TOO STRAIGHT, Crippled you say?

Help Support Steer Planet:

OH Breeder

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Messages
5,954
Location
Ada, Ohio
"Even now, you'll find alot of people that'll argue with you that a 1300# steer that can get around the showring is sound enough... Those same people will try to tell you that even if that crippled steer wins a major show somewhere, that it has no impact on the soundness of future cattle - I call [email protected]#t on that one. There'll always be somebody (lots of somebodies, actually) trying to raise another one just like him, and more than willing to use his brothers and sisters as well as his ancestors to do it." DLD

I really agree with DLD, but, I have to say, too many times, that i have heard the judge say, it doesn't matter if they can walk, this is a terminal show. Now, my repsonse to that is, if this was a real feed lot and they could not move, how are they suppose to get to the feed bunk? THEY WOULDN"T!
I watched a beautiful calf last year show all year. He wasn't mine. But when he stood still, he was PICTURE perfect, great hair, great muscle and he won some majors across the country. But by the fall, he was so straight in the front and the back that it really hurt him at our state fair. The state fair judge mentioned and I was proud to hear, that he would love to move him up higher, but unfortunately he was just too straight coming and going.

What do you all think, structure important or not when looking at a terminal show?
 

red

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
7,850
Location
LaRue, Ohio
after dealing w/ this calf of mine, structure is very important. In our feedlot, if they can't get to the bunk, then the die. No if's ands or but's. You can't walk, you can't eat. Nobody going to hold their feed pail for them.
If maybe more judges would look at the big picture, maybe we wouldn't have such train wrecks!

Red
 

ROAD WARRIOR

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
1,865
Location
Iowa
Structure whether good or bad is genetic. Until the judges quit using this type of animal to win shows people will continue to breed more of them. Stop and think about how many thousands of "clubby" type calves are born every year, most of the time we only see the steers and everone says - it's just a show steer, who cares if he is too straight. What about the heifer mates to the steers, they do not all go to town as feed lot animals, many go back into the herd to be replacement females. How many times have you seen an add that claimed the sale animals dam is a full sister to the champion steer at whatever major show? The cycle continues on and on. The only cure is for our judges to step up to the plate and say we will only use structurally correct animals to win and the cripples will be placed at the bottom of the class even if they do have a butt as wide as the barn door. Ok off the soap box now, structure freak signing off now.
 

cowz

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
1,492
OH Breeder said:
"Even now, you'll find alot of people that'll argue with you that a 1300# steer that can get around the showring is sound enough... Those same people will try to tell you that even if that crippled steer wins a major show somewhere, that it has no impact on the soundness of future cattle - I call [email protected]#t on that one. There'll always be somebody (lots of somebodies, actually) trying to raise another one just like him, and more than willing to use his brothers and sisters as well as his ancestors to do it." DLD

I really agree with DLD, but, I have to say, too many times, that i have heard the judge say, it doesn't matter if they can walk, this is a terminal show. Now, my repsonse to that is, if this was a real feed lot and they could not move, how are they suppose to get to the feed bunk? THEY WOULDN"T!
I watched a beautiful calf last year show all year. He wasn't mine. But when he stood still, he was PICTURE perfect, great hair, great muscle and he won some majors across the country. But by the fall, he was so straight in the front and the back that it really hurt him at our state fair. The state fair judge mentioned and I was proud to hear, that he would love to move him up higher, but unfortunately he was just too straight coming and going.

What do you all think, structure important or not when looking at a terminal show?

Bravo.....I could not agree with you more!!!  Muscle + FUNCTION + industry accepted finish + some style = A great show steer.    What makes me crazy are the "steery looking" heifers, whose joints pop at 18 months of age.....and still win!  Longevity is a trait we tend to ignore for heifers in the show ring!  Whew...I feel so much better now!
 

showcattlegal

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
499
Location
gallup New Mexico
i really agree with everybody. they should look more a soundness then they do, i was taught to judge ground up, butt forword. if they can't get to the feed bunk they can't put on enough weight to be a market steer.
 

