What qualities does a good donor female need to have????

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justintime

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I thought this topic could create some good discussion on here. In several postings since I joined this very elite group, I have seen several comments about there being too many females in flush programs that are not good enough. What qualities makes a female " good enough"?

For example, if a female wins a major show, does that make her qualify as a female worthy of being flushed? Or does a female who has a famous female within her top two generations make her worthy.?... or does a female who has never had a halter on her head but always comes in with a calf that is in the top end of your calf crop?  Or is she good enough if she is really ugly, but has EPDs in the top 2% of the breed for WW,YW and is above average for BW and Milk make her an ET candidate? Or if she is a just a sound made cow that has brought in a few bull calves that are the first to sell out of your bull pen each year, reason enough to meet your ET vet? There are probably many more scenierios, but I think you should get the picture of what I am asking your opinion on.

Also.... while you are at it, include your thoughts on the topic of if when there is good cause to flush a virgin heifer?
 

uluru

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Oakville, ON. Canada
I am keenly interested in this topic as I am in the process of looking for a cow to possibly start a flushing program if I can make any financial sense out of the whole ET program.
JIT as you know I am new to this cattle world and your help and advice has been greatly appreciated.
The criteria I have set for myself to start and identify possible candidates if I decide to move forward with the ET program that I have designed is outlined below

I know many of the experienced members of this site will have comments to add or suggestions to make of my criteria
I can take them as I have thick skin and nothing is cast in stone.
I will really appreciate constructive feedback. 

My criteria

Polled, Red, 100% purebred by Canadian standards (non asterisk).
Born between 2000 and 2003 for program in 2007/8 or said another way about 4 -6 years old
A good progeny record - consistant producer, no missed calving years.
A pedigree that meets my liking on the sire side - I have a number of sires that I have researched
and am particularly fond of their record, etc.
May have been Grand or Reserve in one or more shows.
THF/PHAF - Healthy
Moderate frame and correct structure.
Good udder and feet.
EPD's are important to me as it gives me as a novice a starting point in initial qualification of any animal -
obviously not the end all, be all, but a place to start.
My EPD criteria are as follows
CE >+2.0
BW <+1.0
WW >15
YW > 25
Milk > 4
CEM >+1.0
I will not buy an animal without EPD's. That may be short sighted, but that is my stance.

Good maternal instincts and track record, a good mother with lots of milk.
I have heifer born in 2006 that meets most of the above criteria and I decided to breed her
and see how she does on the maternal side rather than flush her this year.
Once again just my cautious approach.

There it is for what it is worth.
Your constructive feedback will be greatly appreciated.

Cheers.........Bob
 

DLD

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It all depends on your goals. If a breeder is trying to propogate a certain trait or combination of traits, whatever those traits are, then I don't think they can be criticized for flushing any cow that they believe will help them toward those goals. To me the biggest criteria is that the cow needs to have already proven that she can produce the kind that you want, preferably from the same mating she's being flushed to.

I understand what you're saying about many females being flushed that wouldn't seem deserving of it to many folks, and I agree, to a point. But even though Average Joe's best cow would just be average to alot of people, she's produced the highest priced bulls he's ever sold (say $2500), and has a daughter or two that promise to be even better than  she is. If AJ's next highest priced bulls have been $1500, then who are we to say he has no business flushing that cow?
 

garybob

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I'm with Uluru. Enough said, however.........

As an Ag-Econ Professor ( Dr. John W.Goodwin) said to us " In regards to data, always remember, Figures LIE when Liars FIGURE." As a small breeder with a limited use of AI, and a strong core belief in functionality, I must evaluate the animals and their breeders HARD. I am always trying to make sure there isn't any pencil-whipping during the gathering of performance data in a potential sire's past.

2" of rain yesterday. Bermuda Grass ( and [email protected]$$$#@!# Johnson grass) is perking back up.

GaryBob
 

itk

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At our place the cow just has to look at us right on the day we ship cows to the et center and there is a good chance that she might be flushed. Right now I would say that almost half of our cows are donor quality, however we have focused on our et program more then most. We have done it all as far as flushing goes.

