When keeping replacements, what criteria do you look for?

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Jun 8, 2004
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How they grow off is easy to judge, but if that is continued through several generations; your cows will get too much frame. What objective criteria do you guys look for?

I am in the pure bred business so I, of course, look at pedigrees. Personally, I look for a good top line, good depth, clean fronted and big butted females with weight being one thing of many. Where am I going wrong?
All that but i only keep the heifers out of the most fertile cows. What i have found is that by keeping moderately growthy heifers you keep frame steady and increase fertility somewhat b/c in my case the cows that were raising the enormous calves had fertlility problems b/c they milked so heavily they put all their energy into milk and not enough into maintenance.
Just keep the heifers out of your best cows,[like begats like]
Its hard to judge a weanling or yearling if you don't know ma & pa.

We look for all of those things plus feet and legs. Acctually feet and legs comes first, then just kind of general topline, width, depth, length, dispostion, slight drop from hook to pins, width between the pins and the hooks and how she moves. But we only generally keep heifers from specific cows. sometimes a heifer or cow will imporess us enought that we'll take a flywer on her first heifer if she really impresses us. But only those sired by specific bulls. There are a couple of bulls we use strictly for feedlot animals and won't keep a heifer by them. If the family history is unknown we check multigeneration EPDs, bloodlines, height, actual birth and weaning weights, pelvic score if available. Our standard rule is to not keep a heifer that we wouldn't be willing to buy.
Almost forgot, she has to look good to our eye, i.e. eye appeal. WWhen we add a heifer we plan on them being here for a long time, and want something that we enjoy seeing.

redangus":1o12x4vr said:
Personally, I look for a good top line, good depth, clean fronted and big butted females with weight being one thing of many. Where am I going wrong?

Sounds like what I looked for when I chose my wife! ;-) Yeah definitely gotta have nice legs too dun!
I agree with all the above but we put dispostion up close to the top of the list. I don't care how pretty they are, how much they milk or how often they have calves, if they're high headed and a pain in the rear to work - they grow wheels.

Funny.. it seems the more years we spend doing this, our objectives and likes and dislikes seem to change.

Especially with Brahman influenced cattle.. we watch udders, feet and legs and disposition. These traits have a high rait of inheritability, so it's hard to breed it out of progeny over time. (And I'm not going to live forever) Better to start with good basics, and work on some of the less important traits.

With the Simmental cattle we watch frame size and post legged-ness. Like Dun.. we won't keep anything we wouldn't consider buying.

Bloodlines with registered cattle have gotten less and less important to me over the years. I think many times with registered cattle, certain bloodlines are promoted more aggressively than others, which doesn't mean they are the best. You have to be able to take a lot of things into consideration, and make the best choice for what you are trying to achieve.
I think looking at the pedigrees are real important, but what I have noticed in my breed is there are about 20 bulls that really stand out and when checking some of my papers I really have to watch for grandson breeding grandaughters

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