DLD

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2007
Messages
1,539
Location
sw Oklahoma
OH Breeder said:
"Even now, you'll find alot of people that'll argue with you that a 1300# steer that can get around the showring is sound enough... Those same people will try to tell you that even if that crippled steer wins a major show somewhere, that it has no impact on the soundness of future cattle - I call [email protected]#t on that one. There'll always be somebody (lots of somebodies, actually) trying to raise another one just like him, and more than willing to use his brothers and sisters as well as his ancestors to do it." DLD

I really agree with DLD, but, I have to say, too many times, that i have heard the judge say, it doesn't matter if they can walk, this is a terminal show. Now, my repsonse to that is, if this was a real feed lot and they could not move, how are they suppose to get to the feed bunk? THEY WOULDN"T!
I watched a beautiful calf last year show all year. He wasn't mine. But when he stood still, he was PICTURE perfect, great hair, great muscle and he won some majors across the country. But by the fall, he was so straight in the front and the back that it really hurt him at our state fair. The state fair judge mentioned and I was proud to hear, that he would love to move him up higher, but unfortunately he was just too straight coming and going.

What do you all think, structure important or not when looking at a terminal show?

Just to clarify, I'm going to add the rest of my post that OhB took that from;


"Telos, that's a good question. I'd have to say that many breeders have knowingly propagated these traits for a long time. A number of the popular A.I. sires for many years have been crippled by the time they were mature, yet they've continued to sell semen - lots of semen in many cases. Why? Because that's the kind that was winning in the showring - and not just the steer shows, or junior heifer shows, but in all classes and breeds, at all levels. Even people who profess not to be breeding for the showring very often choose straighter legged cattle because it's the "ideal" that we've lived with for so long. Thankfully, the showring is slowly but surely becoming more critical of overly straight cattle, but it'll take forever to filter out the genetics of some of those crippled cattle.

Even now, you'll find alot of people that'll argue with you that a 1300# steer that can get around the showring is sound enough... Those same people will try to tell you that even if that crippled steer wins a major show somewhere, that it has no impact on the soundness of future cattle - I call [email protected]#t on that one. There'll always be somebody (lots of somebodies, actually) trying to raise another one just like him, and more than willing to use his brothers and sisters as well as his ancestors to do it.

I guess that's my pet peeve. I can't stand cattle that are too straight, nor judges that use 'em. I can't condem anyone for breeding one - we get 'em occasionaly, too. But I do everything I can to avoid it. Got one this spring 3/4 Angus, 1/4 Simmy - not even "show ring bred" on either side... It just happens."


Right OhB, I've always said that if some of those steers had been in the feedlot, they'd never have gotten close to market weight or condition. It's alot different for show steers that are kept in a clean, controlled enviroment and get their feed and water brought to them. I really don't think we need to make excuses for any cattle that are structurally unsound, in any degree.
 

Show Heifer

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
2,221
Bone structure, muscle structure is genetic. If a "show steer" is too straight to move, then chances are so are his siblings.
My theory on heifers/cows is simple. By the time I get a replacement quality heifer on the ground, weaned, developed, AI'd or bred with bull, then calved out, THE LAST THING I WANT IS A COW THAT IS CRIPPLED BY THE AGE OF 5 or worse, 3-4. My cows are kepts well into their teens, and all are sound with good udders (OK, except for yella crip - but that isn't her fault - and she is 15).
Look at what the show ring did for hair. I can not think of ONE feeder/feedlot that WANTS hair. Let alone 3 inches long. Also don't know of a feeder that puts a whole lot of thought into those "goosey necks". In fact, had one tell me that long goosey necks usually translate into bad feed conversion! So I have no doubt that if the show ring is picking for straightness, that will definately trickle into the commercial side. Lets face it, think of the folks you know who are breeding their cows to clubbie bulls for their kids, relatives to show or to sell "locally" for youth projects. Not all of them are going to show, so the left overs are taken to the feedlot or salebarn.   I know of such folks that almost hide the fact they breed to clubbies so that when they take their calves to the barn, they won't be discounted.
 

justintime

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2007
Messages
4,346
Location
Saskatchewan Canada
I am joining this thread a little late, but one thing seems to strike  me as I read through everyone's comments. That is, everyone who has commented so far is complete agreement. I am sure you are not the only ones out there that think this way, and I suspect that those who agree with you would probably be in the majority position. I could not agree more with all of your comments. I am always conscience of the big picture and everytime I see one of these cripples, no matter how cute they are with there stove pipe legs, I make a mental note to never knowingly buy any of this steer's sisters.
If the majority are starting to feel this way, isn't it time to collectively start putting some pressure on those how select judges and the college types that train most of these judges? Wouldn't it be a novel thought to actually go to a cattle show and have to compete with real world cattle that owe their existence to being sound, fertile and productive. Don't take me wrong, we need the investor and hobby people as they bring $$$ into this business, but wouldn't it be closer to a perfect world if they could only play with the true " real good " ones. Everyone would win. I don't think anyone gets as upset when an actual real good animal beats you in class, but it kinda smarts to have some unfunctional animal whose only claim to fame is it's 3 inch hair, stand above you.
I don't care if it is a terminal show or not, numbero uno should be structural soundness. I am being to doubt if many people even know what a structurally sound animal should look like. The problem only intensifies when cattle are your hobby or game, versus raising these beasts for your living.
 

