has a calf young she's stunted a little, but her DNA is still the same. Her 1st calf will be small coming and going. But her 2nd calf will be right in line with the herd adverage. If I don't like what I see after the second calf she'll be sold bred, or as a pair depending on which way she brings the most. We normally sell no heifers through the sale barn unless their really ugly or open. Our cows don't look so good anymore and I'm a little embarrassed really. But we're making as much money per head now as when prices were a lot better, with a lot less work. I'm still experimenting and have been for years.

Sounds like you’ve found what works for you. I’m thinking about going heifers instead of yearlings. We’ll see.
 

Hunter

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":puw1jt8q said:
What breed do you have?

Mostly commercial with some full blood angus.

I would like to have a 60-90 day window. But, this is the second round of calves for these mommas and as long as they raise a good calf I'm not getting rid of them if they have their third calf 13 months after the second.

We will re-evaluate the cows after the third calf.
 
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scheff

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Thanks everyone for such good input/opinions/practices... exactly what I was wondering when I posed the question. Of course I expected the “just build better fences” replies, and yeah I’m working on it... but this one calf making his way across a clean cattle guard got me thinking/wondering about those calves and mommas that never get forcibly weaned. Again thanks for the knowledge.
 
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scheff

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Just want to add I especially appreciate the total cost of ownership/profit per acre comments... in that one calf out of 40 or so who refuses to respect the existing fences/cattle guards etc - doesn’t justify a huge investment in time/dollars to keep it separated. I understand all the risks. Again, really appreciate all the replies folks.
 

True Grit Farms

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Hunter":3fyvb6ph said:
Jeanne - Simme Valley":3fyvb6ph said:
What breed do you have?

Mostly commercial with some full blood angus.

I would like to have a 60-90 day window. But, this is the second round of calves for these mommas and as long as they raise a good calf I'm not getting rid of them if they have their third calf 13 months after the second.

We will re-evaluate the cows after the third calf.
You can always hold your bull out for a month or two and things will tighten up. Somehow the cows will tighten their calving up after a few years on their own. The majority of our calves will be born late winter or early spring, a some more in the fall and a couple of stragglers. I feel it's our management or lack thereof and the cows BCS that causes it naturally.
 

Katpau

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There aren't any cows in the wild around here, but I have noticed that cows that don't receive any supplemental hay in winter will tend to lose a lot of weight in late Fall and over the winter. As a result those cows will often dry up and their calves will be weaned before the next calf is born. That is how nature works. I prefer to sell healthy heavy calves in the Fall and provide hay as needed to the cow over winter, so that they are able to calve in good condition in the Spring and get rebred in a short window. If I keep a calf over the winter without providing enough supplemental feed (hay), they will weigh less in the Spring than they weighed off the cow in the Fall. If I left those calves on the cow without feeding, most might be weaned by the time the cow calved, but both the calves and the cows would be in worse shape by Spring. That would mean more calving problems, cows without enough milk to feed her calf and less cows cycling and rebreeding the next year. That is what happens in nature, but I think we can do better. Now it may be very different in Georgia, but it will cost you "dollarwise" here.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Katpau - very well said.
You get out what you put in. As I mentioned, the only cows I can imagine "weaning" their calves would be a cow that ran out of milk, and that usually only happens if they are undernourished.
 

True Grit Farms

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":3qxcr53k said:
Katpau - very well said.
You get out what you put in. As I mentioned, the only cows I can imagine "weaning" their calves would be a cow that ran out of milk, and that usually only happens if they are undernourished.
Is a cow the only animal that won't wean it's young on it's own? Your letting your feelings over rule your brains. A cow is nothing more than a domesticated animal. And believe it or not nature looks after itself "instincts" and will be doing so long after we're gone. Just another good example when common sense is not common.
 

Caustic Burno

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True Grit Farms":2yhobile said:
Jeanne - Simme Valley":2yhobile said:
Katpau - very well said.
You get out what you put in. As I mentioned, the only cows I can imagine "weaning" their calves would be a cow that ran out of milk, and that usually only happens if they are undernourished.
Is a cow the only animal that won't wean it's young on it's own? Your letting your feelings over rule your brains. A cow is nothing more than a domesticated animal. And believe it or not nature looks after itself "instincts" and will be doing so long after we're gone. Just another good example when common sense is not common.


