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Offline garybob

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2007, 12:19:01 PM »
Here is a question for you to consider.....
You are a purebred breeder with a herd of 50 breeding age females. You are looking for a herd bull to use in your herd as you only A.I. a few head each year. Your cows are almost all polled and about 1/2 of them are at least 3 generations polled breeding and the rest are two generations or less. You have three horned females in the herd.
In your search for the next great herd sire, you find two bulls that you really like. Both have excellent bloodlines and both are selling in the same sale.The only problem is that the one you like the best is horned while the other bull is polled and not quite as good. You also know that the chances are that the horned bull will sell for considerably less money than the polled bull will. You also want to try to produce some bulls that can be developed to sell, so you are conscience of the discrepancy that often exists between horned and polled animals.
THE QUESTION IS>>>> WOULD YOU TRY TO BUY THE HORNED BULL AS YOU THINK HE IS THE BEST BULL.... OR WOULD YOU PASS HIM BY BECAUSE HE IS HORNED AND TRY TO PURCHASE THE POLLED BULL? Have at it.....
what gets me, is all the good, scurred bulls that get horned price at these sales. It's amazing how many life-timer  ol-timers, don't know that a scurred bull is homozygous polled. Got that bit of info from a Canadian website.

Offline knabe

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2007, 12:29:59 PM »
garybob, what gets me, is many oldtimers don't know what dominant or recessive is and think it's a joke about their relationship.  then when you try and explain it, they don't want to know and say that's why I just buy polled.  they want the breeder to do it for them if horns are a concern.  my old beef instructor (horned hereford breeder) believed the polled gene was linked to relaxed prepuce's and to cull against it, particularly with sheathy bulls.  nothing like dragging an infection magnet around thorn high.  we have russian thistle, and it's about that high.  now, with TJ's cattle, that would be a real scraper. ;D  any observations about that in the lowlines TJ?

Offline SRU

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2007, 01:07:28 PM »
does anyone clip the hair first?  the problem i had with pasting them in the pasture, is that momma would come lickety split and lick it off, so you needed to keep them separate for a few minutes.  amazing how fast that stuff burns through to the muscle if you ignore it.

I clip 'em and paste 'em - I lock the babies in a pen for a couple of hours and then just wipe the paste off - don't want to burn the tongue or udder of the unsuspecting mother!

CPL while I do agree with much of what you said and we are all busy, if cattlemen don't have time to "cull bad females, monitor progeny, doctor up cows/calves that come down with something, etc" then maybe they should consider getting out of the business - shouldn't the first priority of a good stockperson be taking care of the stock??.



you need  to come spend some time in cow-calf country.  i would be very interested in your observations after a week of local stocker auctions.
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Offline Zach

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2007, 01:10:25 PM »
Ive got the calf of the cow calf championship....theres only two  (:))
The livestock (show) industry is a tough one- if you've never had anything worth a damn you might as well go on the internet and rundown everybody you can.

Offline knabe

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2007, 01:31:57 PM »
i agree SRU, i'm not in the real world, it's just a hobby, meat for me, with a little genetics on the side.  as for reality, check this out.

http://www.lippardauctions.com/archived_auction_detail.php?ID=358894

this place was repossessed by the bank.  it was financed for 430,000 by a son of a family friend.  it was our current leasee's home place when he was a kid and his mom sold it years ago.  supposedly there was some shenanigans about "stolen" cattle, 250 of them, but supposedly he stole them himself, there is some lawyering going on, he may or may not be in jail.  i'm having a hard time figuring out why the bank would finance this operation, unless the collatoral was good, as it was probably the kids dad who put something up.  that is a heck of a lot of investment in a short amount of time to feed cattle and pay it off with little margin for error.  this is just right near our family's home place (2 miles).  i'm not sure i would have located a feed yard there with such a nice home.  it kinda "overcapitalized" the income generation of the land.   most guys around there don't have a fancy home like that even on the property, usually just decent outbuildings.  the land around this area is owned by people in their 70s-90's, and there's trouble for sure coming on home front in upstate OK.  seems like the guy wanted all the fixin's before he started.  we are currently negotiating with a young farmer with similar aspirations, but a little more restrained.  my uncle worked for about 40 years for a guy whose smallest part of the operation was a feedlot that size. it was there i saw my first diagonal bar feedbunks and hyrdralic squeeze chute.  that same guy is basically retired and has about 200 head of horses for "fun" which are draining him, but i guess he doesn't care.  him and his wife have no kids, and their nephews aren't interested in farming.  he's whittled down his property considerably to pay for medical bills.  he's the guy who had the sludge pond facility and sold it for a little over a million.  one of the best operators i ever knew.  we earn 0-5k per 1/4 section around those parts on wheat ground, less on pasture, less on gas/oil leases.  we still have buffalo wallows on our pasture.  i live in dream land in CA and have no connection to reality.