DLD

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2007
Messages
1,539
Location
sw Oklahoma
Herein lies a problem... As soon as this subject comes up, people start pointing fingers at "clubbies". Yes, it is an issue with alot of clubbie bred cattle, but not all of them. It is also an issue in breeding stock, of pretty much all breeds - I've seen it in Angus, Herefords, Charolais, Limi's, and Simmi's besides the Shorthorns, Maines and Chi's that are more commonly associated with the "clubbie thing". Consider Red's heifer that started the whole discussion, or the one of mine that I mentioned (3/4 Angus 1/4 Simmental, not a drop of anything "clubbie" in sight). The point I'm trying to make here is this: If you call it a "clubbie" problem, and think you're immune to it because you're not a "clubbie" breeder, you'd better think again, because it's pretty much everywhere. You want to blame the showring, fine, but we've seen bulls and heifers that are too straight in their joints and restricted in their movement win in the open shows, too.

Freaks (extremes) of any kind are rarely good for the industry, except on the occasions they're needed to breed to the extremes on the other end of the spectrum to try and bring the resulting offspring somewhere back into middle ground. Cattle can be attractive in their leg set, length of neck, hair, whatever... and still be functional and acceptable to all facets of the industry. The few of our calves that make it to the sale barn are always well accepted, because they're the right kind, and the buyers have gotten along well with them in the past. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that if we ever sell a "cripple", it's on the rail, not at the sale barn.

Edited to add this that I posted in the thread "How fat is too fat"


"Why do judges pick 'em too fat? (or any number of things, like structural unsoundness...) Just my opinion, but I think there are way too many people judging shows that have never had to make a living raising cattle. Yeah, I know, most have been "in the business" their whole lives, but there's alot of difference in the viewpoints of a college professor/judging team coach and someone who actually raises cattle (and not just show cattle) for a living. They all place their emphasis on traits that are important to them, it just happens that sometimes those traits are a little at odds with one another..."


In other words, I'm agreein' with you there JIT, just gettin' too lazy to type it all again... LOL

 

chambero

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
3,207
Location
Texas
How many calves do you folks have each year that are truly crippled to the point they can't really get around?  Front feet that don't point exactly the right direction don't count unless the calf truly can't walk.

We had our first one last year and I'm still not sure if it was injury or a defect.  I didn't notice it until the calf was around 3 months old. 

We have had exactly two calves with spastic paresis and the sire was shipped to the sale barn.

I detest structural issues.  But at same time, I wonder if the perception of the problem is a little overblown.  I haven't really seen calves in the show ring that I didn't think would do just fine in a feedlot.

We criticize "clubbies", but have you ever stopped and just looked at how sorry most commercial cattle are (at least down here).  Many are quite pathetic.  I remember a lot of purebred herefords and angus whose back legs went every which way.  That was why picking a steer with straight back legs used to be such a differentiating factor in the 80s. 

I think more than a few crippled show calves are a result of improper care as much as genetics.  If you fasten up a calf in a little stall, that has lots of muscle, you feed him till he gets too fat, keep him on hard ground all the time, etc. he's probably going to waddle a little bit at best.  I wouldn't have ever considered Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger to be balerinas in their heyday.  But it was still more a function of how they took care of their bodies than genetics.  There is a lot of that to cattle also.

That being said, I'm not using a bull that can't walk when he's four or five.  That's why I appreciated those photos so much from Hawkeye earlier this year.  Extremely revealing.
 

red

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
7,850
Location
LaRue, Ohio
We had a heifer that develped Spastic paresis at the farm. She's just barely able to make it to the feeder. Then we had the calf I pictured earlier. Cowboy feels she has a low grade infection & I'm tending to believe him. The PCN shot seemed to help quite a bit & we will give her 2 more shots. The back legs are still going to be an issue but I think she will at least make it to the feed bunk.

