Calving ease

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DL

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RW said: "But you have to remember that everyone has their own deffanition of calving ease. To some a calving ease bull is one that doesn't hip lock every calf that they produce. My deffanition of calving ease is zero assistance on heifers other than perhaps irregular presentation".

So I thought this was a good topic - what is your definition of calving ease....(RW you can post another one if you want  ;D)
 

farmboy

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to me its not going to kill the heifers and not worth losing a good cow.Dad thinks 70 pounds is big...but i dont blame him, we dont have a vet real close or one reasonable with cattle and/or we dont have the nice facilites of a bigger operation  :-\
 

Jill

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Calving ease to me has absolutely nothing to do with weight, even though that is what most folks associate it with.  We have had hard pulls on 60 pound calves and have calves that come easily at 100 pounds.  In my opinion calving ease has more to do with the structure of the calf.  The big head, big shoulders and the hip locks are what get us in trouble.  I also think calving ease has as much to do with the cow as with the bull, we try and give the bull alot of the credit/blame, but I know what we have found like anything else, some bulls are dominant and some bulls it will go back to what the cow is.  The last herd bull we had was an excellent example of this, the cows that had 60 pound birthweights had 60 pound calves, the ones on the last end had large ones.  I guess in the end, we have cows that are built to calve, we have never done a C-Section and we breed to alot of the clubby bulls.  We do stay away from the clubbies on heifers, but we don't really look for calving ease either, I want a live, healthy calf, but I don't see any reason to waste a year of productivity just to get a sale barn calf.
 

Telos

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Calving ease is when you go to search for the calf puller to assist a first calf heifer and by the time you get back she has already had it on her own.

Oh...How I love Saturday nights on SteerPlanet!
 

TJ

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Calving ease is when you calve out several cows & heifers over the course of a few years, but you no longer remember what it's like to pull a calf!   
 

Show Heifer

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Calving ease is when you don't have to WORRY about calving....let alone own a calf puller!!!
Weight means nothing to me, shape is everything. Its that "round hole, square peg" theory. My herd bull throws big stretchy calves from 80-115. Never pulled a one. Yet AI'd to a calving ease angus, and pulled a 84 pounder.

Side note: why are most bulls (of any breed) under 95 pounds and born unassisted, yet their steer counter parts were removed with c-sections?  ???
 

ROAD WARRIOR

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There is alot of difference between calving ease and BW. I have had bulls that have average BW on their calves of mid to upper 80's that I have used on heifers. I totally agree that the shape of the calf at presentation plays a large role in calving ease. A true calving ease bull to me is one that you never have to pull calves from unless there is a irregular presentation. As far as actual BW goes if I could pick the perfect weight it would be 78#s for heifers and 85#s for cows mostly because the calves would be easily marketable as breeding stock. We also need to remember that the cow plays a role in the ease of calving - small pelvic area = potential calving problems that many blame on the bull.
 

TJ

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TJ said:
Calving ease is when you calve out several cows & heifers over the course of a few years, but you no longer remember what it's like to pull a calf!   

Definition #2...  It's what happens about 270-280 days after you breed your virgin heifers to a fullblood Lowline bull.   ;) ;D (clapping)

BTW, RW makes some good points about calf size, calf shape & how the female all play a huge role.  They all DO play a role in calving ease.   

IMHO, if you were to cull every bull & every female that you had to assist at least 1 their offspring, you would eventually "breed out" calving difficulty.   Doc Hatfield (Oregon Country Beef & Hatfield's High Desert Ranch), out in Oregon, actually did this back in the 70's, 80's & 90's with his composite cattle (Tarentaise X Angus X Hereford) & he was very successful in eliminating calving problems with in his herd & many commercial buyers claimed those genetics helped their herds also.  It was without a doubt, the strictest & the toughest breeding program that I have ever been made aware of.  
 

shortdawg

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I mentioned in my article about the way a calf is made determining how easy it's born. Many times you see a short 80# calf have to be pulled and a lond sided 90-100# calf come unassisted. I like the (CED)  portion of the EPD"S because it takes this aspect into consideration. My version of calving ease is an unassisted birth period.
 

pigguy

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well my dad think s70lbs is big,for cows also. we ai about 30 out of 300 cows each year. and me and my brother pick out all the bulls. and last year we A.I.ed to salute. he threw about 110 lb calves and i thought my dad was going to die when i told him what the first calf weighed. but all of them came out with no help.

but what i say is when they will throw a 60-110lbs calf with no help and no problems
 

ELBEE

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Lana get all the soap boxes you can find, I'm climbin up! :D

Kids, before your first calf is born, buy a calf puller and learn how to properly use it!