Offline CPL

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2007, 03:22:46 PM »
CPL while I do agree with much of what you said and we are all busy, if cattlemen don't have time to "cull bad females, monitor progeny, doctor up cows/calves that come down with something, etc" then maybe they should consider getting out of the business - shouldn't the first priority of a good stockperson be taking care of the stock??.[/color][/b]

Ok maybe I didn't do a good job in my first post. What I meant to come across was that some commerical producers don't have time to attend to unnecessary problems (or the unwanted), but they are forced TO MAKE time. Having to dehorn a few calves from the crop vs not having to dehorn any at all, to some commerical producers not having to is better.


Offline knabe

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2007, 03:55:20 PM »
i guess i'll answer the question.  it seems like what you are after is something you don't have, you want to maximize chances by putting it in a lot of females, and don't want to wait 3 generations to eliminate the gene again.  do you want one bull to service more than 40 cows, that might be steep.  i think several breeds are in the midst of this decision.  i think you should think about what you want to breed his offspring to, rather than worrying about him.  you could breed polled half brother's to polled half sister's if you really thought this bull was something.  you could even have those offspring tested for the gene and to minimze costs, whittle down the bull side to 3 or 4, both polled and horned, and test all the offspring cows, and repeat. the bull would have to have an awful lot to do that.  i think you are in a catch 22, develope them polled offspring with more money later, or more money now with a polled bull, but slower progress down the road.  then you could say do both, most don't have that luxury based on purebred average herd size.  it seems like there is a shortage of homozygous polled bulls out there that are not angus and you would like to capitalize on that.  i think of it this way, will you be able to cover costs with what you sell to a producer who must cover his costs to not dehorn.  figure out what that is in your area, see if you have the time to go the long route for your debt service, vs the debt service of buying the polled one now and waiting for someone else to offer another polled bull.  another alternative is just AI more for a short time, don't worry about the bull, just get one, and get a better one later with more decsion flexibility.  perhaps there is a polled bull somewhere in a herd that has been used for two years you can get for the same price or less than the current polled one.  which begs a question, do people do that? he would obviously need to be trich'd, then again, you would be introducing older genetics that someone else had already had, and he wouldn't be new, but again, what if you could get a better older bull than either of those original two.  or do these bulls even exist without semen sales.  seems like a tipping point in economics.  you are battling breeding vs economics.

Offline chambero

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2007, 04:30:37 PM »
The average commercial producer probably has under 50 head and typically doesn't have the time or more importantly the facilities to do some of these things.  They want a cow to have a calf every year and probably never do another thing to them besides load them up and take them to the sale barn.  That certainly isn't ideal, but it's reality. 

We have a preference for polled bulls, and will sometimes buy one that is"almost as good" as a horned mate.  Sounds ridiculous until you consider the fact that outword appearance doesn't necessarily track exactly with quality of offspring.  Often times slight visual differences in shape and muscle are within the margin of error for passing those traits on to progeny.  You don't really know for sure which bull is going to have the best calves.  Obviously common sense has to be applied here.  We do have plenty of horned cows and a couple of horned bulls.

Commercial ranches who truly make their living from their cattle can't afford to cull every imperfect animal from their herd.  After sorting cows a few weeks ago, we have one pasture of toothless grannies we are trying to stretch one more year out of and the infamous Dolly Parton pasture that we won't keep heifer calves from.  Their momma's don't have photogenic udders but they have and wean a calf every year. 

Offline Show Heifer

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2007, 09:01:03 PM »
I didn't read all the replies, but here is mine:
Keep looking for a good polled bull. And don't buy either of the ones your looking at.

Reaons: The people I deal with are commercial producers (90%). They don't like horns. Period. Yeah, you can paste them, but the requires seperating the cow and calf, and who wants to do that when it is 10 degrees, sleeting, and you have 75 more head to come? You can wait and dehorn them later, but if you have done it once, you wouldn't look forward to it ever again. Nothing short of NASTY. Or you can sell them with horns and take a big hit at the barn.
Or you can have them surgically dehorned and pay $50 per head and remove stitches 10 days later and have each calf take 45 minutes. Those just are not options for the fellas I know.

So keep looking for that good polled bull, especially if your main clients are commercial guys.

Happy hunting!! (clapping)
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Offline aj

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2007, 09:32:24 PM »
Unless you are in a really tough enviroment(cows fighting coyotes off in the desert) I think horns should be frowned on.I know of operations in the nebraska sandhills that check calving cows once a week. They don't mess around with big bw's and they aren't going to paste calves. I would think that there would be data out there that dehorning calves at weaning hurts profit in terms of labor, sickness,stress, rate of gain and on down the line.Death rate, grading and on and on. I once heard a guy say that polled bulls won't bring more money but you won't be able to sell a horned one. However in the hobbie world and showring world horns are not a problem because its just part of the glamour show and can be dealt with.  (dog)
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Offline DL

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2007, 10:07:41 PM »
OK - the average herd size in Texas (a BIG cattle state - eh) is 35; the average herd size in MI (not a big beef state is 13) - the vast majority of cattle herds (like more than 85%) are less than 100 head. ANimal welfare and good stockmanship are becoming huge issues that may not be decided by the people with cattle but by the people who eat at McDonalds or buy their milk at Kroger. Despite the fact that when compared to dairy, swine, and poultry, beef cattle have been little harrassed by the animal rights wing - but don't think we are immune. This is a powerful well funded group of people with lost of popular support.