I'm like you though, now that I'm getting a better handle on what not to breed to, I hope to prevent this in the future.

Red
 

DLD

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 15, 2007
Messages
1,539
Location
sw Oklahoma
I agree Chambero that it is sometimes blown out of proportion, and that often times the problems in show cattle are caused or at least aggravated by the way they're fed, handled and maybe most often by incorrect hoof trimming. I have seen a few fat steers that buckled over on their knees and/or swung their back legs badly enough that I think they'd have had problems gaining well in a feedlot situation, or doing well enough to breed in a timely fashion in a range situation, but I agree that I haven't seen one win at a big show in awhile. I have seen a couple in the past, and still see it occasionally at smaller shows.

What do I consider "crippled" ? One that has enough trouble getting around that they don't keep up with their momma or the rest of the herd. So far, the one I mentioned that we have this time doesn't have that problem yet, but he bucks over on his knees and gets worse as he gets bigger (btw - he's noticeably bigger than his mates), I know it will eventually catch up with him though. Including a couple with spastic paresis, we prob'ly average 1 cripple every other year.

I do agree about the quality of structure of commercial cattle here, too (of course, we're not that far apart). Alot of them could use a little "straight legged" genetics to bring them back to respectable. I notice even some of the pb bull sales offer an awful lot of bulls with a whole lot of set in their back legs and badly in at their hocks - some of those breeders that don't make breeding decisions by looking at their cattle, they make 'em by looking at their pedigrees and e.p.d.'s... but that's a subject for another thread.
 

justintime

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2007
Messages
4,346
Location
Saskatchewan Canada
Last June, I was able to visit one of the major bull studs in the Midwest US, and I got to see several of the big name sires being used today , not only in the clubbie business but also some big names in the seedstock and breeding business. Quite frankly, I was quite shocked when I saw some of them. So shocked, in fact, that I wondered how the humane society had not stepped in, in a few cases. I will say, that I saw some very sound bulls, but I also saw some that were so crippled and in so much pain, that it really bothered me.... and still does, despite it being over a year ago.These bulls were there and still are there simply because they were trying to get every last drop of semen from them before they would have to be destroyed.  I recently heard that one of these big name bulls is still in the stud and still can hardly stand up and when he does, he is in total agony. To me this is totally wrong and it is totally inhumane. I would never use this bull simply because of this reason despite him having sired hundreds, maybe thousands of show winners. I am not going to mention any names, as they are not important in thsi discussion.
Structurally unsound cattle never seem to get better with age, only worse. So, if the bull or heifer you are considering is a little straight in their makeup at 10 - 12 months of age, they will most like get culled for this trait before they get very old. I have seen lots of bulls that go to town at 3- 4 years old simply because their feet and legs have not stood up. It is particularly bad is some breeds.
If I had to choose between a bull that had too much set to his legs, or one that is too straight, I would select the sickle hocked bull everytime. I am not sure if I have ever heard of a so called " sickle hocked " bull having to be shipped because of this structural issue, just as I have not heard of any straight legged bulls that weren't shipped because of their unsoundness.
It is interesting, when one starts to understand how the bovine body works, and each of it's different pieces work together, how unsoundness in one area, usually means there is unsoundness in another area as the animal tries to compensate. In my opinion, bulls that are too straight behind, usually are too straight in the angle of the shoulder, and this leads to all kinds of calving issues. So, when you select a sire, for the so called ultimate show look, you may also be selecting for some long nights in the barn pulling some of his calves.
 

Show Heifer

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 28, 2007
Messages
2,221
DLD, You are right, and I apologize for making the general statement about "clubbies". It is in all breeds, BUT it seems most (not all) are of clubbie genetics. I did not intend to imply that other breeds don't have structural issues.

Chambero, I see many herds through out the year and I think there are a TON of structural problems out there, but not just staightness. But crooked legs, bad hips, bad backs etc, but it seems those cows/bulls work for the farm they are on, and therefore, they keep them.  And to be honest, although they are not pretty, they seem to make money and that is all that counts on 98% of the farms.

The other day I was at a farm checking heifers and three of them (out of 15)  were literally dragging their hind legs due to straightness. The owner said they were the best heifers until weaning, and apparently "they were injured in the hip getting to the feed bunk."  When I mentioned spastic paresis, or structural problems,  he got the blankest look on his face. When I sent him some info on S.P. he called me and said "by golly, I think that is it", but 2 of them are AI'd to Dr. Who, so I can't sell them now."  His plan, carry them feed in a pen if he has to. great. just great.
:-\

JIT, I agree. Some of those bulls are alive only by the greed of their owners. How sad and pathetic. Maybe we as buyers of semen should demand to see these bulls when they are 2-3 yrs old.....instead of a nice, cute, hairy 5 month old.
 

