Birthweights

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shortyjock89

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What have the average birthweights for you guys been? We might just be lucky, but we haven't had a calf over 85 lbs yet.  Our herd bull averages about 70lbs BW and even our calves out of clubby bulls have been unassisted and average about 80 lbs.  I've heard alot of horror stories going around about how bad calving has been this year. Just wanted to know how true they were.  8)
 

red

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Our average was 88.33
We had a 120 pound heifer & a 70 pounder.
Actuall it was one of our better years for birth weights. Usually we have several go over 100 pounds, this year just the one.
All were AI'd.

Red
 

milkmaid56

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we had a lot of still born 130 pound bull calves... by a lot i mean four.  it turned out okay for one of the cows cause i stuck my veal calf on her and she accepted it within a day... makes  my life a lot easier!!  also had a thirty pound miniature brangus heifer... we thought she was going to be a twin but she was the only one that came out!  shes about a month old and weighs a whopping seventy pounds now (lol)
 

ELBEE

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This is a subject I have some very strong opinions on. The actual weight of a newborn is relative to so many factors it's not even funny.  Caving ease is what I measure. If you have been single (traiting) for birthweight, your ease to weight ratio will be much differant than ours. Here we have all but eliminated assistance in the adult cow herd, but we still see some 100+ birthweights. I still expect up to 100% assistance on first calf heifers because of the psychology (inexperience) of the animal. "Calving 1 heifer, have 1 calf puller".

Energy intake is often over looked and is one of the easiest management tools available, accounting for up to 33% of calving issues.

Environment accounts for another 1\3 of birth issues, can't be controlled, but can be expected/factored in.

So you have probably figured out by now I only expect the bull's genetics to be 17% responsible for calving problems. Don't blame the bull! But he can make the difference.
 

shortyjock89

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ELBEE said:
This is a subject I have some very strong opinions on. The actual weight of a newborn is relative to so many factors it's not even funny.  Caving ease is what I measure. If you have been single (traiting) for birthweight, your ease to weight ratio will be much differant than ours. Here we have all but eliminated assistance in the adult cow herd, but we still see some 100+ birthweights. I still expect up to 100% assistance on first calf heifers because of the psychology (inexperience) of the animal. "Calving 1 heifer, have 1 calf puller".

Energy intake is often over looked and is one of the easiest management tools available, accounting for up to 33% of calving issues.

Environment accounts for another 1\3 of birth issues, can't be controlled, but can be expected/factored in.

So you have probably figured out by now I only expect the bull's genetics to be 17% responsible for calving problems. Don't blame the bull! But he can make the difference.

We do kind of the same thing. We don't expect to help cows, but we are always ready to pull calves from a heifer.  About half the time we don't even need to help the heifers which is nice.  Most of our cows have calves without us even knowing it, and all of our cows that calve are at our house!
 

red

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I agree w/ you 100% Elbee!  have one line of cows (my Foreplay's) that just pass good maternal traits down the line. They all seem to be easy calvers, good milkers & breed back great. They generally need no assistance unless there is a major problem.
One of my biggest problems w/ former show heifers is that they can be a liitle too laid back when it comes to calving. They're so used to us working w/ them that they seem to think you're going to have the calf for them.
I've had some that have an 80 pound calf & need help w/ that, i've found they don't stay around very long. Others can calve almost anything without any problems. That 120 pound calf was born unassisted so I'll take that into consideration when figuring up my calving reports.


Red

 

aj

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My average bw on 80 cows has been running about 100#. This year we backed this off a little bit. I was guilty as anybody about chasing performance. My goal is to lower bwt's to at least under 90#'s. Commercial guys like bwt's around 80#. I used a red angus bull that had one assist on 15 shorthorn hfs. Biggest bw was 90# and lowest was 67#. He is a Lancer son we used naturally. The thing about my shorthorn cows is that they can lay down and have a 115# calf without assistence. But some cows that big of a calf is a disaster. I think one thing shorthorn cattle can offer is big pelvic area's. Of course there are exceptions and show heifers are a disaster waiting to happen. Leachman once said that just because a cow can have a 100 # calf doesn't mean you should run her that hard. Just because a car runs 100 mph doesn't mean you get in and run her that hard. If you have a show heifer that has big bw cattle in their pedigree it is my experience that you have to go extreme low bw bull to get buy the first calf even if it is a throw away. So many heifers are ruined in their first calf. I think one reason alot of shorthorn cattle have big bwt's and can have them successfully is the milking shorthorns that were introduced into the herdbook in the 70's. If we can get the shorthorn cattle bwt's down and make them solid red and defect free I think we have something to offer the industry. There is no truth in advertising on a.i. sires as they always weigh 80 some pounds and there calves always weigh 110#.  (pop)
 

stick

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I agree with Elbee and aj. We run some Shorthorns too, and ours seem to be able to handle calves that weigh more. Most are in the 85 to 95 pound range, but we have had heavier ones with no problems. I would just as soon have one 95 than 65 or 70. That's a 30 pound head start for the calf. For heifers we use lighter weight, proven calving ease sires. Rather have a smaller plain live one than that monster, can't miss dead one the first go around.

 

shortyjock89

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sjcattleco said:
Ever since we started using Elbee bulls  anything over 90# is very rare!...Maybe one a year is pushing 90+...

Same for us, only our herd bull is out of  Waukaru genetics (Goldmine x  Minnie [IWF Magic]).  We still like using the showcalf type bulls for AI, but it's hard to argue with the low birthweights, calving ease, and performance you can get out of those Waukaru  genetics.

We raised our bull, and we like to see how heavily his sire is used in the Commercial and Cow/Calf type operations. It makes the calves out of him easier to sell to those ol' boys that want those red, polled calves that grow like weeds! ;D
 

aj

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In regards to your quote at the bottom, Shorthorns were origonally called "Durhams". After the civil war a lot of longhorns were driven from texas north to the free grass country of colorado, kansas, wyoming and etc. As I understand it cattlepeople introduced angus, herfords, and durhams on the longhorn cows to improve cold weather adaptability and beef quality.Durhams were nicknamed shorthorns because their horns were shorter than the longhorns. I know in the late 70's people like alan sears and some shorthorn people tried to get the named changed back to durhams but of course the shorthorn name stuck. I think it is interesting that the longhorns were wild cattle. If you could rope one and put your brand on him he was yours. Alot of civil war veterans did this after the war.There were gun fights and some pretty salty boys butting heads on more than one occasion.
 

Showcalves

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Average birthweight around here is around 85 pounds.  Our cows can easily handle having 90+ pounders.  Have one cow who has had more than one over 100#s unassisted.  You'd never think it to look at her.  We do have one cow, former show heifer, who has an odd shaped pelvis and cannot calve as big a calf.  We've been breeding her to Ali and Cowboy Up with success the last few years.  We're careful not to keep cows that have consistent problems.  Figure we get enough grey hairs without calving season adding more.

Melinda
 

aj

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I noticed some local vets started checking for pelvic shape and defects. They don't measure pelvic's anymore. I know I went through a phase where I pelvic measured heifers. I noticed the big pelvic measured heifers almost always had bigger calves so it was a washout. I may be proven wrong but in general shorthorns have larger pelvic measurements. :-*
 
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