What is your definition of femininity?

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justintime

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As I mentioned in a previous posting, I often think that the word " femininity" is oftentimes one of the most misused words in the beef industry. I once asked the owner of an excellent commercial herd of 1500 cows, what his definition of femininity was. He replied that in his world, a female that gets bred, and calves without assistance,cares for her calf, milks well yet is able to maintain her body condition, weans a calf in the top 50% of the calf crop, and does all this within a 12 month period until she is 10 years old.... is a very feminine female. I am sure that his definition is different from many others. What is your definition of femininity or what does femininity look like in your opinion?
 

DL

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justintime said:
As I mentioned in a previous posting, I often think that the word " femininity" is oftentimes one of the most misused words in the beef industry. I once asked the owner of an excellent commercial herd of 1500 cows, what his definition of femininity was. He replied that in his world, a female that gets bred, and calves without assistance,cares for her calf, milks well yet is able to maintain her body condition, weans a calf in the top 50% of the calf crop, and does all this within a 12 month period until she is 10 years old.... is a very feminine female. I am sure that his definition is different from many others. What is your definition of femininity or what does femininity look like in your opinion?

Well I have to agree with his definition but I would add - she looks like a cow, you would never mistake her for a steer, in a perfect world whe might even be considered "pretty"  - she has adequate bone and muscle (not excessive), good sized feet to travel, and the capacity to carry, have, and feed a calf without dropping condition. Basically she looks like a female (someone once told me you never define something using the same word, so I will add she looks like a cow)
(cow)
 

ELBEE

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It's weaning time here, and I feel this is a key time in the life cycle of our calves. Long story short, when I look out across the herd I think it should be easy to differentiate between the male and female calves.
 

justintime

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I agree fully that your heifer calves should look more like the cheerleaders than they do the brutes on the defensive line, but is an ultra clean neck and brisket a requirement for a feminine female or is this just 'man made" eye candy? Are we sometimes selecting for some degree of fraility if we continually select long necked ultra clean fronted ( often referred to as being goose fronted) females? 
I am only asking these questions to stimulate some thought and discussion. Personally, I think that there should be no good reason that a show winning heifer cannot be a great maternal trouble free female once her show career is over. Too many times, this is not the case, and there has to be a reason for this. Is part of the problem that too many judges don't understand where femininity ends and fraility begins? Just a little food for thought, and I would like to hear your opinions.
 

OH Breeder

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Feminie to me-
Deep bodied, long necked, good uddered, free moving, soft made are thing I attribute to feminine females. Pictured is the visual of what i like to look at when i think feminine. PHysical functionality is another story. You can have all these physical traits and yet they aren't good mothers. Much like the person you quoted JIT in your original post, Functional Feminity is more important in my mind.
 

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DL

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Now I know that some people really liked the Tina Turner cow - but phenotypically she turns me off - she is not balanced - she looks like a hairy barrel with short legs and a skinny little neck and a not pretty head - I would not enjoy looking out in my pasture and seeing her.

JIT - I think in many instances people are taking their heifers to extremes - the androgenous IW heifers that look like hairy tanks but win in the show ring to the frail goosey necked females that scream feed me....I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder but those make me think they will probably need a neck brace
(lol)
 

afhm

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In one name Cookie. (For those of you not familiar the Limousin cow that was the foundation and supreme cash cow of John Sullivan's herd)
 

Jill

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I am going to be a little bit prejudice here, but I think this is my ideal as feminine, she hasn't calved yet, but she bred on the 1st AI to Money Man, so we'll see on that but she is soft made with a big foot and bone underneath her, I know not everyone likes this type and some of the judges we have seen would like to see her slick fronted, but this is what makes a cow at my house.
 

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DL

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This heifer due to calve in Jan to Midas makes a cow at my place - she is 9 months in this picture - need to get out with the camera more - she looks like she might work at Jills to  ;)
 

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TJ

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dragon lady said:
This heifer due to calve in Jan to Midas makes a cow at my place - she is 9 months in this picture - need to get out with the camera more - she looks like she might work at Jills to  ;)

Feminine is a cow that looks like a cow or a heifer that looks like a heifer.  Here is an example of my opinion of the definition... 
 

