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When to turn the bull in

marksmu

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So, I'm new at this, Ive posted several questions, and here comes another....We finally found a bull that we were satisfied with after a very long search. We did not want to wait to get the bull so we bought it this past week. We have 20 cows, all but one with calves currently. About half are large enough to wean, and the other half need about another 1.5 months.

Here is my question - I have long planned on synchronizing my calves and running a heavy cull operation - getting rid of every cow that I cant get pregnant in a 60 day window. My original plan was for spring Calves, b/c I know I have all kinds of spring green up. However, I'm located in Southeast Texas, and I have obviously missed my target date for getting these cows pregnant. So the question is what to do at this point? My vet tells me that even though my cows are conditioned fairly that well b/c of the heat and the drought, its unlikely that many of them will get pregnant at this time of year, and I definitely dont want to have all my cows calving at all different times, and I do not want to run 2 different herds once I have weaned everyone. All of my cattle are Brangus.

Does anyone have any good experience with getting their cows prego during the hot summer heat? I just had the bull tested, and he tested exceptional on his sperm motility, and counts and it was done in the heat....the vet mentioned that the sperm in this heat all gets close to worthless....but the test did not show that...any input there?

My vet has suggested selling my calves, pulling the bull off the herd (he has been in for 5 days) and then breeding the cows back in the winter to give me a fall calf, and then taking the money made off the calves sold and buying some bred cows with similar calving dates as mine to get my herd all back on the same schedule. At this point Grass is not a problem on any of my fields, its more of a fencing problem because of contractors.

What would any of you do? I hate to get rid of any of my calves, because they all look great right now, but I currently only have 2 fields that I can really run them in b/c I have contractors constantly in and out of 2 other fields while they are building a DU pond and I cant guarantee that they will keep gates closed etc.

Im open to all suggestions.
 

HOSS

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I would leave the bull in. I have never had any trouble with the bull breeding in the heat here in Tennessee and it regularly gets in the upper 90's in the summer. I would think that Brangus would have no problems in Texas. With twenty cows to breed you will probably start calving at the end of april and through May. What you can do, depending on the age of the bull, is take 5 cows and give a shot of Lutalyse....wait 4 or 5 days and repeat until all of your cows are done. You will have them all in heat within a 30 day time frame and that will tighten your calving window this spring. Don't give the lutalyse to too many cows at once as he will not be able to keep up. If he is under 2 years old I would not do this. Feed him good while he is working. I am sure others will have differing opinions but I would have a hard time justifying those cows being open until winter and non-productive for more than a year and all the while maintaining a bull. You can try to move up the timing of the calving season incrementally each spring / summer until you are able to put the bull in around may or early june. JMHO
 

LoveMoo11

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I'd get him in as soon as you can-it would have been ideal to get him in before your target date (but obv. you know that) but now you are just losing money every day those cows are open. Just make sure you don't have heifer calves in there that are old enough to get bred.
 

marksmu

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The bull is in with the cows now....Just turned him in Last Friday, so he is on day 7 today. If he were able to impregnate the cows, we would have young Calves about this time in March, if my math is correct. April May would have been alot better, but I guess Im stuck with what Im stuck with.

I guess it will just be very difficult to get calves earlier at this point, and in the future...I agree its just plain waste to keep those cows open until the winter to get back on track, I just really dont want to get rid of the cows that dont get bred at this point just because the vet may be right about the heat, but at the same time I dont want to run two different herds on different birthing schedules....

Nobody has had any real issues with not being able to get pregnant in the hot summer months? I tried to read up on this, and there was some reading about heat causing infertility in cows but the percents that I was reading about were pretty low in the 5-15% ranges, as opposed to what the vet was claiming, 50-60% not getting bred because of the heat. The vet has been doing this locally here for 30+ years, so I am having a hard time just ignoring his advice, but he also says several other things I do not necessarily agree with as well, but thats just from a how to make more money standpoint, not necessarily on the cattles health.
 

HOSS

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If your bull went in with the cows on July 10th and was able to impregnate cows on that day you would have your first calf around April 18th 2010. See the link below for a cattle gestation table. That is why I figured calving would be end of April and thru May.

http://www.cattletoday.com/gestation.shtml
 

farmwriter

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I was about to post the gestation table, but Hoss beat me to it.
Are you making any notes of who your bull is following/breeding? Nice to see if they caught the first time he was after them or not and you can use the birthdates next year to compare to your notes and see how your cows (or bull) did. Might also want to make similar notes next year to have a good idea of how long after calving it took for your cows to cycle. Just a thought.
Best wishes!
 

marksmu

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I have not been taking notes...Unfortunately I do not live on our ranch (wife wants the big city lights) so I only get to make it out there 2x a week, so I would miss alot....

However, the bull was a show bull and had not been around any other cows his whole life...when we unloaded him, I got the whole herd into one place with some cubes and then took him off the lead. He immediately went to sniffing. About 30 minutes later and having sniffed the whole herd he was following the only cow that we have who lost her calve to pneumonia. She may or may not have been in heat, but he was interested...tried mounting her several times, but she would have nothing to do with it.