We have owned and flushed the dam of a Denver Champion bull and sent all but one of her calves to the salebarn because we just couldn't get her to hit again. We have flushed a $1,400 cow we bought from Marty Loving who only weaned one calf in seven years. However every calf she lost was not her fault so we kept giving her another chance. By the time she turned 8 she was so run down from snake bites, letting every calf in the pasture nurse off of her and numerous other forms of bad luck that we took her in to flush just so we would have a daughter to replace her. The tech said with her rough life not to be surprised if she wouldn't flush. She surprised us both and on her first flush she produced 31 transferable eggs. We sent two bull calves out of that flush to Oklahoma for $5,000 a piece.

I am a big fan of et because I think it is a cheap way to preserve important genetics. I would encourage anyone who is thinking about flushing a cow to do so. A month ago the most expensive cow we own was struck by lightning and was supposed to calf any day. We had been putting off flushing her the last few years but had planned to do so this fall now it is to late. Luckily we kept her daughter from last year to take her place.

There are as many reasons to flush as there are cows and all of them are valid. We have flushed for full sibs to National Champions but are also the only people to flush a cow to Double Duty according to Marty Loving. Finally the cost of the flush will be more then covered by the added excitement that calving out that first set of et calves brings.
 

Telos

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Uluru, I commend you for your analytical approach and also for having such a challenging mission statement.

Some other questions to consider when flushing for ET... What do you plan to do with the offspring?  Will their genetics be unique enough for genetic diversity within the population? Why will others benefit from this mating?  Do you want the resulting offspring to be competitive in the showring, in the pasture or perhaps both?
 

itk

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I forgot, the only reason I would flush a virgin heifer is if I had her over insured and had a good plan to make her death look like an accident. I don't care how good she is the potential reproductive damage it could cause out weighs the potential gains. If she is that good I can wait a year to insure a lifetime of embryo production instead of ruining her for life on some short term gain.
 

DL

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I am genetically greedy - I flush my cows so that I can have more of genetics that I like. That said the female must have an excellent temperament, sound, feminine, and pleasing to my eye. She has to have calved AI annually and raised an darn good calf. She needs to breed true and stamp her calves. She and the sire have to be TH and PHA negative - I would prefer polled (can't alway get what you want) and in regards to color or pattern - those are not important to me - I like red, I like red and white, I like black and white - she doesn't have to win anything and neither does the sire - if she has what I want then more power to her!
 

NHR

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dragon lady said:
I am genetically greedy - I flush my cows so that I can have more of genetics that I like. That said the female must have an excellent temperament, sound, feminine,  and pleasing to my eye. She has to have calved AI annually and raised an darn good calf. She needs to breed true and stamp her calves. She and the sire have to be TH and PHA negative - I would prefer polled (can't alway get what you want) and in regards to color or pattern - those are not important to me - I like red, I like red and white, I like black and white - she doesn't have to win anything and neither does the sire - if she has what I want then more power to her!

I agree Dragon Lady. We have a couple females in our herd that we plan on flushing next year. It has taken a couple of calving seasons to come up with what we believe the best mating to be for what we want in our herd. All their calves have been good but we wanted to maximize the benefit of ET by monitoring the results of each calf crop first. We believe we are at that point now.

Now we have to decide if we want to use our cows as recips or utilize one of the farmed out recip programs which cost about $900 for a weaned calf. I am leaning toward farming out the recip program. Anybody have any experience with this I would appreciate feedback.
 

DL

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NHR said:
dragon lady said:
I am genetically greedy - I flush my cows so that I can have more of genetics that I like. That said the female must have an excellent temperament, sound, feminine, and pleasing to my eye. She has to have calved AI annually and raised an darn good calf. She needs to breed true and stamp her calves. She and the sire have to be TH and PHA negative - I would prefer polled (can't alway get what you want) and in regards to color or pattern - those are not important to me - I like red, I like red and white, I like black and white - she doesn't have to win anything and neither does the sire - if she has what I want then more power to her!

I agree Dragon Lady. We have a couple females in our herd that we plan on flushing next year. It has taken a couple of calving seasons to come up with what we believe the best mating to be for what we want in our herd. All their calves have been good but we wanted to maximize the benefit of ET by monitoring the results of each calf crop first. We believe we are at that point now.