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justintime

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I agree with you TJ, the cow you have pictured is in my opinion, very feminine.... and she looks very functional as well.

Another question.... why is there such a difference in opinion between show oriented breeders and commercial breeders in regards to what a good female should look like. It seems to me that, at the end of the day, we all are a part of a beef industry and a good cow should be a good cow no matter if she has ever seen a halter or not. Of course there will be enviromental differences in what an optimum cow looks like where you live, but the main differences should mainly be in mature size, with much lesser differences in body shape. That is, a rancher in Utah will describe his perfect cow much differently than a breeder in Indiana, but shouldn't the main difference be in their size? I would think that both of these cattlemen would want cows that have lots of capacity, good udders, good feet and legs etc etc etc. One major difference may be in the amount of milk each cow provides.
In the past few years, I have heard more talk at cattle shows about structural soundness than I have ever heard before. If this is really something that everyone is striving for, why doesn't the ideal show animal move closer ( in both type and structure) to what the commercial industry is striving towards. Maybe they are moving closer together, and if they are, then we should see many more show winning females that become major league ,real world, breeding machines. I see lots of comments on this and other boards, that suggest that show cattle can't make it in the real world. Personally, I think there are many that can't, but there are also some that can. If this is the case, why are the selection criteria in the show ring not changing?
I have asked more than a few questions here ... so give me your thoughts. I would also be interested in your thoughts on how show ring trends are decided. Who makes the decisions that this year we need to downsize frame or increase frame, etc etc etc?
 

garybob

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SRU said:
Feminine females, just like masculie males, need to have large external genitalia.
Bingo! Have you ever looked a Champion Club heifer under the tail? Reminds me of a York Gilt!
 

knabe

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Feminine females, just like masculie males, need to have large external genitalia.

i remember reading somewhere there was an upper limit to fertility with SC in bulls.  also, if the testicles are too big, do they get too clangy and get damaged during breeding.  know of one  very large SC bull that this happened to who i have a steer out of.

my definition of feminity is the head, not to jousty in the shoulder area, capacious hips, with a nice flatness to the bone that doesn't show all the calcification laid down from chasing all the cows.  also the feet and pastern area are important to me, there is a certain "cleanness" to that area compared to males.  and one area you can't judge in the ring, attentiveness without being a b*%$h including vocalization.  i like the communication skills.
 

DL

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knabe said:
Feminine females, just like masculie males, need to have large external genitalia.

i remember reading somewhere there was an upper limit to fertility with SC in bulls.  also, if the testicles are too big, do they get too clangy and get damaged during breeding.  know of one  very large SC bull that this happened to who i have a steer out of.

my definition of feminity is the head, not to jousty in the shoulder area, capacious hips, with a nice flatness to the bone that doesn't show all the calcification laid down from chasing all the cows.  also the feet and pastern area are important to me, there is a certain "cleanness" to that area compared to males.  and one area you can't judge in the ring, attentiveness without being a b*%$h including vocalization.  i like the communication skills.

There is a direct correlation between testicular size and sperm production (that assumes that the size of the testicles is not related to orchitis - wierd word for inflammation of the testicles - how are you bulls orchids?) - so in essance the bigger the better - dangy is related to a lot of things including the temoerature and breed - certainly dangly would be more prone to injury suggesting either the bull is a clod or his friends are  ;D
 

itk

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shortdawg said:
The Augusta Pride cow family.

I have had the chance to see 3127 a few times in my life and feel she is a tremendous cow. That being said I was talking to Cory one day about a year after we bought our Augusta Pride and he asked me how I thought they stacked up to eachother. I told Cory that if I could only have one cow I would take 3127 but if I had to have a pasture full of cows I would rather have ours. I think this story shows how abstract a concept like femininity is. I would call both Augusta Prides feminine yet to visually appraise them they are apples and oranges. I feel like there are two kinds of femininity and both have found a usefull niche in the cattle industry. Pick which kind works for you and your market and good luck.
 

clifflem

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I think sometimes we confuse femininity and refinement.  Cows can be feminine without being too refined.  When I look for femininity in cattle, I look for a cowy looking head with some length and a long neck.  I think the cow can have some in the brisket area and still be feminine.  Those cows with a little brisket lets them store some extra fat for times when they need it.  They are also easier keeping.
 
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