Post by texasjerseys on Feb 27, 2008 21:12:15 GMT -5
We are having trouble getting someone who can come out and AI our Jerseys when they come in. We have 2, maybe 3, unbred and they need to be. The vet always seems to have something come up or some surgery and we miss another cycle. Grrrrr.
So my question is this: I just bought a 2 wk. registered black baldie black angus calf (whose momma was struck by lightening). They said he's out of a lineage that births 60 to 70 lb. babies. Is this too much for a jersey to birth without causing risk to her?
Any and all info is welcome. I don't want to hurt my jerseys, but I definitely don't want a jersey bull around. I've heard too many horror stories once they come into breeding age.
Are you willing to wait for him to grow to breeding size/maturity? I have heard of dairy farms using angus as a clean up bull, they run them with everything to make sure all are bred (after AI'ong everything). Our calves have weighed 50-75 lbs, so the bw sounds ok.
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We plan on breeding Buttercup to a red angus bull for later calves. I believe angus are usually smaller calves, so not a problem for jerseys to give birth to. I just didn't want to breed to him the first time because he was a lot bigger than her at that point in time. Karen
I used a Hereford bull for my last calf. I was having nearly the same problem as you. So I loaded up the cow (dry) and took her up to my brothers'. The calf was 75# at birth, and she didn't have any trouble at all calving. He is the brat on my avatar.... I got to the point (like you probably are) that A calf, was better than NO calf--crossbred or not. Better to be in milk, or PG than to feed a cow that isn't doing anything but eating and poo'ing! Janene
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Post by buxombeefcowdairy on Feb 28, 2008 12:08:32 GMT -5
First of all, a bottle-fed bull of ANY breed can, and will, act just like a dairy bull when he gets older. Dr. Price from UC Davis did a behavioral study, knowing that dairy bulls become very dangerous to handle as they get older. Beef bulls can be dangerous also, but usually only bulls whose mothers also have an agressive temperament get that way.
Dr. Price took a small herd of very gentle Hereford cows, and took their Hereford bull calves away at birth to bottle raise them-without steering them as would normally be done with an 'orphan' bull calf. The Hereford cows were then given day-old Holstein bull calves to raise. When the bulls got older, the bottle-raised Herefords were ALL very dangerous to handle, and the Holsteins were like beef bulls.
The bottle calves imprint on people and their identity, in terms of sexual behavior, transfers to people as well as cattle. This is why a dairy cow in heat will try to mount a person, but a beef heifer will not ever do this-unless she was bottle raised. The bull treats you as competition to breed cows, and does his best to mash you out of his territory.
Llama people know that it is dangerous to raise an intact male on a bottle- it is called 'Berserk Male Syndrome' and any orphan male should be castrated.
If this calf is 2 weeks old, and you are able to foster him onto your cow and have him live with other cattle, he may well be past that important imprinting phase, and grow up just fine.
Discipline is important-make sure he knows that you are in charge. Having him gentled and halter broke will be an advantage.
As far as the Angus question goes: Angus bulls from low birthweight bloodlines are perfectly appropriate for breeding to Jersey cows.
A whiteface calf (black baldie) or the son of a baldie cow, even if he's pure black, will not be registered stock. If this calf's sire is a low-birthweight bull, that is good. But he gets half of his birthweight genetics from his mama. If she is registered, you can simply find out exactly what her birthweight EPD genetics are. If not, then this is an unknown.
Because this producer gets 60 to 70 pound calves from his bull does NOT mean that you will get the same thing. Your cows will have different (Jersey=very low) birthweight genetics than a black baldy cow does, and your cows live in a different environment with different feed.
If you are breeding Jersey heifers, I would be sure that both the baldy cow and the Angus bull have low-birthweight genetics. If it were for Jersey cows, you should be fine regardless.
199 Angus Beef cows, 1 Jersey cow 3 horses One Border Collie
Post by texasjerseys on Feb 28, 2008 13:03:46 GMT -5
Thank y'all for your replies. I'm at that point of ANY CALF will do! ;D
This is very interesting about bottle raising an intact male. Should I put him out with the jersey milk cows to nurse them? Am I understanding you to say that this improves his chances of not seeing me as a threat? Or has the "imprinting" phase already passed and it wouldn't matter if I put him w/momma cows?
What do you suppose will be the affect of (adopted) mama raised jersey bull calf, but separated (penned bull calf) during the day, penned with mama at night, till he is old enough to wean, then he gets a blab and put out with the cows. Should we handle him as little as possible? We will be able to keep a halter on him. Our little bull previous raised by same mama her own bull calf turned out a very laid back easy going bull sold intact at 5 months, was handled a lot, do you think he turned out dangerous?