Came back the next day and he was still glued to her side. Then this Wednesday, he was done with her and following several. He may need a week or two to adjust to the large number of women to which he is not accustomed...I dont know...all I know is that he wants on em, and he wants on em bad.
 

3waycross

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Sounds like he is doing his job and if his sperm count is that good you should be fine. I would be surprised if you end up with more than a 45 day calving season. You probably want to have them all pregchecked in about 90 days and cull the open ones then like they told you look for replacements that are bred to calve in your expected window.

You don't say how old the bull is but if he is at least 2 he should take care of 20 cows no problem. Is he also Brangus
 

marksmu

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He is a registered Brangus bull...he is 21 months old....The vet who inspected him, said he was ready to be turned out but that the heiffers may not cycle because of the heat. This is my first bull so I guess we will see. This weekend he discovered the neighbors bull on the other side of the fence. I may end up having to electrify that fence, as both bulls were butting heads a bit through the barb wire. I tried driving my gator between them to separate them, but he would get out of the way and go back to head butting. Im still finishing up fence from the hurricane...I dont want to start repairing brand new fence yet. They eventually quit - and neither have any horns I just worry bout it cause I am not there but twice a week.

My neighbor will surely let me know though.
 

novaman

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marksmu":3fz0vkaw said:
He is a registered Brangus bull...he is 21 months old....The vet who inspected him, said he was ready to be turned out but that the heiffers may not cycle because of the heat. This is my first bull so I guess we will see. This weekend he discovered the neighbors bull on the other side of the fence. I may end up having to electrify that fence, as both bulls were butting heads a bit through the barb wire. I tried driving my gator between them to separate them, but he would get out of the way and go back to head butting. Im still finishing up fence from the hurricane...I dont want to start repairing brand new fence yet. They eventually quit - and neither have any horns I just worry bout it cause I am not there but twice a week.

My neighbor will surely let me know though.
This is a terrible idea. Never ever interfer with cattle that are fighting as they aren't paying any attention to you and you are very likely to get caught in the middle. I would put up an electric fence to keep everybody where they should be. I'm not sure what kind of heat we are talking in your area but I've never seen cows/heifers not cycle because of the heat. The conception rates will drop off considerably but they will get bred.
 

HOSS

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marksmu":1l3o0687 said:
He is a registered Brangus bull...he is 21 months old....The vet who inspected him, said he was ready to be turned out but that the heiffers may not cycle because of the heat. This is my first bull so I guess we will see. This weekend he discovered the neighbors bull on the other side of the fence. I may end up having to electrify that fence, as both bulls were butting heads a bit through the barb wire. I tried driving my gator between them to separate them, but he would get out of the way and go back to head butting. Im still finishing up fence from the hurricane...I dont want to start repairing brand new fence yet. They eventually quit - and neither have any horns I just worry bout it cause I am not there but twice a week.

My neighbor will surely let me know though.

Trying to break up two fighting bulls with anything less than a sherman tank is a bad idea. Your gator to those bulls is the equivalent of a matchbox car to a human. I have seen a bull turn over an international scout that was trying to separate him from another bull he was fighting with. You could get seriously hurt or killed. I would put at least two strands of hot wire between you and your neighbor. If they do get together let them fight and repair the damage later. They will sort it out themselves.....no sense in you getting hurt. Most bulls will respect the hotwire as neither one really wants to fight the other and the hotwire will allow them to blow off steam on their own side of the fence but still allows them to feel like they have done something to impress the ladies.
 

talldog

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HOSS":2s25fmje said:
marksmu":2s25fmje said:
He is a registered Brangus bull...he is 21 months old....The vet who inspected him, said he was ready to be turned out but that the heiffers may not cycle because of the heat. This is my first bull so I guess we will see. This weekend he discovered the neighbors bull on the other side of the fence. I may end up having to electrify that fence, as both bulls were butting heads a bit through the barb wire. I tried driving my gator between them to separate them, but he would get out of the way and go back to head butting. Im still finishing up fence from the hurricane...I dont want to start repairing brand new fence yet. They eventually quit - and neither have any horns I just worry bout it cause I am not there but twice a week.

My neighbor will surely let me know though.

Trying to break up two fighting bulls with anything less than a sherman tank is a bad idea. Your gator to those bulls is the equivalent of a matchbox car to a human. I have seen a bull turn over an international scout that was trying to separate him from another bull he was fighting with. You could get seriously hurt or killed. I would put at least two strands of hot wire between you and your neighbor. If they do get together let them fight and repair the damage later. They will sort it out themselves.....no sense in you getting hurt. Most bulls will respect the hotwire as neither one really wants to fight the other and the hotwire will allow them to blow off steam on their own side of the fence but still allows them to feel like they have done something to impress the ladies.
Great Advice !!
 

