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Author Topic: wanted!! VERY EASY calving breed for little maiden heifer!  (Read 465 times)

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cattle and sheep!
wanted!! VERY EASY calving breed for little maiden heifer!
« on: February 15, 2020, 06:04:41 pm »
Now, everyone has their favourite breed, I've always had a fondness for Herefords though our Charolais bull threw some fabulous calves in the years we had him and he had horns and curls to die for!

Knickers calved 6 weeks ago today and I reckon she is doing a Juniper and going to be a silent Buller. Normally she's vocal like younger sister Mary, who was bellowing a few days ago. I use Genus AI and am going to order a couple of straws off the bull I have been using the last few years (Angus), so that these 2 can be seen to and hopefully have sprogs in December/January next year!

However, Jennifer will be 1 in March. Now, she is a silent Buller. Either that, or she's a dud. Might get the vet out to check (though she did try to pounce on me the other day.....)

So, Jennifer, younger half sister to Knickers and Mary (dad side) and half sister to Juniper on the mums side. Jennifer to me, takes after the Jersey in her Jersey X Aryshire mum and is 'delicate' (headstrong - this is the one I was going to murder last year!!) but delicate. Juniper was 17 months old when 1st Ai'd so calved in February, Knickers also 17 months, Mary will be younger at 16 months. Knickers calving beginning of January worked out great for us, the bag wasn't too big and Eddie coped. Mary is off a 3/4 Jersey 1/4 Ayrshire so aiming for the same time next year, again will be best for us.

The problem is Jennifer. If I wait for her to hit 16 months then she's going to be calving when the spring grass is lurking and she'll have a whopping bag like Juniper. I know that there are those of you who will say so what? I DO NOT want a big bag on a maiden suckler cow. She's not milked, not going to be milked. And I don't want to double suckle.

So, thinking of delicate, (and Jersey'ish), do I stick with Angus and look after her, like I do anyway, or do I put something smaller on her. I've read about Waygu but the only 2 with Genus have horns and I'd rather whatever is coming is polled. (Less stress for me and the animals, no need to be dehorned!)

Also, has anyone with a Jersey or jersey x put them in calf at 12 months or 14 months max. If I aim for 14 month then that's February calving. That for us was fine for Juniper, 2 years running, but then she didn't hold for the 3rd year and never told us, which meant 12 weeks of putting weight on, empty at scanning, ai'ing later and May calving and whopping bag. Even worse, me having to feed another mouth through winter! Just because I have room for them, doesn't mean I want to carry them through the winter.

I've already got it in my head how many cattle will be here for December 2020 and I'm still waiting to see pigs fly![/font][/font][/size]
Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!
Voss Electric Fence

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: wanted!! VERY EASY calving breed for little maiden heifer!
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2020, 07:57:34 pm »
Jerseys might be delicate-looking and not very hardy, but they have the widest pelvis of any breed and, once mature can take any breed.  You do need to consider birth weight and effect on stomach muscles carrying the unborn calf, of course.

Easiest calving (apart from an actual Jersey bull of course) for any dairy cow is reckoned to be Angus, and certainly the calves are not generally too chunky and pop out easily.  However, personally I have not found Angus calves to be the greediest calves, and for a first timer you want a calf which is up and at the milk bar and doesn't get put off if the mum is a bit jumpy at first.

Some people choose Limousin, but some Limi bulls give calves which are way too chunky, and the temperament of Limi crosses can be rather frisky or even downright dangerous.

So for me, if the priority is Jennifer having an easy first time then Jersey - but the smaller calves won't drink as much, so if she does have a girt big bag, you may have to milk some off to keep her comfortable.  You will of course get less beef than a beef breed cross, but it's a lean dark very full-flavoured meat - you won't be disappointed.

If you would take a slightly larger calf to get one that will drink more milk, then my best cross - and I've done it seven times now - is the North (Red) Devon.  Calves aren't too large at birth and not too beefy around the bum, get up and drink properly and don't get discouraged, but grow on into good beefy animals.  It's a hardy cross too.  Nice natured animals, a bit more lively than an Angus and may have horns (which an Angus cross never will), but the benefits of calves which get up and drink without help and don't get put off by a skittish first-time mum would outweigh the polled / horned thing for me.



« Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 07:59:18 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: wanted!! VERY EASY calving breed for little maiden heifer!
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2020, 08:40:57 pm »
We’ve had some cracking big Angus calves from heifers, likewise calving heifers to Limousin now and 1 had a nice size bull calf- the other 2 were on the big side and needed a pull.  I think I would go Hereford? I wouldn’t get too hung up on udder size- our cows are calving now, some have cracking big udders but within a week or 2 they adjust to how much the calf is drinking. Supply and demand and all that.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: wanted!! VERY EASY calving breed for little maiden heifer!
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2020, 09:28:52 pm »
 The size of and udder  /shape /teat size /placement   are all genetic  not influenced by food .   The calf size while it is partly genetic is also influenced by food . It is not uncommon in suckler herds for heifer calves as young as 6months old to be served by big stock bulls  and while this is undesirable it happens and so long as they are not overfed then they can calve often easily

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: wanted!! VERY EASY calving breed for little maiden heifer!
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2020, 12:34:51 pm »
The size of and udder  /shape /teat size /placement   are all genetic  not influenced by food . 

It's very rare I  dispute anything you write, @shep53, but I would qualify that statement by saying that potential udder size and capacity is genetic; actual size and capacity is affected by feeding the young and in-calf heifer.  After the first lactation, udder size and capacity is still affected by feeding in the last weeks of gestation, but the baseline potential size and capacity of the udder is a function of genes, feeding of the heifer calf especially between 3 and 9 months old (when the secretory material is being laid down in the udder) and in the last 4-8 weeks of gestation.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2020, 01:59:19 pm by SallyintNorth »
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: wanted!! VERY EASY calving breed for little maiden heifer!
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2020, 12:54:09 pm »
 :thumbsup: 

 

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