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Smaller Isn't Always Better

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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Silver
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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby Silver » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:17 am

I don't want a cow to have a calf that is far smaller or larger than she is capable of having. One cows 70 lb calf is another cows 120 lb calf. I don't like the big dummies and I don't like the runts, neither one seems more likely to make it to sale time than the other.
I guess I'm like Shortgrass, my cows are a little bigger than a lot of what the straight British cattle breeders have and are capable of having a little larger calf. I'm still just young enough to not mind putting the work in at calving time, although I think the end of that is not too far down the road.
As far as selecting bulls, I've said it before and I'll say it again: Birth weight means practically nothing. Not without context anyway. I would sooner have a 100 lb birth weight bull if he was 10 lbs less than the crop average for that herd that year than a 75 lb birth weight bull whose crop average was 85 lbs. And I want to see the mothers because after all, that's what we are making is cows, the steers are just a happy byproduct.

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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby Faster horses » Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:37 am

"As far as selecting bulls, I've said it before and I'll say it again: Birth weight means practically nothing. Not without context anyway. I would sooner have a 100 lb birth weight bull if he was 10 lbs less than the crop average for that herd that year than a 75 lb birth weight bull whose crop average was 85 lbs. And I want to see the mothers because after all, that's what we are making is cows, the steers are just a happy byproduct."

I am in total agreement. A person would do well to look at the contemporaries of that line of cattle to see if perhaps the 100# bw bull is an outlier of lighter bw's of that line of cattle and the same goes with a 70# bw. Rainmaker 340 is a good example. He was a 90# bw bull himself, but he is legendary as being a sure-fired heifer bull sire.
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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby Big Muddy rancher » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:45 pm

We probably all could agree we want a vigorous calf no matter the size.
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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby littlejoe » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:53 pm

That's what she said..........

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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby PPRM » Wed Feb 01, 2017 12:17 am

Mike wrote:They have completely left out "Pelvic Size" out of the equation. That, to me, is the deciding factor between hard & easy calving cows, moreso than calf weight.

I take a good hard look and feel of the pelvic size of heifers when preg checking the first time. If they have extremely small pelvis' and are open, they take a ride. If they have extremely small openings and are bred, they get put on a watch list when calving. I can usually determine & predict which ones may have calving problems.


Mike,

I started doing that about 10 years ago or better???? It has made a huge difference!

A Bull Breeder I buy from told me he wished all of his customers would do this. I agree.

Another thing I look for (Or at) is a negative correlation with BW relative to wearing Wt. So, maybe we are looking at 75-80 Lb Calves that wean above average. What I have found is those calves tend to be long and streamlined at birth and then fill out. It is the closest thing to a predictor of calve body shape I have seen. Thigh, it is on my limited sample size.
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Silver
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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby Silver » Wed Feb 01, 2017 8:09 am

Big Muddy rancher wrote:We probably all could agree we want a vigorous calf no matter the size.


Yup, I bet nobody wants the dead, tangled up premature twins I extracted from a 3 yr old on Sunday.

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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby PureCountry » Mon Feb 06, 2017 10:59 pm

Mike wrote:They have completely left out "Pelvic Size" out of the equation. That, to me, is the deciding factor between hard & easy calving cows, moreso than calf weight.

I take a good hard look and feel of the pelvic size of heifers when preg checking the first time. If they have extremely small pelvis' and are open, they take a ride. If they have extremely small openings and are bred, they get put on a watch list when calving. I can usually determine & predict which ones may have calving problems.


I agree Mike. I've had lots of small frame score heifers with big pelvic area push out 90 pound calves with ease, and large framed heifers with small pelvic area need assistance. Can go many ways, but I focus more on the structure than the birth weight of the sires.
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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby DejaVu » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:07 pm

Structural correctness of the female is also necessary for successful calving. If she's post legged, her pelvis will be rotated upwards which is a guaranteed calving problem. 'Show ring specials' with concave backs are a good example. A nice flat back with correct tail set is what I want.

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Re: Smaller Isn't Always Better

Postby Faster horses » Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:41 am

Interesting DejaVu. I had not thought of that. I do know flat backed and nice tail head is desirable.

One thing to remember, bw is 70% heritable from the female.

Years ago some Hereford breeders we knew, retired. They kept 50 cows and bred them Limousin. The cows all calved unassisted, but 2. The next year, same thing, same 2. When they looked back in their records those 2 cows had over 100# bw.
"All the Democrats know how to do is lie and “forget.”--Trey Gowdy


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