5 tries to breed heifer-didn't work-hamburger or try again?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by lorian, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. lorian

    lorian Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    zone 6
    Well Buttercup the 18 month old Jersey refuses to be bred. It's no fault of the farmer, that's sure. 5 tries and it's a no go.
    Shes cute and sweet but they tell me she did have a rough start as a young calf (pnemonia) and she was free sooooooo........ should I try again or have her butchered?
    Any opinions? This is our first dairy heifer/cow. :shrug:
    Although we like her we really can't afford to keep an unproductive animal on our small homestead.
     
  2. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    Were these AI tries?? Sometimes its hard to get heifers settled AI for some reason...which is why our neighbor runs a clean-up bull, though he does 99% AI breeding. Maybe she is stubborn and just wants the "real thing"?? :)
     

  3. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Our experience is that heifers are the easiest to settle, regardless if you AI or not. If she has been bred 5 times I would say she needs to go. I doubt you will get a calf out of her.

    Heather
     
  4. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,672
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Location:
    N. TX/ S. OK
    Maybe she was a freemartin? :shrug:
     
  5. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    Was it with the same bull all five times?
    Was she definitely in heat all five times?
    Was she A.I.'d?
    Was she a twin, or did you buy her from someone else?

    Edited to add: sorry, I replied too soon. I see that she came from someone else and was *free*, nto a good sign at all. Is there any way for you to contact the original owners and find out whether or not she was a twin? Twin heifers that have a male twin have a very high likelihood of being a freemartin...the odds are something like 12 out of 13.
     
  6. lorian

    lorian Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    zone 6
    Ummm, sorry, but I don't know what a "freemartin" is?
    She was AI, she was not a twin.
     
  7. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,672
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Location:
    N. TX/ S. OK
    If a cow gives birth to twins, and those twins are a boy and a girl, the girl is called a freemartin and she's almost always sterile.
     
  8. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    A freemartin is a heifer that was a twin to a bull and is usually sterile. You can have the vet check and see if she is one. If she is not a freemartin and the 5 failed breedings were AI attempts, I would give her another chance by running her with a bull. If she still doesn't take, ship her or eat her. We had a freemartin who was a great girl. We bought her as a calf and were not aware she was a freemartin. It was too hard to eat her as she was a great pet, so we sent her through the salebarn at a beef sale.
     
  9. lorian

    lorian Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,075
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2005
    Location:
    zone 6
    she was not a freemartin. She was a single calf.
    So running them with a bull works better than AI? Is it because he is better able to guess her "heat" than we are? Do they charge much for this?
     
  10. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

    Messages:
    334
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Location:
    Virginia
    I am just trying to learn for the future, but what is AI???? :shrug:
     
  11. ladycat

    ladycat Chicken Mafioso Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,672
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Location:
    N. TX/ S. OK
    Artificial Insemination.
     
  12. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    9,246
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2005
    Location:
    Missouri
    Running with a bull *can* work better than AI with *some* cows and with *some* folks technique of AI'ing......some people are better at it than others. And some cows are harder to get bred by AI than others. :shrug: A bull will be able to service her many times and be sure to get her in the right part of her heat cycle, so sometimes a bull will catch them, where an AI service may not. That is why I say I would give her a chance at natural breeding before I'd let her go as a lost cause. You stand to gain a lot if she will breed.
    The charge for borrowing a bull or for taking your heifer to run with a bull will totally depend on the owner. If you can find someone willing to do so. Around here, as long as the heifer was healthy, I can name several people who would probably allow me to borrow a bull or let my heifer run with their bull for a month or so for a very minimal fee. We have loaned our bull out to friends before. They got to use him in exchange for feeding and caring for him while he was off my property. But I knew and trusted them. I would not allow just anyone to borrow my bull as he is a big investment for me. Do you know anyone near you that uses a bull??
     