Amen this whole thought process needs an aspirin or medical attention.
Today ten cows produce the beef of 15 in the early 50’s. Going backwards is not profitable or sane.
 

Hunter

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True Grit Farms":2x7q57jr said:
Hunter":2x7q57jr said:
Jeanne - Simme Valley":2x7q57jr said:
What breed do you have?

Mostly commercial with some full blood angus.

I would like to have a 60-90 day window. But, this is the second round of calves for these mommas and as long as they raise a good calf I'm not getting rid of them if they have their third calf 13 months after the second.

We will re-evaluate the cows after the third calf.
You can always hold your bull out for a month or two and things will tighten up. Somehow the cows will tighten their calving up after a few years on their own. The majority of our calves will be born late winter or early spring, a some more in the fall and a couple of stragglers. I feel it's our management or lack thereof and the cows BCS that causes it naturally.

Yes, we could and even though we have enough space we don't have the strong facility yet. The bull would go into a separate field but that hasn't kept him and neighbors bull to the south or the north from tearing down fences. Most of our calves are born in the spring but about 15-20% have moved to Aug-Oct calving.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Not really. Just wondering because some breeds are known to have very little milk - like Club type breeds/mixtures.

Our modern cattle are a long way removed from wild bovine.
I think CB's estimate might be under-exaggerated.
If you have NO input into your cattle, just harvest calves to sell whenever you want cash, then obviously you have no real concern (and don't need to) as to whether your cow is calving every 12 months. You are not looking for maximum performance or even moderate performance. I could never and will never have cattle if that was the only way I could operate. It is an individual choice.
If anyone leaves a sucking calf on a cow up to her calving time, taking the STRONG risk that the newborn will not survive, you would be totally wasting money.
Katpau - you are much more diplomatic than me!!!
 

True Grit Farms

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":362clgyu said:
Not really. Just wondering because some breeds are known to have very little milk - like Club type breeds/mixtures.

Our modern cattle are a long way removed from wild bovine.
I think CB's estimate might be under-exaggerated.
If you have NO input into your cattle, just harvest calves to sell whenever you want cash, then obviously you have no real concern (and don't need to) as to whether your cow is calving every 12 months. You are not looking for maximum performance or even moderate performance. I could never and will never have cattle if that was the only way I could operate. It is an individual choice.
If anyone leaves a sucking calf on a cow up to her calving time, taking the STRONG risk that the newborn will not survive, you would be totally wasting money.
Katpau - you are much more diplomatic than me!!!
Your assuming again. I posted real calving numbers and will post a couple of more. Just because I think a person makes their own luck, but I sure hope that I don't jinx us. Out of 540ish calves born here on our farm only TWO have died. One was eating coffee weed before we knew it could kill them and the other one we have no clue why it died. I've pulled some that died, had still born calves, 1 abortion and cut some calves to pieces to get them out. But any calf that has made it longer than a few hours has survived besides TWO. So far the only negatives that I've seen is lighter weaning weights and the BCS of our cows. Every cow on our place has a calf every 12 months or sooner. I've learned how to halfway palpate and any cow that I feel is open gets a blood test, if she's open she's gone. I make no excuses and accept no excuses for our cattle. I'm fully aware that this is not the way your supposed to raise cattle in the 21st century. But I've always asked why to everything, and have never been afraid to try something that I feel might work. Our hay, fertilizer, feed and meds are averaging around $150 per cow now, and 5 years ago it was over twice as much per cow.
 

Hunter

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":1a5bgmeg said:
Not really. Just wondering because some breeds are known to have very little milk - like Club type breeds/mixtures.

Our modern cattle are a long way removed from wild bovine.
I think CB's estimate might be under-exaggerated.
If you have NO input into your cattle, just harvest calves to sell whenever you want cash, then obviously you have no real concern (and don't need to) as to whether your cow is calving every 12 months. You are not looking for maximum performance or even moderate performance. I could never and will never have cattle if that was the only way I could operate. It is an individual choice.
If anyone leaves a sucking calf on a cow up to her calving time, taking the STRONG risk that the newborn will not survive, you would be totally wasting money.
Katpau - you are much more diplomatic than me!!!

What do you consider moderate performance?
Does one need to sell a cow that calves every 12-14 months?
 

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