How to switch to spring calving?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by BJ, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    We bought a small herd of cows this last spring. Some cows had calves at their side, bred back, most of them have been calving since Sept. Still have one cow left to calve in December! We have not bred any of the cows back as we would like to wait and put the bull in the pasture next June so that we will have all spring calves. Now we are wondering if that is ok...or are we going to have trouble getting those cows bred after keeping them open that length of time. A couple of these were 1st time calving heifers that had their calves with no problems and are doing a fine job of raising them. We would just really like to get all these cows calving closer together and we would prefer spring weather and summer pastures for feeding. We're VERY new at the cow business....what do some of you ole time cattle raisers think? Are we making a huge mistake? We just don't know any other way to get them from fall to spring calving. :confused:
     
  2. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    It won't be a problem leaving them that long, occasionally owners have to skip a few months or make a similar adjustment when the timing gets too late, happens fairly regularly.
    Some people sell cattle that are out of sync with the rest of their herd just to keep them on track.
     

  3. trickham

    trickham Well-Known Member

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    You are on the right track. That is the quickest way to move around to a spring calving, and a spring calving is one of the keys to a successful beef operation.

    Nick
     
  4. farmerdan

    farmerdan Well-Known Member

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    Shouldn't be any problem switching to spring calving. I did the same thing but have my cows calving in late summer/early fall. Flies are less of a problem and the mothers are fat from summer pasture. Another plus is that the price of calves is high in the spring.
     
  5. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    The only drawback is that you will basically skip a year of calves. If you can afford to do that, go for it. We can't afford to keep a cow around that long with no calf, so we used to sell off late calvers. Now that I'm selling meat, I need calves finishing all year, so we keep them.

    Jena
     
  6. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    It's for certain we will miss the money, especially while the market is up...and the tax lady won't be happy. But...we don't like having young calves to go through the hard winter. We'll get a good price for them in the spring I guess...if they are able to fatten up through the winter months. Our cows that are nursing now are starting to look thin. We are feeding good quality hay and there is still some pasture. Guess we may need to add additional nutrition like calf manna? They are healthy cows...but the older calves nursing are bringing down their weight.
     
  7. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    The best way to stretch pasture for pairs is to creep feed the calves. It takes the pressure off mom and the grass. If some of those calves are big enough, wean them.

    Adding a protein supplement will increase the digestibility of lower quality hay. A half pound of soybean meal per cow goes a long ways.

    Jena
     
  8. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Will the cows eat straight soy meal or will it need to be mixed with grain? That is the only way we could get our horse to eat the meal when we wanted to increase his protein.
     
  9. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    My cows eat it straight and love it.
     
  10. Valmai

    Valmai Well-Known Member

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    As others have said giving the cows a few extra months to regain condition for a spring calving can only be good. One point I would like to make ... depending on the cows condition and your feeding/pasture regime you may need to pay attention to not letting your cows get too fat.
     
  11. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    Best way is to figure which month you want them to calf, then breed accordingly. For example breed in June so they calf in March, July so they calf in April. They grow like weeds in the spring, we had a steer at 200lbs at a month old, yes it was fun rolling around trying to band him..



    Jeff
     
  12. herefordman

    herefordman Well-Known Member

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    That reminds me of trying to band a four month old while he was loose, after throwing eachother around the pen for half an hour the band finally was on, but I think I was the one who ended up wearing it !!!
    :)
     
  13. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    We had to band two calves that were not friendly at all this past summer, took quite a while to catch them, but we did. Good thing they weren't big. But that steer I beleive weighs 600+lbs now, he is wide. The other one that we banded at a younger age is taller than our Jersey that will be 2 this spring.


    Jeff