When To breed Heifers • Size- #1 consideration when breeding yearling heifers. • Heifers should weigh at least 700lbs and this should be from growth and not fattening. • Age- is the second consideration- goal is to breed heifers so they calve around 2 years of age. • Calving at 2 years of age brings cows into production at lower costs. • Gestation is 285 days, but varies by breed.
When To breed Heifers • Conception rate is lower for yearling heifers than for older cows. • Younger heifers need more help at calving than do older cows. Give them additional attention at calving time!! • Heifers are bred earlier so they will calve about 20-30 days before older cows. This allows more time for them to come back in heat. • Heifers require more feed and should be kept separate from older cows.
calving • Easier to manage the herd when a shorter calving season is maintained • Spring calving requires less housing, less feeding during the winter, and less labor. • Cows with calves do better on pasture. These calves are then ready for the feedlot in the fall when the feed supply is largest.
calving • About 1/2 of the first-calf heifers will need help at calving. • If the cow has been in labor for two hours or more and there is no signs of progress in giving birth, help is needed. • After the calf is born, make sure that it is breathing. It may be necessary to clean the mucus from the mouth and nostrils.
calving • In cold weather, the calf must be kept warm and dry until it is on its feet. • Calves need to nurse shortly after birth. A weak calf must be helped to nurse. • Colostrum- contains vitamins A and E as well as antibodies that the calf require. • The placenta (afterbirth) is normally expelled within 12-24 hours after the calf if born. If not, the vet must be called. • Cows with calves need more feed to produce the milk to nurse the calf.