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Trailing cows before breeding

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Well-known member
Feb 10, 2005
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N.E. Oregon
We trail our cows about 8 miles (rough, rocky, and steep) from here to our leased range ground in the spring. Last year the way it worked out, we trailed them one day and put the bulls in the next day. Our calving seems more strung out than usual this year. I've heard that stress delays estrus. Anyone have ideas on this?
I have heard that too, but one of my many dry years I hauled some first time heifers 50 miles to lease pasture and turned the bulls out the next day. Mine caught on the first cycle, I think it depends on the shape of the cows and the luck.
I know that when we used to move cows about 5 miles AFTER we put the bulls in we would notice a window of time where we would have a lull in calving.
But I think there is more to the story. Are the bulls trailed with the cows or brought up the next day? Are the bulls trailed or hauled? What is the plane of nutrition (cows) at that time? Are you changing from lush feed to hilly pasture and the cows might go downhill for a bit until they adjust to the change in feed? Are you on a good mineral program? We got on a good nutrition program and don't notice the 'lulls' happening anymore. Get over 85% bred in the first heat cycle.

Might be something to take a look at.
We haul the bulls, then take them to whichever pasture we are starting in. We have a good nutritional program, and they've usually been on the same kind of feed before they move. The thing I didn't mention is that they got into a weed (common groundsel) last year that we've never had a problem with. It causes photosesativity (sp?). It was the first week they were out, and we moved them. Alot of cows were mildly to moderately affected. However the worst one (thought she might die) had been aied and she kept the calf! So I do think luck plays a huge part. :wink:
we used to trail for 5 days to our summer range close to 50 miles, 3 days down a highway, two up the canyon. the bulls were trucked up about 2 weeks later and scattered. they truck the cows to the canyon now with the bulls allready in.that was after a semi crashed tru the cows killing 5 and 3 calves.
the summer range we got now is out the gate, we might have to trail 5-6 miles depending on witch unit, but the bull are with the cows before turn out, and there never seems to be a break in calving
Nicky, My dad who is an old cowboy, has told me that it sometimes takes bulls a week or so to have good semen. I know I'll get heckled about this,but might be a reason. Did you get your bulls checked? Some bulls can contract an infection from riding each other. If so a good shot of Penn will clear it up... I agree with everyone that cow conditioning is REALLY INPORTANT. I have been burned with either to fat or too thin cows breeding more than anything else.. IMHO, I don't think we ever know all the answers, that's what makes this ranching thing so much fun.......
We always have the bulls checked before turnout. I do think it makes a big difference though if the cows are settled in their pasture before the bulls are turned in. Last year was the first year they hadn't been there for a bit before we put the bulls in (a day late and a dollar short you know!). Thanks for all your thoughts :wink:
We always used to have that 'window' where we'd get no calves that coincided with moving the herd out to summer grass.

Last couple of years we've hauled the bulls out the day before and left them penned at the corrals until the cows arrive rather than drive them with the herd. Oh sure, they still get a little worked up, but seem to be settling in to work a bit better than before.

Seems to be working, as we're now passed our 'grass turn-out date' and the calves are still coming in nice and steady.

For what it's worth, it sure is nicer trailing the herd without the 'boys' getting all hot and either looking for some bush to hole up in or trying to fight. We're able to let the kids ride drag now without having someone with them that can break up a bull fight.

Take care.

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