Jon Loy

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well i just put my cows with a bull bout the 20th so i hope its all ok
 

SRBeef

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I would use the 5" standoffs on both sides of the fence rather than just wire in line with the fence. This creates a bit more buffer space. And a very hot charge maybe 6 joule. I had a similar situation last year - two bulls on opposite sides of a barb wire fence. The barb wire was not really even a factor in keeping them apart. It takes teo hot electric wires at nose height, one on each side of the fence. jmho. Good luck. Jim
 

edrsimms

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marksmu":1scs3pal said:
So, I'm new at this, Ive posted several questions, and here comes another....We finally found a bull that we were satisfied with after a very long search. We did not want to wait to get the bull so we bought it this past week. We have 20 cows, all but one with calves currently. About half are large enough to wean, and the other half need about another 1.5 months.

Here is my question - I have long planned on synchronizing my calves and running a heavy cull operation - getting rid of every cow that I cant get pregnant in a 60 day window. My original plan was for spring Calves, b/c I know I have all kinds of spring green up. However, I'm located in Southeast Texas, and I have obviously missed my target date for getting these cows pregnant. So the question is what to do at this point? My vet tells me that even though my cows are conditioned fairly that well b/c of the heat and the drought, its unlikely that many of them will get pregnant at this time of year, and I definitely dont want to have all my cows calving at all different times, and I do not want to run 2 different herds once I have weaned everyone. All of my cattle are Brangus.

First of all, do all your future calves a favor and do not breed for summer calves in SE Texas. Instead breed them for a time when it is the coolest, like Dec/Jan when conception rates will be the highest. Another good reason to do this is because if you are keeping bull calves, most people want to buy breeding ready bulls in the fall (NOT spring or summer). If it was me, I would use all AI and forego the Natural service scenario. As a small breeder you need to be doing everything better than everyone else and I have serious doubt you can do it with a local natural service sire. Wean all those calves now and put those cows on some poor pasture, so they dont get too fat before xmas.

October/November calving / weaning in May. Put you calves on your best grass/ millet and your brood cows on the worst (as their nutritional requirement is the lowest all year post-weaning) Let those mama cows coast thru summer under a shade tree, since you bought black cattle.

I can't imagine why anyone in SE Texas would want to have black cattle in that extreme heat and humidity-- you should go down to the pasture next summer in insulated black coveralls and spend a few hot days and nights with them. Don't take any gatorade with you tho-- just water. Red anything would have been a better choice (Ya see any black cattle on the King Ranch? Ever wonder why they chose red? Must have something to do with the Heat--perhaps)


Does anyone have any good experience with getting their cows prego during the hot summer heat? I just had the bull tested, and he tested exceptional on his sperm motility, and counts and it was done in the heat....the vet mentioned that the sperm in this heat all gets close to worthless....but the test did not show that...any input there?

Motility doesnt mean a whole lot unless we are talking progressive motility, but at any rate --during the hot summer months it will be minimal. The vet brings out his 200 dollar scope and takes a sample using "the bullet" puts the sample under the scope and says yeah they are moving! Ya know it does depend on HOW they are moving --- if they are moving in circles this in non-progressive and will not reach any egg in time for fertilization-- ever. Just don't breed in the Summer. Give this guy a break.

My vet has suggested selling my calves, pulling the bull off the herd (he has been in for 5 days) and then breeding the cows back in the winter to give me a fall calf, and then taking the money made off the calves sold and buying some bred cows with similar calving dates as mine to get my herd all back on the same schedule. At this point Grass is not a problem on any of my fields, its more of a fencing problem because of contractors.

What would any of you do? I hate to get rid of any of my calves, because they all look great right now, but I currently only have 2 fields that I can really run them in b/c I have contractors constantly in and out of 2 other fields while they are building a DU pond and I cant guarantee that they will keep gates closed etc.

Im open to all suggestions.
 

msscamp

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marksmu":qm69lgsr said:
We finally found a bull that we were satisfied with after a very long search. We did not want to wait to get the bull so we bought it this past week. We have 20 cows, all but one with calves currently. About half are large enough to wean, and the other half need about another 1.5 months.

Here is my question - I have long planned on synchronizing my calves and running a heavy cull operation - getting rid of every cow that I cant get pregnant in a 60 day window. My original plan was for spring Calves, b/c I know I have all kinds of spring green up. However, I'm located in Southeast Texas, and I have obviously missed my target date for getting these cows pregnant. So the question is what to do at this point?

Obviously the decision is your's, but I believe I would bite the bullet and go with what works the best for me in my particular area - even if that meant I had to carry the cows for a few months. Reason being is that it is going to be hard to syncronize them for a set 60 day breeding period to calve in the spring if you turn the bull in now. The vast majority of your cows have calves at their side, so this would be a good time to get them on the schedule you want because you have cash flow coming in from the calves.

My vet tells me that even though my cows are conditioned fairly that well b/c of the heat and the drought, its unlikely that many of them will get pregnant at this time of year, and I definitely dont want to have all my cows calving at all different times, and I do not want to run 2 different herds once I have weaned everyone. All of my cattle are Brangus.

We always calved in the spring - mid February on the ranch, mid March after we sold it - so we turned the bull in mid May to mid June and left him with the cows for 60 days. We never had a problem with them settling in the heat. I realize that our humidity is nothing like yours, but Brangus should be able to handle the heat and humidity.
 
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