When to breed back first time heifer questions....

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Patt, Jun 14, 2006.

  1. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    We have a 2 year old Dexter who was bred to deliver at 2 yrs old. She calve a week after her birthday. :) The calf was a bull calf and she did need us to pull so I'm wondering if we should wait to get her bred back? She's a nice size for her age and this was a little bigger calf due to it being a bull and the father being a highland. We just had to guide the head out and pull through 2 pushes so it wasn't really too bad overall. We're kicking around the idea of waiting 6 months to get her bred though just to give her some extra growth time. Any thoughts pro or con?

    Patt
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  2. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    Personally, I would breed her back whenever it suits your plans for when you want a calf next year. If her system needs a bit to recover, she won't be cycling anyhow. It doesn't sound like a rough delivery, I am sure she is fine and if in good body condition will be cycling in a month. Body condition governs most of that anyhow, if she got to thin she won't be cycling.

    Our Dexters will breed back within 30 days normally, but they are in pretty good shape.
     

  3. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    thanks. She is a bit thin, that worried me too. We've had her on good hay, pasture and an extra ration of dairy feed. The calf was born 3 weeks ago today and she's showed no signs of heat so far.
     
  4. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

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    If you were a dairy farmer you would be shooting for a 60 day breed back.
    But you are not so wait as long as you want.

    The more important question is when do I let her dry up to build reserves for the next birth. That would be at least 60 day; more if she is thin.

    Watch her all threw her lactation and feed her to keep up good body form. A cow will use body reserves to produce milk if you are not feeding her enough. You do not want this. You want to be feeding her enough to produce her milk and rebuild body form.
     
  5. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    What would you reccomend to fatten her up? She's on Vigortone mineral, dairy ration, horse quality hay and grass. Should I up her feed ration? Compared to her mother who is also a dexter she looks quite thin to me.
     
  6. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We always wait about 2 months before breeding back, maybe longer if the cow is thin. I wouldn't hesitate to breed your cow back, as long as she is in good shape. After all, she will have 9 months to grow before she must deliver the next calf.
     
  7. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Is her mother also feeding a calf?? That makes a big difference. If she is getting all the above, I'd say a good worming is the best thing you can do to help her put on weight. I am not used to Dexters, we have Jerseys, but I assume they are just like any other cow.... ;)
     
  8. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    See if you can stick a picture up here, I always thought our Dexters looked thin after calving, I think mostly because I was used to the plump pregnant look...haha.

    She might be just fine, just looking thin compared to pre calving.
     
  9. john in la

    john in la Well-Known Member

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    There is really to many variables for me to quote you a feed ration plus I really do not deal with milking cows a lot and know nothing about Dexters but here goes. Maybe someone like Up North can point out my mistakes if any.

    Lets assume your cow weighs 1000 lbs and she is giving 20 lbs of 4.0 butterfat milk a day. (a little over 2 gallons) We will use only protein to save space.

    A 1000 lb cow needs 1.3 lbs of protein a day for maintenance. Since this is her first lactation you need to add 20% because she is still growing. A cow giving 20 lbs of 4.0 milk needs 1.6 lbs of protein a day for milk production.
    That’s 3.16 lbs of protein a day.
    Now we need to figure how much hay/grass she is getting and what is the protein amount of this. From this we could figure her grain needed per day.

    I really do not mean to over whelm you with figures; just trying to show you how complicated of a question you are asking.

    On the other hand you have a year to get her ready for her next calf so just use some thumb rules and see how it works out.
    A milking cow on very good quality mixed hay needs a ration of about 14% protein. If her intake of this hay/grass is good (about 2 lbs per 100 lbs of body weight) you need to feed a cow giving 20lbs of 4.0 milk 5 lbs of feed a day. This would drop to 1 lb of feed if her hay/grass intake was 2.5 lbs per 100 lbs of body weight.
    You will also need to add some because she is still growing.
    Start there and see how she does. If she gets fat cut the amount of feed. If not add to the feed.

    Sure hope I was able to come across in a way that helps you figure this out and did not just fly right over your head.
     
  10. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    Flap , Flap, Flap..... :)
    Seriously I get what you're saying it's a complicated process to find out the perfect feed ration. :) We actually haven't milked Ita yet, since this is her first calf we wanted to get him on a good start and her a little fattened up first. We milk her mother once a day and get a steady gallon every day. Ita weighs around 450 lbs. Bridget her mother is around 650lbs, probably a little over that. Ita was 35 lbs when she was born which is a good size for a Dexter heifer. :) There's a huge range though in Dexters, people are breeding them for anything from really small to pretty long-legged and hefty.
    She has access to hay and grass at all times, how do you figure what they are actually eating?
    I think I will up her dairy ration for now. I got pictures of her just need to get them loaded and the computer is not co-operating. :)
     
  11. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    Yes her mother calved about 3 weeks before she did. Bridget only looked thin for the first couple of days though. She's always been a pretty hefty looking cow though. They were both due to be wormed about a month ago we just do it every 6 months but I couldn't find a wormer at the co-op that said it's safe for dairy cows and I haven't had time to get over to the vet. He's 30 minutes away but he gives me the right wormer for each cow already set up. We treated the Highlands, that we don't milk with I think Ivomec pour on. We had one heifer that looked a bit thin and she's picked up really well since worming.
     
  12. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    The picture you posted of the heifer indicates you are doing a fine job of feeding her. Just continue as you are.
     
  14. ozark_jewels

    ozark_jewels Well-Known Member Supporter

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    She looks good to me. Not too thin, not too hefty. Looks like a workin' mama to me. By the way, that is a *cute* calf.:)
     
  15. Up North

    Up North KS dairy farmers

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    Looks like a cow that did her job - she put the food into that good lookin' calf, LOL. With good grass pasture and a modest amount of grain she will be fat and shiny in no time. Summer heat , insects, and just calving can take weight off a cow - but nothing to be alarmed about. I would wait 60 days after calving, then breed her to suit your plan for when you want next calf.

    A simple unscientific rule of feeding is that Protien(Alfalfa or Soybean) produces Meat & Milk, but it burns fat OFF of an animal. High Energy Starches (Like Corn Grain or Silage, to a lesser degree Oats) will put fat ON an animal and hence improve body condition.
     
  16. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! He really is cute but he's a little bugger! He absolutely does not want to tame down like our heifer calf. :)
    She's looking better all the time so I'll get her out with the bull the next heat cycle or so. Thanks for your opinions and advice! :)
     
  17. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    i would have waited till she was 2 for the first breed not giving birth at 2 maybee thats why you needed to pull
     
  18. Patt

    Patt Well-Known Member

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    It depends on the breed I guess. :) With the Highlands they're supposed to be bred to calve at 3 yo. With the Dexters everything I've read is that they're supposed to be bred to calve at 2. :) But I probably would have waited a bit longer if I had it to do over again.