A second big supermarket (Kroger? can't remember) is no longer buying "hormone laced milk" - milk from cows that were given bST to increase production - it is of course not hormone laced and they did say that it was a consumer preference not a science based decision.

I am not picking on you CPU but you brought up a point that I think we all need to think about - if we are not excellent caretakers of our stock someone will tell us how to do it. If we don't take the lead in welfare issues we will be forced to by McDonalds or Krogers or someone - it is something we need to think about. The notion that cattlemen do not have time to doctor sick animals or check on animals is pretty abhorent to me - it is our responisibility to care for our animals and we should take it very seriously.

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Offline justintime

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2007, 12:12:35 AM »
Lots of good discussion here and lots of different views. Guess that is what makes the world go round, and it is good we all don't think alike. If we did, most auction sales would be kinda tough as we all would want the same animals.

I brought this topic up simply because I often see very powerful bulls that almost don't get a bid at sales simply because they are horned. I usually have anywheres from 5 to 8 herdsires running around here and I have never been afraid to use a horned bull if I thought his bloodlines were outstanding and he was a tremendous beef bull. I have enough polled cows that if I use a horned bull, I will get a minimal number of horned offspring. I prefer polled cattle for all the obvious reasons, but I will say that my best cattle ALMOST ALWAYS have a horned anscestor  fairly close up in the pedigree. 
Most people are even afraid of buying a scurred bull. The polled gene and the scurred gene are two seperate genes. Buying a smooth polled bull is not a 100% guarantee that he will poll all his calves, unless you are buying an Angus. Buying a scurred bull doesn't necessarily mean he will sire horned calves. He will if he is heterozygous polled.

I have always found that any horned bulls I have produced , always have the biggest testicles in the bull pen. I have absolutely no idea if this is just chance or if there is more to this. We always do breeding soundness exams on all the bulls and our records show this year in and year out.
I normally do not keep many horned bulls unless they are in the top end of the crop. I still have a few bull buyers who want a horned bull. They feel that they will get better cows from a horned bull. Again, I have no idea if they are dreaming this up but when asked they really believe it. We have always used horned bulls on our black cows and we have only had two horned calves out of 5 calf crops ( both dams were Maine/Angus, so they were heterozygous polled)

I ran a picture of a horned bull on this site  a few weeks ago, that we purchased in Denver. I was almost embarrassed how little I had to pay for him. His dam was a US National Champion and he was an outstanding bull. I am running his picture again. He was turned out with 38 polled cows and we had 3 horned calves in his first and only calf crop ( we lost him shortly after his first breeding season) Most of my polled herd sires, left as many horned calves. I have no doubt that if he had been a polled bull, he would have brought a 5 figure price which would have been many times what I paid for him.

I agree with many of the comments made about most everyone preferring polled cattle. That is true. We should be trying to strive for this but I do think there are some good reasons to use a horned bull or incorporate  some horned blood , at least in some breeds of cattle.... and you certainly can save some money  along the way.
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Offline aj

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2007, 07:50:32 AM »
That is interesting about the larger scrotals on horned bulls. Thats what I used to here about between the horned and polled herfords. I think there is bound to be some quality issues because it is similar to black color in say the simmental breed. People were so charged up to have black simmentals they throwed quaility awy to use the black bull that maybe wasn't quite as good. I think the same same happens in the polled-horned deal. There is always tradeoffs in cattle breeding. If you linebreed for small birth weights you will probably decrease pelvic area and if you linebreed for yearlling growth , you are more apt to decrease fleshing ability and on and on. I think the polled condition is well worth the struggle in the cow calf industry as a whole. That is why there is no such perfect animal for the industry , only near perfect animals for certain traits or phenotypes. I do know that my Durham Red bull calves show bigger scrotals and they are of course polled(and earlier maturing). Please excuse my spelling. ;D
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Offline DL

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2007, 08:48:13 PM »
OK - devils advocate here - the devil is out!!  I'm the sub???

If we all agree that no one really wants extra work - we all want calves that are born unassisted, bounce up and start nursing - maybe we should work on creating pre castrated steers (eunuch bovines...a new market) think of how much less work would be involved in not having to castrate them ...sorry, I digress

If we all agree that no one really wants extra work - we all want calves that are born unassisted, bounce up and start nursing - then how can we possibly justify selling carrier (TH or PHA) animals? If they are managed "properly" they should be tested - if they are not managed "properly" there could be a disaster - this would be extra work, eh?

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Offline knabe

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Re: Horned vs Polled
« Reply #29 on: August 09, 2007, 01:26:06 PM »
i think the analogy here is for the commercial cattleman, they with perhaps the viewpoint that the breeder should be doing this work.

perhaps we could find a gene similar to the cats where a third chromosome is presnt in the tricolor cats that makes the males sterile and without the 2ndary male characteristics.  that way, all you would get from this cross is either "steers", or fertile females as they don't have the "extra" chromosome.

a similar phenomenum is found in humans without the coloring scheme, but with other characteristics

http://anthro.palomar.edu/abnormal/abnormal_5.htm

has any bull or cow ever been identified that had an extra chromsome?

 

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