Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: What age to breed?  (Read 4507 times)

catriona

  • Joined Oct 2011
What age to breed?
« on: May 04, 2015, 08:19:48 pm »
Hello!  Hoping there are lots of people on this new board with knowledge to share!

We have recently acquired our first 2 Shetlands - who are lovely!
What age would people consider putting a Shetland heifer in calf?
We will be using AI, if that makes any difference.

Backinwellies

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  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
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Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2015, 08:33:19 pm »
Cattle generally should be 2 years at least when they have first calf or their growth will be stunted... though Shetlands will breed much younger.
Linda

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waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2015, 08:38:44 pm »
If doing AI you will have to do an AI programme, getting the vet to give em prostaglandin, etc, etc. It also depends on their size. I have found when breeding buffaloes that age weight and size affect whether they cycle well. I prefer to use a bull as AI has been unsuccessful, however I am now perfecting the timing and all is going well. :)
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

Backinwellies

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Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2015, 07:02:12 am »
Please disregard the high science way Waterbuffalo suggests is needed to AI .... provided your cows show adequate signs of bulling and you are observant (at least 20 mins 3 times a day) you can get them pregnant with simple AI ........... I have 2 calves and 2 to come any day soon  to prove this.  You do need to be able to identify the correct time to call AI out.
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
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Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2015, 08:33:52 am »
I agree that the generally held principle is to get them calving for the first time at two. Having said that, when we visited Shetland a few years ago, almost every croft and a 15 month old heifer with a calf at foot - the general view was that it didn't do any long term harm, although it wasn't ideal.

We used AI for our heifers first time - sometimes spotting heat with only two can be hard, so we had them synchronised and AI'd twice in 24 or 48 hours. Neither got in calf. Both had a second go and Breeze got in calf; Blizzard ahd a third go; still nothing so we took her to a friend's bull who nicked her first time. Since then we've used natural service.

Have you decided which bull you are going to use?

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2015, 08:46:58 am »
For more success you could try using a teaser bull, that way it would help them get in calf. However as I  said before a synchronization programme is probably the best option as it means you won't have to be watching them all the time. Natural service would be easier, has your neighbour got a bull? I would suggest only doing an AI programme if you want calves from a particular bull.
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

catriona

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2015, 12:26:10 pm »
Thank you for your replies.  We had originally intended to aim for calving at 2yrs, but noticed that the SCBA site suggests that some breeders feel Shetlands should not calve until 3 yrs.  Just wondered if people generally waited that long, but it looks like nobody does, so far!

We haven't looked at the bulls available yet - was going to approach the SCBA for advice re the best match for our heifer.
Natural service is only going to be an option if there happens to be a suitable bull nearby, and I'm not aware of many Shetlands around here.  If the 2 Shetlands are as obvious, and noisy as our Angus X heifer was when in season, spotting that shouldn't be a problem!

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2015, 01:07:42 pm »
I have to say ours become total tarts when in season and bellow their lust to the neighbouring village. :innocent:

If I was on Shetland, as SCBA noted, I might wait until 3 because the conditions can be harsher but a well grown 2 year old shoudl be fine, especially to a Shetland bull.

Where are you? We hired a bull our second year, which was fine, then bought a bull calf, used him at 12 moths of age then again the next year, then put him in the freezer. We bought another bull calf this year - we'll use him this August and next, then freezer.

The biggest problem we've found is keeping him seperate from the heifer calves so we've had our heifers jagged on various occasions to get rid of any unwanted calf. In fact the vet's out tomorrow to do Rosie and Sunny.

waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2015, 01:14:49 pm »
 :relief: thankfully no one keeps buffalo near to where I live, animals can be so annoying when they're in season. I hope all goes well and that all the info has helped.
All the best :thumbsup:
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

Backinwellies

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Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2015, 02:03:45 pm »
Where are you?  (just in case any of us are near you).  I am happy to say my 2 Shetlands and 1 dexter got pregnant on first AI ... just one Dexter had a repeat so it can be done without bull ... but obs is important (I watched them about 6.45am each morning through binoculars
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2015, 02:04:38 pm »
I agree that the generally held principle is to get them calving for the first time at two. Having said that, when we visited Shetland a few years ago, almost every croft and a 15 month old heifer with a calf at foot - the general view was that it didn't do any long term harm, although it wasn't ideal.


We had a 15mth old lim heifer calve last year and whilst she had the calf ok it stunted her growth and this year she needed a c section to deliver her upside down bull calf...

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What age to breed?
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2015, 02:06:19 pm »
I am happy to say my 2 Shetlands and 1 dexter got pregnant on first AI ... just one Dexter had a repeat so it can be done without bull ... but obs is important (I watched them about 6.45am each morning through binoculars

In retrospect, I should have had the confidence to do it by observation - the synchro was just and expensive waste. Hey ho, we're all wise in hindsight.

 

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