  13. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York


    This is wrong actually, and I would not give up. I do have a way to get her bred, and if she does NOT take this way, she will not take ever. I bred a heifer EIGHT times, and she finally took on he 8th or 9th time. I almost gave up, she is a good animal too. Her dam classified VG, she is out of a good family, solid animal as well. The first bull I used was the bull I was hoping she would have bred to, but did not. Last winter is when things were running out, as far as things to try. Our breeder who has been breeding for over 30 years has bred many many animals, has seen the way the breed has gone, both good and bad (bovine in general). He said to me "Try 3cc of GNRH instead of the 2cc that are reccomended by vets". Well I did that, and she took. I also did this on others, and they too took. GnRh is a wonder drug IMO. It has settled cows that would not settle otherwise. What is GnRh? and how does it work? GnRh is a drug that is actually a hormone, that the animal naturally produces. The hormone is known as Cystorelin. What the hormone does is cause the egg to be released, and when giving the shot, it "forces" the release earlier. Some animals will release an egg late, beyond the time the semen survives. With the one heifer I experienced breeding problems with, likely did this. She released late. Well the 2cc's did not work, and was not strong enough for her apparently. Well that 3cc dose did the trick.


    The only risk with it is the possibility of twins. it increases the chances of getting twins. However it isn't as common as touted. All of a sudden on animals where you use GnRh, you aren't going to get twins. It does take more than simply a shot of GnRh to do this. Either way, I would get some GnRh, and I would do as I mentioned. DO NOT mention that 3CC dose to vets, they would likely try to scare you, they would say "this and that can happen, the world is coming to an end". Just do it. As I said, if she does not breed with that dose, chances are, she won't.

    It is the easiest thing to do, as Heather mentioned. But without trying aggressively as I mentioned, you might ship an animal that might settle with that dose. I also mentioned this to a farmer who has been around cows for many years, he is in his 60's. He tried this on his swiss, I am not sure if she settled or not. But he said she wasn't being ridden by any of his beefers, who did bother her when she was in heat. It was a good 4-5 months I beleive since she was bred with 3cc's of GnRh. Just give the shot at the time of breeding. Another idea, and it is very tricky is try to breed her late. Breed her the day after she is in standing heat. On a Monday she is in standing heat, breed her Tuesday evening. But I would use the GnRH, 3cc's, and if she doesn't take, then she is hamburger. Hey it worked for me.


    Edit: I gave 2cc's to a Jersey cow we have, she didn't take, 3cc's she did take. I only did 3cc's on the 2nd service AFTER I used 2cc's on the first. Cows that slide from one month to another, and past their first calf, calving date (Example: April calving, slid to May calving the following year). So you HAVE to be aggresssive sometimes, remember they dont live forever, and they dont live very long under the knife.

    Also BTW. I am glad I did try that 3cc's on that heifer that took on the 8th try. I do think she could go VG next May, nice udder, tons of strength, clean rump. If not VG85, GP84.


    Jeff
     
  14. DJ in WA

    DJ in WA Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    2,875
    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Jeff,
    Do you consider the difficulty in settling to be partly or wholly genetic? And if so, do you plan to cull all the calves from such a cow? You mentioned the good and bad trends in cattle. I wonder if going through so much effort to get a cow bred leads to an overall decline in fertility.
     
  15. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,049
    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    Location:
    Ouachitas, AR
    That was my thought also, why would you go through all that trouble to continue a line of cows who don't breed quickly and easily? You aren't improving the genetics any.
     
  16. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    17,320
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Minnesota
    You might want to try sycronizing her.
     
  17. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

    Messages:
    3,841
    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2005
    Location:
    KS
    Well Jeff I don't know what kind of cows you are breeding but I breed the fertile type. *My* heifers rarely take more than two services to settle. Most settle the first time around. Yeah we get cows that are a trouble to breed but because the majority of my cows settle quickly and have a calf every year I can just cull these hard breeders. There's no shortage of replacement heifers here. I don't think you are doing anything for the sustainability of your herd by having to rely on drugs to get cows bred. We do just fine without them.

    Lorian, since this heifer was free, I don't think you would be out too much if you could run her with a bull for a couple of months. I personally wouldn't try any more than that. Good Luck!
     
  18. tyusclan

    tyusclan Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,484
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2005
    Location:
    Florida
    I agree with Up North on this one. I would have made hamburger out of her after the third try. There's no way I'd try 8 times to breed one heifer. At that rate, by the time you finally get her bred you would be only a couple of months away from having a calf on the ground, if she'd bred the first time. All that work getting her bred would have gotten 8 heifers bred that bred on the first try.
     
