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Calving headaches!

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Well-known member
Feb 21, 2005
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Does anyone have any reasons for backward calves? Or has this been discussed previously?

So far, we have had five out of about 40 hiefers calved. Don't think we have had much of it before, but not unknown, either.

Not sure how many we have saved, but took one to the vet for a C-section today and the calf is ok.

Cows aren't due to start till (appropriately!) April 1. Already getting a few, and hiefers started a couple of weeks early, too.

brother in law had the same problem.........his cure was to sell the black cows.
jigs said:
brother in law had the same problem.........his cure was to sell the black cows.

Now whats he got cancer eye,prolapses,pinkeye,foot rot,light calves,Just wondering..
Sorry to hear about the problem. Tell Shorty to buy bulls that aren't a^^ backwards and they'll quit puttin' them in backwards! :lol: :lol:

Seriously, I was told it is because the calf is to big for the size of the cow so can't get turned over for the birth. Don't know if it's true, but I ain't never had to pull a real small backwards calf, but probably other will come on and tell me that they have!

Way to solve the problem is to run yearlings! Never have to pull calves then! :lol:

Hope you get them all straightened out!
MRJ, I feel for you. Last year we had five. and four so far this year. And they were all sizes. I wondered about this before too, I was told it has a lot to do with how they're handled as they get close to calving. I call bull****. I was also told it was hereditary, which I'm more inclined to believe. We've saved all ours so far, touch wood! I wish you the best of luck with the rest. Hopefully there won't be anymore.

I was wondering if this change in the weather got your calving season off and running. I think backwards calves are just luck of the draw, and sometimes when it rains it pours, just like an occasional rash of twins. Oddly enough this year we've only had one that was in breech position as well, and no prolapses. Probably spoke too soon :? Good luck!
Our cows calve pretty much unattended so don't hardly ever see a backwards calf I imagine they just are having them because I'm sure there are some.
Denny said:
jigs said:
brother in law had the same problem.........his cure was to sell the black cows.

Now whats he got cancer eye,prolapses,pinkeye,foot rot,light calves,Just wondering..
Have been reading on here about prolapse problems,seems to be the black cow people!
The last two cows we sewed on this place were BLACK.Have calved many hundreds of Hereford scince--no problem.Eye problems are rare also!
Juan said:
Denny said:
jigs said:
brother in law had the same problem.........his cure was to sell the black cows.

Now whats he got cancer eye,prolapses,pinkeye,foot rot,light calves,Just wondering..
Have been reading on here about prolapse problems,seems to be the black cow people!
The last two cows we sewed on this place were BLACK.Have calved many hundreds of Hereford scince--no problem.Eye problems are rare also!

Yea and my neighbor who's a hereford man has had pinkeye bad every summer for the last 3 years even after a pink eye shot.Also he's always treating foot rot.In ten years I have only had 1 case of footrot and it was on a HEREFORD BULL.Ishipped my last hereford cow a few years agoshe weighed 1250#s and weaned a 400# calf every year.I have one little black cow she weighe 900#s and weans 500#s.Now the cancer eye I have never had a case in my cows in ten years the hereford neighbor has at least one a year if not more.I have had 2 cows prolapse here both were black baldy's from my HEREFORD BULL.
Two years ago had five backwards.Asked my vet and was told it was luck of the draw. This year have had the seound of a set of twins and one out of a heifer come backwords. Both small so no problems.
Many breech calves do not live because the head may not exit fully and cause asphyxiation. My neighbor had a set of twins that were both breech, with rear legs forward, we got them both and both lived. I think it's the luck of the draw too.
Five years ago I traded 53 Angus and cross-bred pregnant fall calving cows straight across for 53 two-year-old Hereford heifers with Hereford calves at their side. With a 100% calf crop assured, I thought, how can I go wrong on a deal like this? The Hereford calves didn't amount to too much, but being the fact they were Herefords, I didn't expect any different. The Hereford cows were pretty nice, and I bred them to two real nice Angus bulls, figuring the next year's calves would be dandies. They weren't too "bad", but when the dust settled on the next year's calf sales, these good baldy calves out of these three-year-old cows weren't nearly as good as the calves out of our first-calf Angus heifers. Our Angus heifers' calves mostly sold with our older cows' calves. The baldy calves out of the Hereford cows just didn't go with the bunch, and sold as a lighter cut.

To add insult to injury, three of these good Montana-bred Hereford cows prolapsed, three of the cows (not necessarily the same three) died because of "photosynthesis" grazing on meadow aftergrowth, and three more were culled because of cancer eyes. Quite a few came up open the second fall, so were turned into fall calvers. The good bred cows bred to calve the next spring I sold, and later on I sold the cows bred to calve the following fall. I had to sell these cows to save my marriage (tongue-in-cheek)(but not clear in, LOL!).

I can't say I learned a lesson, because I had learned this years ago. It was just an expensive lesson "re-learned". Sorry if a tad bit of bitterness has crept into my spiel.

The reason for our good black cow prolapsing a few days ago was because she had a real big calf, and we were negligent in our calving duties. The calf lived. He was born big, and he will be big when we sell him.
I must tell you a little about our Hereford journey.