Telos

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2007
Messages
2,267
Location
Dallas, Texas
Great discussion and one of my favorites to talk about. I agree with all of the above.

I do feel like it is partly a genetic issue and a result of what many breeders selected for upon visual appraisal. Too many breeders of cattle probably ignored and therefore compromised the structural integrity of some these cattle in order to achieve a particular type of animal with a certain look. I do think there are breeds or particular lines of cattle that never (or very rarely) produced this problem and there are breeds and lines that produce it more frequently.

In many ways the American Beef Cattle breeder should be highly commended for evolving these cattle over the last 30 or 40 years, but one of the most fundamental of economic traits, soundness needs more attention. All breeds of beef cattle have their genetic problems. What makes breeding good cattle so interesting is that  breeders have control of what they strive to achieve. It takes a lifetime some would say many lifetimes to achieve these goals in a breeding program and it can easily get off track from the mission of breeding consistency and function. Sometimes you have to backtrack your steps in order to come up with solutions to these problems that others helped to create.

I think a catalyst to this problem are the breeders who do not practice full disclosure. How can anyone possibly select according to information that is voided or incorrect by some of these breeders selling their seed stock. Most cattle breeders put a whole lot of faith in other producers to supply them with a sound product and in reality, they should. Why does it always seem to be the smaller cattle producer who has to start screaming there is a problem?



 

OH Breeder

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 14, 2007
Messages
5,954
Location
Ada, Ohio
I do feel it is a real problem.(in regards to blown out of proportion) WHen I was a young kid in 4-H we didn't want cattle that had feet point north and south. Cattle that were "too straight" or "stiff" went to the market. I can't count on my hands how many cattle I have seen win major shows that had structural defects. Red goes to alot of the same shows I go to and can tell you, at times those calves that do have issues are not over looked. We hear all kind of excuses as well. .....Yeah he is a tick straight but, overral muscle and appeal win out in this case...."
I guess, I just don't get it. I don't keep ANY cattle with structural defects not matter how good. My females feet all point the same direction and they all can move.
 

ROAD WARRIOR

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 9, 2007
Messages
1,865
Location
Iowa
Well said OH Breeder. While it is true that it is not just a problem in the steer game, they are the ones that are put in the public eye the most and somewhat set the acceptable limits for judges, ie.. If a judge picks one that is too straight in a steer show he will most likely pick one that is too straight in a breeding cattle show as well because it was "acceptable" at the last show he judged. I still believe that the good lord gave cattle all of those joints in their legs to use, not just to swing from the hips. I love to see a good one that flexes in his joints, moves out free and covers his tracks whether it is a steer, heifer or bull.
 

Telos

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2007
Messages
2,267
Location
Dallas, Texas
I also agree, Ohio Breeder and Road Warrior! It almost seems like many of some these cattle are moving in 'slow motion'. They have become so tight wound, they would have a hard time running up to a feed bunk even after missing a few days feeding.

It really doesn't matter what part of the country you live in. Cattle need to be agile and free moving to survive in most environments.

From my observation wich is limited, the more muscle you pack into these cattle and the combination of a heavier structure, i.e. more bone, the more likely you will encounter problems regarding soundness. Does anyone have any objective views on this issue? Is it strictly genetic or combination of how they are designed?
 

red

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2007
Messages
7,850
Location
LaRue, Ohio
After talking to Cowboy, I think a lot of it is genetic. I really wish I had visited w/ him earlier on what not to bred some cows to. He threatened to give me a lashing when he found out i had bred a Habanero cow to Cowboy Cut. said I was a bad, bad girl! heehee ;) Guess you can teach this old dog some new tricks.

Red
 

justintime

Well-known member
Joined
May 26, 2007
Messages
4,346
Location
Saskatchewan Canada
isn't it interesting that almost every good thing in our lives can also be detrimental if it is in excess. This goes for foods we like, to money, to muscle mass in cattle, to the size of our cattle , etc etc etc. The key word in almost everything we deal with in our lives, is OPTIMUM. Everything seems to be good to a certain point after which it can become harmful. What do y'all think?
 
Top