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CAlving time in Canda

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redcattle56
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CAlving time in Canda

Postby redcattle56 » Mon May 09, 2005 8:24 am

When do most Canadians start calving?
Do you follow the same pattern as most Northern US cattlemen ad start end Feb first of March?

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Silver
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Re: CAlving time in Canda

Postby Silver » Mon May 09, 2005 8:56 am

redcattle56 wrote:When do most Canadians start calving?
Do you follow the same pattern as most Northern US cattlemen ad start end Feb first of March?


Our first calves came on Feb 22 this year. We used to calve a month earlier. I think the range of calving dates is no different up here than down there. We have neighbours that start in January, and some that start in may. Depends on the individual, his programme, and his setup. Those of us who calve in Jan and Feb have to use calving barns and utilize calf shelters and good bedding. There is fall calvers here too. But I would say that the majority of calves around here are probably born in march, but Im a long ways north to speak up for most Canadian cattlemen.

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Postby Aaron » Mon May 09, 2005 9:05 am

We used too, but as many other people have now done, we slowly made the transition from calving near the end of January - through February and into March, to March calving, to March-April calving, and now finally April calving. We also reintroduced a fall herd 3 years ago that calves mid-August to mid-September. Our nextdoor neighbours didn't believe in the benefits of spring calving over heavy winter calves, but now have also now decided to move away from February calving and really enjoyed only calving in March this year. We still have 3 left to calve between now and June 13, so we will try to get the stragglers bred early this year and into the April routine next year. We only lost 1 calf (DOA) out of 26 cows so far this spring, whereas we usually lossed 2 or 3 during the earlier calving due to pneumonia and cold temps.

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Postby Shelly » Mon May 09, 2005 9:33 am

We start calving the second week of January and aim to be done by the first week of April. Doesn't usually work that way, there's always a few stragglers. Had the last one come last Saturday. We like to be all done calving before spring field work starts.

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Postby SASH » Mon May 09, 2005 9:44 am

I start usually around the first of April (Bull usually goes out last weekend in June). My brother and Dad don't start calving until the end of May. I also know plenty of guys who calve in January, so I would say there is no set rule, it just depends on your setup and how you want to do things.
"Red meat is NOT bad for you. Now, blue-green meat - THAT'S bad for you!"

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Postby Border rancher » Mon May 09, 2005 9:48 am

Hi, Here in the very southern part of Alberta, some producers with smaller herds calve in January-February. Some of the pure bred guys do too. We, as well as the big ranchs around, don't start until at least mid April. We used to calve earlier, spent a lot of time sorting and confining, dragging half frozen calves into shelter, and counting the losses. Now this Grandma and Grampa, both lame and not too healthy, don't need all that work. We don't sell until the next April and the little ones catch up a bit by then, and bring the most per pound as well. As well we think we probably have 10-20 more to sell as those frozen ones in the drifts don't bring much money. Bye for now! Have the best of days!

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Postby Oldtimer » Mon May 09, 2005 10:49 am

Border rancher- I sure agree with you about making it easier- I usually start March 20th- Usually pretty well finished by the 15th of May with just an occasional straggler after that-- Now have 8 left to go by last count- anything that hasn't calved by the time I move to grass (usually by May 1) is pretty much on her own (except heifers)- only gets checked every few days...Moving the calving back from Feb-March and using low birthweight bulls on everything has made it easier - and as I get older and the kids move away easier sounds better....The grandkids and I are going to head out this afternoon- tag a few calves- stretch a little fence- maybe shoot a few gophers.....Was hoping it would be so muddy that I couldn't- but the rain all missed us.......

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Postby Maple Leaf Angus » Mon May 09, 2005 12:21 pm

I have calved early (in Feb. with lots of cold and snow blowing) and now start late April. The big calves were nice with Feb. calving, but with our Ontario winters and damp, breezy March conditions, I found that the scour/ pneunomia losses were too high.

I am a small producer with 50 -60 cows, especially compared to you guys out west. Even so, it is hardly affordable to have the kind of housing one needs here in Ontario to give good shelter from the elements if the cows calve before spring breakup. One day it can be -15C and the next +5 and damp and rainy. Makes for some real muddy conditions.

There seems to be something so right about a calf being born onto green grass!

I had 2 bulls last year but I didn't like the way the young one turned out, so I let the 4-year- old go to work alone for the first three weeks so he could get a shot at the cows first. Well, he got the job done, because so far we have had 29 calves from him since April 26 when the first one calved!

Made me think of the story of the farmer who turned his 2 bulls out to go to work. The young bull was keen to go and from the barnyard gate said, "I say we run down the hill and breed a few cows!" The old bull took his time and slowly drawled, "I say we walk down the hill and breed them all."

Only hitch we've had is that the heifer/bullcalf ratio is running 3-1!

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Postby Border rancher » Mon May 09, 2005 12:27 pm

Now I have a problem that needs your help. or someone else's help if they can suggest any magic solution.
Last Dec. my husband had an unfirtunate accident was was left with a brain injury. He kept all kinds of records, how to do lists etc. in that brain. Now the info is lost. He didn't write down much and as he always did these things, I have no one to ask. The problem is: Soon it will be time to take the heifer bulls out. When I look in the pen at our 20+ bulls, I don't know which are the heifer bulls. hubby knew that. On some of the papers from the sales, and on some of the pedigrees is written birth wt. ect. and a tag number. Most of the bulls have ;ost their ID tags. Should I run them all through the chute and try to find out who they are by reading their tattoos, or is it safe to just guess and choose 3 with smaller heads, shoulders, joints etc. Please help!