Our nut of a heifer Peekaboo (probably 1/4 jersey 1/2 Brangus, 1/4 some other kind of unknown beef ) has turned into a little doll. She is sweet and gorgeous now and looks like she will have a good size bag as she gets older and bred (lots of loose skin).
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Post by buxombeefcowdairy on Feb 28, 2008 15:56:44 GMT -5
I don't honestly know exactly when the critical imprinting phase occurs, so I can't say for sure.
Kelly, I would say if one or more of your cows would nurse this calf without restraint, then yes, turning him out in the pasture with them would very likely result in a grown bull with normal beef bull behavior, since he spent his last 2 weeks with a normal beef cow mama.
AnnB has raised Jersey bulls for gomers with behavioral success, make sure we get her input on this in terms of any decisions you make. She finds halter training and discipline VERY important to the demeanor of the mature bulls. A beef bull well handled and trained (cowherd-raised) will always be easier to deal with when he's mature.
The optimal thing to do is to foster the calf onto a beef cow, and turn them out into a herd of cattle, where the calf learns discipline from ALL of the cows, not just mama.
From a family cow standpoint, we'll just have to do the best we can.
In terms of the critical 'identity' and imprinting period, my best guess is that at two weeks of age, it is probably over. The problem with the bottle feeding/udder nursing difference is this: if the baby is separated from mama from day one, and a person ALWAYS catches mama and facilitates the nursing, then the calf will imprint on people. This happened to an Angus heifer of mine who broke a rear leg, and I had to literally pick her up so she could eat. She never ever had a bottle, she always sucked on her mama's udder. She had to be in an enclosure made of pallets so she didn't move around a lot, but mama was right there outside it, licked her and loved her and was always there. When she was capable of living out in the corral, she did ok but when we turned them out, she tried to nurse all the other cows, got kicked, and ended up reluctant to nurse her own mama, so we had to bring her in twice a day until she learned which cow her mama was... This heifer ended up trying to mount my DH when she came into heat-our other Angus don't do that.
So, long story short, the human interaction at nursing time can have an effect, even without an actual bottle.
Possibly, being out with OTHER mama cows and calves, teaches the calf who it is appropriate to nurse on, and who it is not.
I would put forth the guess that it would be best to have a bull calf with any cowherd you have, separating the cow away rather than the calf, for the usual 12 hour calf-share program, and turning the cow back out with him and the others for him to nurse.
I would handle the bull calf often, halter breaking, etc., but NOT at nursing time.
Lesli, I just don't know if your last bull that you sold, or this new one, will or won't have imprinted on people and turn nasty. The simple advice of NEVER turning your back to a bull applies well here. Keep an eye out on the behavior.
Also keep an eye on Peekaboo- whether she ever wants to mount you when she is in heat will tell you whether or not she imprinted on people as a baby.
199 Angus Beef cows, 1 Jersey cow 3 horses One Border Collie
Great discussion! I've gathered from some of my reading, not by experience yet, that this bottle fed baby problem is NOT breed specific in the least. Like Bux said, it's an imprinting thing. I've gathered that it is also a "play mate" sort of thing. The calf gets used to playing with people, pushing, pulling, etc. However, what's cute in a few weeks old calf is decidedly NOT cute in a grown animal! They literally don't know their own strength. I kinda gather that they may not be intending to be "mean", though I can see how an imprinted bull might see a person as a challenge, potentially. Otherwise, I gather that they just don't necessarily realize that normal cow behavior can hurt or kill a person. They need to keep "people" in one mental box, and "cattle" in another. It's kind of like how a dog tells a puppy NO! by nipping it. However, when a dog tries to discipline an unruly child in the same way, the nip can really hurt the child who's skin is more fragile, and who doesn't have the protective hair covering.
One other thought, Tex...where are you? We're on the north side of Houston. I don't know if you'd be interested, but we have a 2 yr old Milking Devon bull. I also have a friend up near Dallas who has a year and a bit old Milking Devon bull calf (don't know if that's too young to breed or not). There are some other breeders just across the border into Arkansas. Let me know if you are interested in any of those options for breeding purposes and I'll try to get you the contact info. FYI...the Devons seem to throw approximately 50 lb. calves. I know the one that just arrived on our Farm was about that weight, and quite healthy and lively (for proof, read about our "Rodeo"...lol)! The Devons also convey some nice characteristics on their daughters, should you want to keep one for grass based milking. It's just a thought.
Last Edit: Feb 29, 2008 3:31:37 GMT -5 by catherine
Post by texasjerseys on Feb 29, 2008 8:33:22 GMT -5
My question then goes to how long to let the calf nurse? I borrowed a bull last summer for 2 months. He was 2 years old and he got 4 cows pregnant but when we discovered he was also NURSING from the cows, he had to go!