Now we have to decide if we want to use our cows as recips or utilize one of the farmed out recip programs which cost about $900 for a weaned calf. I am leaning toward farming out the recip program. Anybody have any experience with this I would appreciate feedback.

NHR - I use only my own cows for recips - why? because my herd is clean and I don't want someone elses problems - if you intend to keep the females I would put the eggs in your own cows (a paranoid perspective :)
 

chambero

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We haven't gotten into flushing yet, but if you have the land and the cows I can't believe you wouldn't be better off with your own recips.  Too many things to not get done correctly if you aren't doing it yourself.  I'm guess I'm just too particular on how I like for my animals to be taken care of.  The folks I know that have been heavily involved in it and actually made money on a long-term basis take care of their own.
 

olsencattleco

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We are doing our first flushes this year. We started talking to a few folks last year about it and most of the guys charged the 900 for the weaned calf like NHR stated. If you have the land available, it would only appear financially sound if you were to use your own recips. You spend that 900 dollars on a weaned calf each year and you still have nothing but a weaned calf.  I think we are going to put that 900 dollars towards buying our own recips and when the calf is ready to be weaned, we still own the cow.

Now if the land is not availalbe then it would make sense to go the 900 for a weaned calf program, but if you have the land put it to its best use.

Everyone staying in the cool this week? We've got babies dropping like flies and hoping we do not get any cases of summer pnuemonia

eric
 

NHR

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olsencattleco said:
We are doing our first flushes this year. We started talking to a few folks last year about it and most of the guys charged the 900 for the weaned calf like NHR stated. If you have the land available, it would only appear financially sound if you were to use your own recips. You spend that 900 dollars on a weaned calf each year and you still have nothing but a weaned calf.  I think we are going to put that 900 dollars towards buying our own recips and when the calf is ready to be weaned, we still own the cow.

Now if the land is not availalbe then it would make sense to go the 900 for a weaned calf program, but if you have the land put it to its best use.

Everyone staying in the cool this week? We've got babies dropping like flies and hoping we do not get any cases of summer pnuemonia

eric

olsen: We have been calving and I got one with early pnuemonia. This has been the worst year for respitory issues that we have ever had. We are in the same county as you, have you had any issues with respitory this year?

Also on the goat front: have had a few folks tell me their goats are dieing like crazy, symptoms similar to cattle scours, have you heard anything in our county about this?
 

chambero

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In regards to the sicknesses, we've been keeping out minerals with antibiotics in all summer due to our foot rot issues (which have finally gone away).  I'm guess babies will pick up a little help from them also.
 

olsencattleco

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Hello NHR

We have not had any scour problems this year. We usually try and give our cattle a series of shots a few weeks before calving, one of them being scourguard. I did have one calf die on me at about 5 days old. He showed no symptoms of being sick, just found him dead.

Most of the calves are not having any respiratory problems, but i do have one calf thats pretty hairy thats breathing heavy during the heat of the day. I gave him nuflor a few days ago and he seems to be much better.

It sure was good to hear from you NHR. How is everything going in rice?

eric
 

NHR

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olsencattleco said:
Hello NHR

We have not had any scour problems this year. We usually try and give our cattle a series of shots a few weeks before calving, one of them being scourguard. I did have one calf die on me at about 5 days old. He showed no symptoms of being sick, just found him dead.

Most of the calves are not having any respiratory problems, but i do have one calf thats pretty hairy thats breathing heavy during the heat of the day. I gave him nuflor a few days ago and he seems to be much better.

It sure was good to hear from you NHR. How is everything going in rice?

eric

Eric,

Rice is going good, just trying to make it to the fall and cooler weather. I hate calving in the summer. I think I need to hold some cows before re-breeding to push our calving season until after Labor Day on our fall calvers. I really like calving in January but I dont want to give up the production time.

The scour issue has been happening with some peoples goat herds. I know one person who has lost 13 out 15 kids this summer.

We have a new hairy heifer calf born the other day that is really struggling with this heat, I took the clippers out and trimmed her hair down, also gave a shot of Nuflor for the breathing on the recommendation of our vet. She seems to be doing better.

Good to hear from you.
 
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