  19. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

    Messages:
    2,102
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    This particular heifer's bloodline is fertile, her dam always took on the first try, this heifers sire is a high fertility sire (Comestar Outside). Now in the industry this does happen, and some have had a hard breeding heifer, only to calf out, and that calf (if its a heifer), has bred on the first try. Sometimes they dont settle if they are a little high strung, and in some cases simply won't. Keep in mind, those that dont settle, do not mean they aren't fertile. I was told of this cow (locally), that would not breed to AI. But she produced fertile eggs each time she flushed. So if she wasn't fertile, then she would not produce viable eggs. With this heifer, it had NOTHING to do with fertility. It is likely because of the delay in the release of the egg. I asked vets about this, and some animals have been known to release the egg while they are bleeding out, and that usually is beyond the 36hr live time for semen. Kahlua (the heifer), likely did this. So that dose of GNRH forced the release sooner, while the semen is still alive, perhaps its why I got a heifer. When you talk about fertility, make sure the understanding of fertility is known. A infertile animal, is an animal that will not produce a viable, fertile egg. As I mentioned, some have flushed, to find that animal IS producing fertile eggs, but wont hold an egg. She could be lacking some proteins that hold the embryo, which is likely related to one specific cow. Remember, cows are individuals, and when you have a fertile bloodline, and one happens to be harder to settle, look at the underlying reasons.


    Now Heather your the same person that said it is better to have a higher SCC, than a lower SCC, Because somehow a higher SCC cow 200-300k range, will have a lower chance of getting mastitis. Somehow a cow that is in the 13-100k range will have a higher chance. That is the most ridiculous statement I have heard, and I hear many. A higher SCC cow is caused by either genetics, cleanliness, bacteria, or other items. If your herd is in that HIGH range, which is above the "sweet spot" for the quality bonus, you should look at how you dip. Do you post dip? Do you strip? Do you wash if they are filthy? Do you use different towels per animal? Are their areas clean? Are they from a line of high SCC cows? The last test, for the tank was 79k for SCC for me. With a 4.0BF, and 2.9 prot (prot. dropped likely because of the crappy Cargill grain).

    I had a Jersey heifer with mastitis, she tested 430k. She should come down by the next test which will be nice. The swiss shot up, but her production also shot up. So if I used your logic, the higher the better, because I dont want mastitis :p.

    BTW: Swiss are known to be harder settlers, they usually take 2-3 services, mostly because of their temperament. So I guess we should cull ALL swiss, because of the way they settle :p.

    Now I am also glad I did get her bred, calved her out, she tested 5.4BF, 70lbs. That is the second highest BF cow to test yet, and she is a holstein. No she is not ketotic, been through ketosis, and her appetite is good, and she milks something fierce.


    Either way, sometimes it does take a shot of something. The low fertility cows usually cull themselves. Her case was as I said, likely a delayed release of the egg. I know of someone who visits this site that had a heifer that he didn't notice any heat. He gave her a shot of lute, bred her, she took. When you have a good solid animal, have a herd that is JUST starting, and where every animal is important. You bet you will give it a try. I wish I did that sooner, vs breeding 8 times.

    tyusclan: Not all heifers breed on the first try, most do, but some do not. Especially now adays. Heck I had some last fall take on the first try, some took 2 trys, a couple jerseys took on the third try. Did you know that the CR% has declined over the years, because of the goal of higher producing animals. The breeder I use, atleast one of them said he has noticed the services per Jerseys to go from 1 out of 1, to 2-3 services per heifer. At this one farm where I got some of the Jerseys, they went from 1.2 to 2.5-3. They recently sold their cows to a farm in PA, for health reasons (people running it).

    Jeff
     
  20. chamoisee

    chamoisee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Location:
    Idaho
    No offense, please do not take this the wrong way...but if you don't have enough experience with cattle to know what a freemartin is, then how in the heck can you be sure she was in heat when she was AI'd? They *must* be in heat in order to get pregnant, or you can spend a fortune in semen and still have nothing at all to show for it. I would run her with a bull for a while.