Charlie Michaels, retired from KABSU, used to start his lectures with; "The best money you can make is pulling calves". He got everyones attention, and I hope I have yours!

Calving ease is a relative term, and I think alot like Jill. I would have no problem pulling every (first) calf, if I had the opportunity, but some are born unassisted no matter how close I watch. These are the ones I sometimes find smothered in placenta, chilled, or caught under the only low place in the fence. Cows are a whole different matter.
I brake down calving ease into 1\6's, 16% bull genetics, 16% maternal genetics, 16% environment, 16% nutrition, 16% bovine instinct, and 20% human error (just plain stupidity, and that is a whole different thread). The national average death loss is 15%, so please don't stack two of these factors up!

To me calving ease is getting a vigorous, healthy calf up and sucking, by any means short of C-section, without physical harm to it or it's mother 

 

DL

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ELBEE said:
Lana get all the soap boxes you can find, I'm climbin up! :D

Kids, before your first calf is born, buy a calf puller and learn how to properly use it!

Charlie Michaels, retired from KABSU, used to start his lectures with; "The best money you can make is pulling calves". He got everyones attention, and I hope I have yours!

Calving ease is a relative term, and I think alot like Jill. I would have no problem pulling every (first) calf, if I had the opportunity, but some are born unassisted no matter how close I watch. These are the ones I sometimes find smothered in placenta, chilled, or caught under the only low place in the fence. Cows are a whole different matter.
I brake down calving ease into 1\6's, 16% bull genetics, 16% maternal genetics, 16% environment, 16% nutrition, 16% bovine instinct, and 20% human error (just plain stupidity, and that is a whole different thread). The national average death loss is 15%, so please don't stack two of these factors up!

To me calving ease is getting a vigorous, healthy calf up and sucking, by any means short of C-section, without physical harm to it or it's mother 

ELBEE - I can only find 6 soap boxes - is that enough?

Agree 100% - the smartest thing a person with cows can do is get a set of chains and learn how/when to use them and get a calf puller and learn how and when to use them. I cringe when I hear people talking about hooking the heifer up to the tractor to pull the calf - and you think this is good for the heifer???

I often will pull calves when I see feet - do I need to? Maybe maybe not.

Like your definition - actually like all the interpretations!


"To me calving ease is getting a vigorous, healthy calf up and sucking, by any means short of C-section, without physical harm to it or it's mother "
 

Dale

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My grandpa had black Angus at least from the 40's through the early 70's and never saw a cow calve (all on pasture).  That's calving ease (no assistance & usually 100% calf crop on 20 some cows).  I call those cattle "Angus Classic." 

Then he purchased a larger, Continental-breed, light-muscled bull; after losing some calves at birth, he invested in calf pullers and got all cows in the barn to calve with the assistance of a brother-in-law, also age 70+.  That is NOT calving ease or problem free.  Before Granddad passed on, he replaced breed "X" bull with Angus and did not use the pullers again. 

Some of you are sure right that calving ease is not entirely birth weight--I recall giving a slight assist to a 68# calf born from a first-calf heifer that must have had a small pelvis?  The worst calving season we ever had was after a feed salesman talked us into feeding protein to cows, when they already had plenty of good grass. 

 

TJ

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ELBEE said:
Lana get all the soap boxes you can find, I'm climbin up! :D

Kids, before your first calf is born, buy a calf puller and learn how to properly use it!

Charlie Michaels, retired from KABSU, used to start his lectures with; "The best money you can make is pulling calves". He got everyones attention, and I hope I have yours!

Calving ease is a relative term, and I think alot like Jill. I would have no problem pulling every (first) calf, if I had the opportunity, but some are born unassisted no matter how close I watch. These are the ones I sometimes find smothered in placenta, chilled, or caught under the only low place in the fence. Cows are a whole different matter.
I brake down calving ease into 1\6's, 16% bull genetics, 16% maternal genetics, 16% environment, 16% nutrition, 16% bovine instinct, and 20% human error (just plain stupidity, and that is a whole different thread). The national average death loss is 15%, so please don't stack two of these factors up!

To me calving ease is getting a vigorous, healthy calf up and sucking, by any means short of C-section, without physical harm to it or it's mother   

I totally agree about owning a set of chains & knowing how to use them.  I also think it is good to have a calf puller around, because sometimes things can happen.

Obviously, many wont agree with me, but here it goes anyway...

