Bad Luck with new Calves?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Phil - MO, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. Phil - MO

    Phil - MO Active Member

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    I just found the third calf this year, and it was dead. Couldn't really find anything wrong with it. It was small in size and shouldn't have been a problem for the cows second calf.

    I talked to my neighbor and he said out of over 250 calves over the last few years, he has only lost 11.

    I lost 3 calves and 1 cow out of 9 last year. One defective, one breach, and one just too big I think.
    Am I doing something wrong, or should I just start over with another breed?
    I have registered Beefmasters. They were supposed to be bred for easy calving and self reliant.

    Out of the last 8 calves, only 1 was a heifer. I guess the bull determines this. Hard to increase herd at this rate. Maybe I need to pray a little harder for heifers.

    Phil
     
  2. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    phil when i first started out i lost 4 of the first 6 you talking about sick i was sick...one new calf i found in the front field it didn't want to get up so i got it up it walked to its mother and sucked i went to back field and came back like in 10 minutes and found the calf dead...next calf was a dumby calf what the vet called it it had its tongue out and could not pull it back in......birth defect ....so i sold that bull bought another one and never had a problem again ...hope you have better luck from now on.....those little ones hard to lose and expensive if trying to increase herd
     

  3. Phil - MO

    Phil - MO Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply.

    My wife says I should replace the bull, and if the rest of the calves give me trouble this year. I think I will do so. She's usually right, but I don't like to admit it.
    I would like to stick with the Beefmasters because each one is a little different (since they didn't breed them for color), and they seem to be so tame. With each one looking a little different, I can tell at a glance which one is missing.

    Since everybody wants black cows now, I do have a year old black Beefmaster bull I kept. Maybe I could trade him for another bull, unless he might have the same traits as his father. I don't think I want to sell my present bull to anybody since I am having so much trouble.

    Phil
     
  4. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    How often do you check your calving cows? Do you know what to look for as far as trouble signs? Many large calves and some breech calves can be saved simply by being attentive and available to lend assistance as soon as possible. Knowing how to assist helps too.

    My first year I lost many calves and a couple cows. Granted I had a real loser bunch of cows to work with, but alot of it was my own inexperience. I've since learned that you just can't be too vigilant when it comes to calving time. I check them first thing in the morning and last thing at night. If anyone getting ready to go, I'll go back in the dark to check again.

    I have one I gotta go check on about now. I hope she has a calf on the ground before dark.

    Jena
     
  5. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    It could just be Sods Law has it in for you right now, it could be many other things as well. I would suggest you have a real good look at how that neighbour of yours is doing things. It could be the bull it could be your managment could be feeding regime. Double check everything and best of luck for next year.
     
  6. Ky gal

    Ky gal Well-Known Member

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    When we first started raising a herd, we weren't getting many heifers either. Our first bull was about the same age as yours. While talking to a local farmer about it, he mentioned this usually occurs with the younger bulls and that as he ages this will change. Two years later our crop was about 50/50.
     
  7. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all of the above, and would also get rid of the bull, he may not be the problem, but right now he's the common denominator.
     
  8. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, without a better description of the symptoms anything said here is just a shot in the dark. When you say a calf was small, could it be premature? Are the calves born live? Have the cows been vacinated for leptospirosis? Have you checked vit A content of your feed? A vit A defficency will cause a high death loss. Please give more details.

    Two of the calves could be blamed on the bull (the deformed and the too big) A bull will not cause a breach.
     
  9. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    i would check your vitaminsand minerals also if you are not feeding loose salt then switch to loose salt and mineral. sometimes the cows can not get enough just licking a block.we alternate mineral source as well . check the cows for clamidia as well. to often the bull gets a bums rush.had a herd of holsteins that were exibiting simailar problems and within months started seeing a difference(calved year round 120+ cows)
     
  10. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Phil, not trying to insult you but what kind of a winter feeding program do you have? Do you supplement with any kind of pellets, grain, do you offer lick tubs, etc? Unless it is very very high quality hay alone isn't sufficient for bred cows to winter on.
     
  11. sunshine

    sunshine Member

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    I would have to concur with the majority that you need to replace the bull. We had Angus mixes and Herefords when we had cows. Our Hereford bull gave us the nicest calves and we never lost those except once when the cow calved in the middle of a snow storm unexpectedly. We got an Angus bull for a second bull and had nothing but problems - the calves were too big. Needless to say he got sold after the first year. If your cows are black, you might consider using a Hereford bull for black white faces which are also in demand. Take your bull to the sale barn to sell. Don't keep the younger bull you held back either - it is better to get fresh bloodlines going.