Did, perhaps, this bull nurse too long? Or will the momma just say "that's enough" and she'll end the nursing? I've heard some people put rings in their heifers noses to stop that...but I don't think I want to go that route.
Also, I live near Dallas. The people you know with the Devon bull, could I get the contact info on them? This may be an option.
OH!!! I had a first yesterday....proving true the imprinting to people. I was bottle feeding this 3 wk. bull when a 6 mo. steer jumped on my back. AAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!! I wasn't ready for that one. Me, the baby and the fence became one and that steer got the boot and a stern talking to....not that it did any good, but I felt better.
I will be contemplating a way to integrate this little bull back in the herd.
All of this makes me even more convinced that we are on the right track with our plans to raise our calves on Buttercup. Until now, we have had to bottle/bucket raise our beef. They become very dangerous when they get older (part of what makes it easier to send them to the butcher).
Mr Moo will be locked into his corner pasture and shed as soon as we can keep water from freezing on his side of the fence. He'll be sad to not get the interaction with the other animals, but he is already a handful at 11 months old. Karen
We had our 7 year old cow arrive in our pasture, 7 months pregnant with her HUGE 10 month old heifer at her side, still nursing! The hauler asked if we wanted to wean her, and we most emphatically said yes! He proceeded to put a yellow ring thing in her nose. It merely slipped on one side, and then on the other. It didn't pierce her, didn't hurt her at all, and is totally removeable, but not by her. I've read how awful weaning can be, with both mom and baby bellowing for days and nights on end. Well, none of that happened here! Both girls hung out together, but no one made any fuss! We'd see the heifer try to nurse, and though she could touch her mom's teats with her tongue, she couldn't draw one into her mouth. She'd quit trying after a while, and go get a drink of water instead. I plan to wean all our calves that way in future!!! Now that Mom has had a new baby, she doesn't even try anymore, though that ring is still in place. I do need to take it out, one of these days.
Somewhere, I read (maybe Joel Salatin?) that if a weaned calf later comes back and tries to nurse mom after the new baby arrives, and mom doesn't kick her off to protect the new baby's milk supply, well, Mom's sold off or becomes hamburger once her baby's weaned. He was most emphatic that he didn't blame the heifer for remembering and wanting that good sweet milk, but he DID blame the cow for not having strong enough maternal instincts to put a stop to it! He was breeding for strong fertility and maternity, and that didn't fit with his program at all! I thought that was interesting.
Another thought that comes from the older breeder that we bought some of our stock from...he said that he didn't understand bottle feeding calves. He felt that the babies got a lot of immunities from their moms, not just from the milk, but also from licking their mom's noses, and the moms licking their's. The hauler seconded that thought. Does anyone know more about this?
Tex, I'm so glad you weren't hurt when you and the calf "became one with the fence"!!! Wow! I can imagine the shock! Yeah, I guess that would make a believer out of me, too!
I just dropped a quickie note to my Devon friend near Dallas to be sure she's ok with me posting her address. I feel sure she will be. In fact, I suggested she come on and do a bit of posting of her own! I'll get back to you as soon as she gets back to me, ok? Thanks! C.
Last Edit: Mar 1, 2008 3:17:49 GMT -5 by catherine
Catherine, Mr Moo is not Buttercup's calf, just a jersey bull calf we bought to raise for beef...she is due with her first calf in July, which is part of the reason I want to separate him from the rest of the animals.
In your posts, you've been mentioning Joel Salatin a lot. Out of curiosity, I've requested a couple of his books from the library. Thanks for the references! Karen
The thing with Joel Salatin is that he is talking about beef cattle. We all know dairy cows are a whole different matter! I would never cull a dairy cow because she wouldn't wean a calf. They have been bred to have good dairy temperament, and part of that means to "give" milk know matter to who. My Dad who raises Highland Cows was so glad when I got my Jersey cows, because they will foster his orphans if he has any. He said he could never make any of his cows take someone elses calf, and thinks its pretty neat. Something interesting about one of our heifers. Jules was born on pasture, 100% Jersey. Her mom hid her and was very hormonal for the first week. We never could get near the calf because she just became so skittish and always ran with the herd and nursed mom, we sharemilked by taking the cow away, not the calf. She tried to mount me last spring while in heat and you certainly wouldn't think she had imprinted on people. I don't know where she fits in with this discussion. I still don't have a halter on her but she comes to me now looking for a treat, and I can pet her and touch her udder. she is due in May. She comes out of a cow who is a puppydog ( except when she thought we would take her calf away) so I wonder if her improving docility is a result of her mom's example. Interesting. Jessika
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