We leased from a Hereford Ranch in Wyoming from 1965-1973 and running Herefords was mandantory. We had prolapses, we had cancer eyes, we had one-eyed cows, we had bad bags, we had no milk, we had antaplasmosis. We also had 400 pound calves. When that ranch sold we moved down to the Powder River country the fall of 1973. There our Hereford calves weighed 330 pounds. (That fall the steer calves brought 30 cents, I might add. Not even $100/head. No foolin'!!)

We moved to Western Montana in 1975 with our Herefords. We ran into 25% cancer eyes, every year. I'm sure that was genetic. But 25% EVERY YEAR gets pretty darn old. We got so we could see the cancer tumors when the size of a match head and would get them burned off. We did it regularly every year, just like branding or weaning. In 1979 we bought our first Angus heifers. We phased out the Herefords over time and it didn't take long~.

We did buy some registered Angus cows in the fall of 1984 and brought disease into our bunch, which we dealt with for 8 years, then gave up and moved. We have been here since 1993 and got on a good mineral program. No cancer eyes, no disease, no prolapses, no C-sections, no problems, PERIOD. (Well, no hay in these drought years might be a problem~) We calve the 20th of March, sell before the 15th of October and our straighbred Angus calves weigh 620-640#.

We listen and see the problems that others go through, ours is truly a problem-free herd. Maybe it is partly because my husband won't put up with problems and he long ago got rid of anything that caused him trouble.

Anyway, ONCE YOU GO BLACK, YOU'LL NEVER GO BACK sure was true for us. Black cattle and getting on a year-round mineral program changed everything for us.

Believe me, we have gone through enough trials and tribulations we have earned where we are in regard to problem-free cattle. We just could not go back to the 'old days' of problems and constantly doctoring.


Good Luck to everyone who is calving!!!
The name of the game is GENETICS!
When people bad-mouth Herefords I laugh all the way to the bank.
Why do some have to pen their pairs and rope the calves to tag them?
I can name three neighbors that spent time in the hospital because of these wonderful black beauties.Things like that don't count against the bottom line------right?
Juan is right. There is more difference within breeds than between them. There are good cows and bad in every breed and if you cull rigorisly (sp?) you can get rid of most problems. I've sewn up prolapses in quite a few different breeds and had bad eyes and feet in all.

When I worked at the sale barn during fall runs, you would get every kind of breed and cattle. There were some generalities, but there were wild and gentle in all kinds.

Best calvin' I ever had was runnin' cows by the head a month for a rancher/cow trader. He had black hided cattle that were ranchy and I didn't have to tag, thank the Lord! But they dang sure took care of themselves. I don't like dangerous cows as it's too easy to get hurt, but too gentle-no respect cows ain't no fun either.

With the new ID program, some of these cattle people are going to have to cowboy up or hire some good hands to get them tagged, or bolus'd on the day they are born! Maybe it will make a bunch of good young hands? Sure will get some colts sacked out, fer sure! :shock: :lol:
Last spring we calved out 48 Balck Angus and Blk. Baldy heifers and they were as quiet as lambs, not one mean one. I was sure surprised because the old black cows we sold to make room for the heifers were genuine wildcats for the first few days after they calved; you risked your life to tag the calves. Had to outwit the old girls to do it.

What I would like to know is this - will these second calvers turn ugly on us when they calve this year? They are still quiet and we work with them everyday, feeding and whatnot. I've never had so many heifers or second calvers at one time so I wondering what we can expect when they start in 2 weeks.
growing up there was a herd of black angus cows that trail by the house a a couple times each summer going to grass. About a thrid of the old short fat things had briskits so big and full of fluid that they could hardly move, walking down the road with drool and thier tongues hanging.... but like bad eyes, bags and prolasps you can breed it out of them.
I do have two one eyed cows, most I'v had in years and did have a prolasp on a hereford hiefer when we pulled the black backwards calf. They both up and going.
The maligning of Herefords on this thread is a bit sad. Someone had them in the 60's and thinks they are still the same today. I have Herefords, and Angus. I run 375 cows. I have had 4 prolapses in the last fifteen years. The last 2 heifers were both black and were at least 3/4 angus. To the guy that traded for some herefords. Well if you don't have brains enough to raise your own replacements get the heck out of the cattle business. Junk cow traders are the scourge of the land. If you raise your own replacements and cull rigorously prolapse and cancer eye don't happen. As far as pinkeye goes the last bad outbreak I had was a strain that mainly affected solid black cattle. I had a few solid black calves lose sight in one eye. If BS were gold the amount on this thread would pay off the national debt.
oh well, steve, what can you expect? BS makes the world go 'round! look at our politicians!!

i don't have a word to say about calving, never done it like most of these folks have, but it reminds of of recent previous discussions of dogs/dog breeds/usefulness/etc. i'm sure there are good herefords in this world--they HAVE to be better than the ones i've seen. and i think there can be no doubt they're awful good mother cows.

who was it (one of you canucks) who posted all those pics of the AWESOME herefords? just goes to show--there's good in most, it's just what your program's about. i think. :roll:

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