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Shrink on calves

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 11:21 am
by Faster horses
Friend hauled heifer calves 150 miles to a sale barn. The calves were weighed at home, hauled one day, held another day and sold the third day. Calves shrunk 2%. We thought that was awful good. He did feed the calves hay the night before when they were still on the cows, and we all thought that helped. Calves don't know how to eat hay, really, but they sure learn fast when their mothers show them. As a consequence, they most likely ate better in the pens at the sale barn. He did say that this was a dry year and on a wet year they would probably shrink more. He said the trailer was pretty clean when he got to the sale to unload.

I know shrink is an elusive thing, so thought there might be some readers here that would like to know what he found in regards to shrink when hauling.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:51 pm
by littlejoe
I don't doubt your word---but I find it almost unbelievable!

I sometimes load off a certified scale---always curious what the shrink is costing me. I would have expected you to say closer to 7. I think there's some other factor involved----like selling in Lewistown outa winnett/Jordan country---weigh up stuff really weighs up---they come off of water that you can't even make coffee outa and tank up on 'Big Spring' water in town.....

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:33 pm
by Faster horses
The calves sold really well, so I don't think it was water. They usually get docked for overfill, but who knows...
They came off good water as this guy knows how important water is. No shortage of good water on his place. Ever.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:34 pm
by Nicky
We sold the leftover calves about a week ago. Had a nice steer that didn't come home from the neighbors in time to get on the truck so put him in with the bull calves. Weighed him here before we went to the sale and he weighed 700 (on a certified scale), when we got the check it said he weighed 675. Hauled him 45 miles and he sold that afternoon. Makes a 2% shrink look pretty good.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 3:37 pm
by Faster horses
We had a scale under our chute at home. We found that COWS weighed 100# more at home than they did at a sale, didn't matter how far they were hauled. Of course, it wasn't a certified scale, like where the above mentioned heifers were weighed, but still, it was 100# more at home every time. So if you think your cows are 1300# because of what they weigh when you sell them, better add 100# to that for the ones at home to get a true picture of what your cows really weigh.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:04 pm
by Silver
We try to feed our pairs dry hay for a couple of weeks before weaning and shipping. Like FH said, those calves learn from their mothers quickly. Seems to make weaning much easier, we take the calves off the cows and they go straight to the hay and ignore their mothers for the most part. I think they look better going through the ring too, and believe shrink is minimized.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:23 am
by redrobin
I wish I could raise that kind of hay

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:35 am
by 4Diamond
We ship our cattle on Saturday for a Tuesday sale and from checked weights we gain a little weight doing that way. These cattle are normally yearling type though not bawling calves.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 1:01 pm
by Faster horses
redrobin wrote:I wish I could raise that kind of hay


Granted the hay up north could be of better quality than in the south. We do as Silver said, we start ours on hay a couple of weeks before we wean and it sure does help. The key is getting calves to eat. They do so much better with less sickness if they eat sooner. Honestly, calves really don't know how to eat hay. It doesn't take them long to learn. Stress is really hard on calves. We always keep our best and finest hay for the calves. Not alfalfa hay, but a fine-stemmed grass hay with maybe a little alfalfa mixed in. They just don't have the rumen to digest coarse forage.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:40 pm
by Brad S
K State did a big research project on selling calves, and concluded (for using a sale barn) optimal procedure was haul 2days before sale.

Pratt and Salina are the 2 big sale barns in ks. Weekly selling 10,000 hd routinely and the big sales get really big. Salina uses well water and Pratt uses city water - Salina guys say the well water is better consumed by stock.

I'm surprised the mineral lady didn't mention that minerals will reduce shrink.

I unroll alfalfa about 3 times a week when the grass gets hard later in the season. The cows can use the protein and the calves pick up on the deal pretty fast. When the calves are chasing the hay pretty well, like after 2 or 3 weeks of feeding alfalfa, I start feeding rolled corn on top of the hay. The calves learn to eat the corn pretty fast and their gut begins the month long process of building the right bugs to digest the corn. Weaning at 150 days is pretty simple if the calves are warmed up on concentrated feed and preweaned vaccinated.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 11:14 pm
by Faster horses
"I'm surprised the mineral lady didn't mention that minerals will reduce shrink."

I mentioned it at some point, but then thought better of it. :D :wink: So I deleted it. :D

Good to know about the research on the 2-day deal. Thanks.

Re: Shrink on calves

Posted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 12:53 am
by littlejoe
"now this heah mineral is absotively and positutely guaranteed not to rattle, clatter, rust or bust..

good for fits, farts, freckles, and sore bumholes

makes childbirth a pleasure"

if it's on the tag---it's in the bag