What age is ideal to breed heifers?

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TennesseeTuxedo

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Thanks, I’m purchasing some registered angus heifers and have never bred first time heifers, only cows.
You could always have you vet take a pelvic measurement on each heifer to make sure they are fully developed. We just go by size and the 15 month rule of thumb.
 

Ky hills

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@TennesseeTuxedo has good suggestions there. 15 months is what I have always thought of as the desired age. and 700-800 lbs as a reliable weight. We also like to pelvic measure at around a year old. We cull anything that doesn't measure at least 150 cm. If we are keeping our heifers and are confident in the calving ease of the bull, then I have sometimes let them get bred a little younger than 15 months,
 

JKCattle

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I agree with Ky Hills with the addition of reproductive tract scoring when pelvic measuring. I’ve culled far more heifers based on tract scores than pelvic measurement.
 

TCRanch

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Yup, going with pelvic measurements (except mine are done at 11 months when they get their BANGS), bred at 15 months, calving at 24. Give or take. 150 minimum score is my goal and I use a high calving ease bull, which doesn't necessarily mean super low birth weight.
 

KAstocker

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I suppose it depends what your goal is. If you're trying to get the most pregnant, wait to calve later. If you want to keep the best and most fertile ones, calve early. The earlier you can get them bred, the more time they will have to get bred for their second calf, which is the most challenging. The most profitable cows are the ones that calve at the beginning of the calving season. It's hard to get cows to move up in the calving season, so the earlier you can get the heifers started, the better.
 
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ksmit454

ksmit454

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Some excellent info here, thank you to all! This will be my first go round with breeding heifers. I am getting them in May, so I’m pretty excited to start the registered side of things (currently have commercial Herefords). I’m in California, how important is the bangs vaccine? I figured if I get the heifers in May, they will be about 12 months old. I’ll have the vet come do a pelvic measurement and talk to her about Bangs vaccine too. I plan on breeding for spring calving too.
 

Hpacres440p

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Some excellent info here, thank you to all! This will be my first go round with breeding heifers. I am getting them in May, so I’m pretty excited to start the registered side of things (currently have commercial Herefords). I’m in California, how important is the bangs vaccine? I figured if I get the heifers in May, they will be about 12 months old. I’ll have the vet come do a pelvic measurement and talk to her about Bangs vaccine too. I plan on breeding for spring calving too.
Bangs is usually done earlier than 12 mo, so you may miss your window for that.
 

KAstocker

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I believe bangs vaccine is regional anymore. Around here, it's not really needed, but probably most people still do it. I do think seedstock people always get bangs in case you sell to a region that needs it. I'd just do whatever your vet recommends.
 

SBMF 2015

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We pelvic measure at 10-11mos. just because their in the chute to get freeze branded at that time. The rule of thumb that I have always used Is 140sqcm at 13 mos old.
We try to calve our hfrs a month earlier than our cows so the hfrs calve at 22-23 mos.
Most people around here don't BANG's vacc. Still a lot of older producers that had a bad experience with the old strain 19 BANG's vacc. They sell feeder cattle and don't see any value in it.
 

TCRanch

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@ksmit454, the following link is a good explanation of pelvic measurements & dyscotia. Work closely with your vet.

1615382673012.png
 

TCRanch

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P.S. last year, one of my heifers scored a whopping 232 pelvic measurement at 11 months. Holy beef baby!!!!
 

Warren Allison

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Some excellent info here, thank you to all! This will be my first go round with breeding heifers. I am getting them in May, so I’m pretty excited to start the registered side of things (currently have commercial Herefords). I’m in California, how important is the bangs vaccine? I figured if I get the heifers in May, they will be about 12 months old. I’ll have the vet come do a pelvic measurement and talk to her about Bangs vaccine too. I plan on breeding for spring calving too.
Brucellosis has been all but eliminated in US domestic cattle. The only place it is found now, is in the western herds of elk and bison, like in Yellowstone. I would imagine those ranchers that graze federal lands, where their cattle may come in contact with wild bison or elk, vaccinate.
 

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