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Old 11/09/05, 02:29 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,628
how young can a heifer get bred?

Back in July, we brought home from auction a lovely 270# hereford heifer. We are not sure how old she was at that time, but she has always been plump. She is out on pasture, getting no grain, and yet she looks very pregnant (considerably wider than before). She is not with a bull here, but I am wondering whether it would have been possible, if she were running with a herd, for her to have been bred when we bought her. What do y'all think? Does anyone know how young a heifer might come into heat and be accidently bred? If she is possibly bred, I'm wondering if I should be giving her grain regularly as the pasture is getting thin, also how dangerous it would be for her to calve. Opinions?
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Old 11/09/05, 03:17 PM
Eunice's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Utah
Posts: 406
Young Heifer breeding

THe youngest heifer that I have seen calve was 13 months, so she must have been bred at 4 months old. The bull and heifer calves were still running together at that age and she had twins - one by each of the two bulls that were with her.
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Old 11/09/05, 04:05 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Northern Arizona
Posts: 720
The recommended breeding age is 15 months old, so they will calve at 2 years old. Someone here should be able to give you an educated guess as to how old a hereford that weighs 270# would be. If a heifer is younger than 2 they can have problems calving (especially depending on the size of the bull they were bred with). The bigger factor in younger heifers having calves is they are still at critical growing periods while their body is trying to support the growing calf.

About grain, grain is not so important, but you will want to make sure she has enough grass pasture or supplement her diet with hay.

Yo can always have someone near you who is knowledgeable (like your vet) do a preg. check.
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Old 11/09/05, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: TN
Posts: 1,104
It would be worth a few bucks to take her to the vet, have her palpated and if she is bred get the vet's opinion on whether to let her have the calf or to abort it now for safety.
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Old 11/09/05, 06:31 PM
Celtic Heritage Farms
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: CA, Usa
Posts: 346
Our hiefer always looked pregnant even when she was too young to be that heavily pregnant. One way to tell if she is pregnant is to watch her udder, if it begins to fill with milk expect a baby within the month. How long ago did you get her, or when was the very last time that she could have been exposed to a bull. You can call your vet and have her palpitated but only after she is 2 months pregnant, if you do it before 2 months the vet may misread and he may kill the developing embryo. It would be a good idea to but her on some alfalfa about 2 flakes a day or more if you think she needs it, eg. she eats it all up but still bellows like she's starving. Make sure her vaccinations are up to date, and don't medicate her with anything not approved for pregnant cattle. Give her a trace mineral salt block with adequate copper, iodine, and selenium levels, keep it out of reach of sheep if you have any. She should be okay with that, make sure that you can feel but not see her ribs or loin bones and that she doesn't get too fat.

Oy I hate my user name It was supposed to be Celtic Heritage Farms. As I have it on all my other boards, but it cut it off so now it's stupid and doesn't make since, Oh well. I'll get off now
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Old 11/09/05, 07:21 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Zone 7
Posts: 10,837
Beef breeds do not mature as fast as some of the dairy breeds and at 270 lbs a hereford heifer is less than 5 months old. I seriously doubt that she is pregnant. I run my replacement heifers with the cow herd and I calve year around so the bulls are with the heirfers and the cows continuously. My Angus will not cycle at an early age and I rarely have a problem with the heifers being too young or small. Typically the heifers will have their first calf when they are 2 years old.
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Old 11/09/05, 08:24 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 4,278
Early Breeding

I think a 270 pound calf is probably not old enough to cycle and breed. However, it happens.

I have seen an angus heifer, pregnant as can be and her bag filling, run thru the sale when she could not have weighed over 700 pounds, probably l4 months or so. I just had one AI'd at l5 months so that she will calve at two years. That heifer was on her fourth cycle, about sixty days past her puberty.

I have read that scrotal circumference in a bull is directly related to the age at which his daughters will be sexually mature--big testicles mean early maturity. If this is so, then there is no way to say that any particular calf will mature at a given age.
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Old 11/09/05, 08:26 PM
Slave To Many Animals
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,970
I am sorry Eunice, but I REALLY want to hear the rest of that story. As much as can be told. How did they know that the twins had different fathers? I am sorry, but I am REALLY curious.
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Old 11/09/05, 11:06 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 4,628
Thanks for the replies. I have always assumed that she was just plump, but on seeing her up close after she has been out to pasture for awhile, I was just surprised HOW plump she had gotten. I guess I will know for sure next spring. She appears to be in very good health.
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