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Postby Northern Rancher » Mon May 09, 2005 1:03 pm

Border I think I'd check them out in the chute to be safe-we just started calving yesterday.

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Postby Silver » Mon May 09, 2005 1:46 pm

Border, in my opinion you better do whatever it takes to get the right bulls with the heifers. If running them through the chute doesn't solve things, I think you'd be better off finding 3 new bulls to do the job. We made a mistake here once about 15 years ago, and Dad and I did 22 c-sections on heifers. One night we did three. Since then we take no chances, it's just not worth it.

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Postby Turkey Track Bar » Tue May 10, 2005 6:56 am

Border rancher wrote:Now I have a problem that needs your help. or someone else's help if they can suggest any magic solution.
Last Dec. my husband had an unfirtunate accident was was left with a brain injury. He kept all kinds of records, how to do lists etc. in that brain. Now the info is lost. He didn't write down much and as he always did these things, I have no one to ask. The problem is: Soon it will be time to take the heifer bulls out. When I look in the pen at our 20+ bulls, I don't know which are the heifer bulls. hubby knew that. On some of the papers from the sales, and on some of the pedigrees is written birth wt. ect. and a tag number. Most of the bulls have ;ost their ID tags. Should I run them all through the chute and try to find out who they are by reading their tattoos, or is it safe to just guess and choose 3 with smaller heads, shoulders, joints etc. Please help!



Border Rancher:

First, I'm sorry for your husband's injury. I admire you for accepting the challenge of keeping the outfit up and going, while he is laid up. We have friends who also faced this challenge-the husband was in a bad horse accident, then in a coma for quite a period of time, then pretty much laid up going through physical and occupation therapy-all in all if I remember correctly he was "out of commission" for well over two years. During this time he wife did an excellent job of keeping their outfit going. I have always admired her for all the challenges she faced and overcame, while raising their two teenaged kids. So, keep your chin up and thanks for having the courage to go this alone!

About the bulls---and these are just my opinions! The most important thing for you to remember is safety on your part!!!! You don't want to be laid up too! Are the bulls easy to handle, and gentle, and do you have some help there or a neighbor who can help you handle these guys? Even the most even tempered, easy to handle bull can be a challenge so please be careful!

I think both Silver and Northern Rancher have it right in what they said:

Silver
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005 1:46 pm Post subject:
Border, in my opinion you better do whatever it takes to get the right bulls with the heifers. If running them through the chute doesn't solve things, I think you'd be better off finding 3 new bulls to do the job. We made a mistake here once about 15 years ago, and Dad and I did 22 c-sections on heifers. One night we did three. Since then we take no chances, it's just not worth it.

Northern Rancher
Posted: Mon May 09, 2005 1:03 pm Post subject:
Border I think I'd check them out in the chute to be safe-we just started calving yesterday.


I would try and read the tattoos of the bulls (please be careful and find some help if you can--they will most like not like their ears messed with and probably the tattoo will be a little hard to read because of dirty ears, etc.)---this will be important for ID--and maybe double tag them or ID brand them for future ID. This might seem like some work now, but will probably save some hassles in the future. I don't know when you plan to turn them out, but while you have them in the chute, you might think about completing animal health tasks too-like pour on, fly tags, preventive vaccinations, semen testing, etc.

Next, after getting a positive ID, either go through their registration papers or ask a good rancher neighbor or their breeder for help in deciding whether they should be with heifers or cows. In my opinion you can have bulls with huge birthweights and small heads, smooth shoulders, etc. and just the opposite. So, it becomes important to try and get everyone paired up the best possible way. Like Silver said, you want to try and prevent a calving wreck now!!!

Without knowing much about your operation, another thought might be to synchronize and AI your heifers-especially if you find you're short of calving ease bulls. This could be possible if you some type of corrals, etc. In cases of "range" operations this probably won't work.

I hope this helps you out some. I don't have all the answers, heck maybe I don't have any of them, but if in your position this is where I would start. Feel free to private message me if you have other questions and I'll try to help.

I hope some positive things come out of this for you--and I think they will. I know your post got my husband and I talking about writing down some of the things he does. He made a very valid comment last night about the little things he does everyday would probably be the toughest to duplicate and get done, and are also the most important. I know in our operation, the toughest thing for me to do without my husband would be running the machinery and farming---I think I can hold my own with the livestock, but am "lost balls in tall weeds" when it comes to farming. Additionally my dad has always been good about keeping good records (running a purebred outfit on public lands will do that to a guy!) and it saved my mom a lot of nightmares when he had colon cancer surgery and was laid up for over six months.

I hope the take home message for other operations in all of this is to write down important stuff---pastures cows and heifers go into, what bulls go where, turn out dates, weaning dates, etc.

Please take care of yourself, and get some help if you need it. I greatly admire what your doing.

Cheers,

TTB


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