I absolutely can not agree "that the best money you can make is pulling calves" & I don't care how respected he was or how much clout he had... I just don't agree with him   Ironically, we/I used to think that way, because a consultant in Iowa convinced us that we need to use bulls with "more power" on our heifers.  Well, that would have been OK, but he wasn't around when it was time to calve them out.  And yes, the calves looked good in the fall, but at what cost?  After only a few years of doing it, I now know better.  

The best money you can make is having a 100% live calf crop (or close to it for those exposed) & all born unassisted (or close to it), all the heifers actually breed back (or close to it) & close to 1/2 of them breed back 1 heat cycle earlier because they didn't have problems calving & you end up with a 100% crop (or close to it for females exposed) the very next year.  Less labor, less time, less Vet bills, less fuel (unless they are right out your back door or you are riding a horse), less infections, less stress on you & the female, etc., etc.  

A live calf is always worth more than a dead calf.  A bred female is always more productive than an open female. Nothing is always 100% over a period of time, but I do think 95+% over the long haul is VERY doable!!

Anyway, all that is just my opinion, based on experience doing it both ways & in between too!  Some will disagree & that is OK.  

Just my opinion... feel free to disagree.

TJ    
 

TJ

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Dale said:
My grandpa had black Angus at least from the 40's through the early 70's and never saw a cow calve (all on pasture).  That's calving ease (no assistance & usually 100% calf crop on 20 some cows).  I call those cattle "Angus Classic." 

Then he purchased a larger, Continental-breed, light-muscled bull; after losing some calves at birth, he invested in calf pullers and got all cows in the barn to calve with the assistance of a brother-in-law, also age 70+.  That is NOT calving ease or problem free.  Before Granddad passed on, he replaced breed "X" bull with Angus and did not use the pullers again. 

Some of you are sure right that calving ease is not entirely birth weight--I recall giving a slight assist to a 68# calf born from a first-calf heifer that must have had a small pelvis?  The worst calving season we ever had was after a feed salesman talked us into feeding protein to cows, when they already had plenty of good grass. 

Sometimes going "old school" isn't a bad thing to do.  I'm doing it right now with really old Angus genetics & Angus crossbreds & I am not going back. 

We also had a "feed salesman" put us on "a nutrition program"... never again!!


 

DL

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[/quote]

I totally agree about owning a set of chains & knowing how to use them.  I also think it is good to have a calf puller around, because sometimes things can happen.


A live calf is always worth more than a dead calf.  A bred female is always more productive than an open female. Nothing is always 100% over a period of time, but I do think 95+% over the long haul is VERY doable!!

[/quote]

Aw common TJ - do you really think a live calf is worth more than a dead great one?? You silly man you ! ;D ;D
(for those of you who can't see my face or hear the inflection in my voice - this is a joke!)
 

TJ

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I totally agree about owning a set of chains & knowing how to use them.  I also think it is good to have a calf puller around, because sometimes things can happen.


A live calf is always worth more than a dead calf.  A bred female is always more productive than an open female. Nothing is always 100% over a period of time, but I do think 95+% over the long haul is VERY doable!!

[/quote]

Aw common TJ - do you really think a live calf is worth more than a dead great one?? You silly man you ! ;D ;D
(for those of you who can't see my face or hear the inflection in my voice - this is a joke!)

[/quote]

On second thought, I realized that I may have misspoken.  It is possible that the dead great calf may have died after eating golden nuggets or a diamond rings.  :p  Any takers on proforming the autopsy!!  :p ;) ;D (lol)  :p 


 

red

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I am thrilled when I have a calf under 100 pounds! That said calving ease to me is when the cow/heifer can calve on her own without putting stress on the calf. I've had cows that can have a 120 calf w/ no assistance. The calf is up & drinking within minutes. Also have had cows that can't get a 75 pound calf out of them without help. Their calves seem to be slow starters & are weak from the beginning.
Yes, we own both a puller & ob straps. We'll use them whenever we feel there isn't enough progress being made or the calf is under going stress. I want live bouncy calves & cows that can breed back!

Red
 

ELBEE

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TJ, my only wish is that we were closer to this "Bovine utopia". Yes, Mr. Michaels was a product of the 60's-70's exotic revolution, and I believe the thoughts he was eluding too, was. That if your willing to use these (over the top) bulls, you better be prepared to assist.

But, on the other hand! If I can "save" the occasional calf by helping with the instinct problems heifers, and some cows have. (I think anyone who calves heifers en-mass know what I mean) I will put hands on!
 
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