unwilling heifers

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angus9259
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unwilling heifers

Postby angus9259 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:37 am

Had 3 heifers this year that needed some form of restraint to allow calf to nurse. The heifers all cleaned their calves and mothered up, but would give the calf a little kick when the calf tried to nurse. This is a first for me (I'm sure it happens a lot). Does this behavior return as an adult cow? I have no patience for this. If I'm not home to monitor calves it means no colostrum or a dead calf. Just wondering if this is a cullable offense - for an operation that has no tolerance for this - I realize a lot of people have barns and time and like spending it this way with their cattle. I need mine to live on their own.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby TCRanch » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:46 am

I've never had it happen after their first calf. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen to others; maybe I've been lucky. Not a cullable offense IMO.

Edit: only time I've seen an older cow kick a calf off a teat was because it was too swollen/painful from either mastitis or just too full. And only the affected teat.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby cowgirl8 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:58 am

I have at least one do it every year. Aint nobody got time for that, but i'll work with them until they are together. Its just part of the heifer game. Only if I get a lot of resistance from the heifer do I cull. I'll tag the calf to make sure she continues to care for it. When you have a pasture full of black calves, its hard to tell who is who....
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby Till-Hill » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:24 am

If I have to put her in the chute to let a calf suck she gets wheels when calf is raised, if she takes it. Most times I split the calf and haul cow to town. Mothering ability is number one. If she can't raise a calf on her own I'm not doing it for her.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby Brute 23 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:27 am

I can honestly say I have not had that problem. I would cull them for that asap. Thats non-sense... especially to have 3. I would back track to their mommas and potentially cut there also.

That would be 3 dead calves for me. I have cows and heifers calving right now that I haven't seen in over a week.

Last time I checked cattle at that place we cubed the cattle, my son was with me. All the cows lined up eating cubes and the calves were balling and cutting thru the cows trying to find momma. I had my tally book out so I could write down the cows rag numbers on who had what calves. I noticed one calf heading for 2 of my new Brahman heifers trying to suck. He went right to the first one and she just stood there. She sniffed him and even moved her leg a little. She's heavy bred but doesn't have much of a bag yet. I told my son in my best Yoda voice... the force is strong with the young Brimmer heifer. We both laughed. :lol:
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby cowgirl8 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:52 am

I've had them act overly motherly and not let the calf nurse. Its hard to watch and not interfere. I'll have at least one try to take another calf before hers is born. I'll have one who is calving and decides one in the pasture is hers and refuse to finish calving. Its all what calving heifers is about. I have never had a cow not take a calf even though I keep a confused heifer. Getting them to calving is too much work to willy nilly haul to the sale for this reason. Again, unless she's aggressive and hard to work with, that gets her cut. It was much easier back in the day when we ran bulls year round and had no calving season. The heifers stayed with a mature herd and that seems to help. BUt when you have a isolated heifer only herd calving, nothing surprises me anymore.. crap happens.. There are things you can do to lessen this from happening. Stay out of the pasture. If the heifer is distracted, she's likely to do weird stuff. I always watch from a distance and only go for help if I see its needed..And we take out the heifers as they calve to keep others from trying to take a calf or confusing them with too many calves around. .
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby Bright Raven » Tue Nov 28, 2017 12:40 pm

Have not had that happen but it would be an aggravation even for those of us who have the time. I sure don't enjoy problem solving when it involves extra work. Good luck. I think I would cull one that repeated that offense.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby cowgirl8 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:04 pm

Bright Raven wrote:Have not had that happen but it would be an aggravation even for those of us who have the time. I sure don't enjoy problem solving when it involves extra work. Good luck. I think I would cull one that repeated that offense.

Its the most annoying thing ever. We did have more trouble with heifer sim calves. The heifers had a harder time at birth and the calf, usually big and stressed, would not be a good nurser. So if you had a tired heifer and a giant big dumb calf...ugh....Even though I still have occasional heifer calving problems, its usually just the heifer having a problem and not the dinky angus calf she spit out that was born standing up....Sometimes the calf is up before the heifer is and tries to nurse everyone watching... Which points to another common problem with a heifer herd, that first calf. Its like a freaky object in the pasture. You'll have the mother chasing it around to nurse it, and the 59 others chasing to see what the heck it is. I'm always shocked they don't get trampled. Although, that does happen.... I'm now locking up those first few new calvers to solve that problem.
I'll have just 20 this year, but have 61 weanlings for next...fingers crossed we sell a large portion of them..
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby lithuanian farmer » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:19 pm

Rarely have problems. The last one was more than two years ago. 2nd calver. She had a dead first calf, so no experience from that one. Have nursed her new calf once and she was still after that. Had one many years ago, but she had a hard first calving.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby Lucky_P » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:35 pm

It's aggravating. Thankfully not a common occurrence here.

Had one a couple of years back that rejected her first calf... penned 'em up together, and had to put her in the chute a few times to get 'em bonded... then she also took on her half-sib's calf while the other cow was recuperating from mastitis/metritis.
Next year... she absolutely refused her own calf... and was not in a paddock where we could get her back to the barn, so it ended up being a bottle calf... but within a couple of days, she'd let anything (except her own calf) nurse her... ended up helping raise the biggest steer in the herd that year. We didn't give her a chance to do a repeat performance.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby angus9259 » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:06 pm

Lucky_P wrote:It's aggravating. Thankfully not a common occurrence here.

Had one a couple of years back that rejected her first calf... .


That's the odd thing. These heifers looooove their calves. No rejections whatsoever. Just don't want them nursing. just raise their leg when the calf starts to nurse to deliver a soft kick and turn when the calf tries to nurse. Kick and turn. Kick and turn. nothing aggressive.

I hobbled this one. Seems to be working.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby Stocker Steve » Tue Nov 28, 2017 7:44 pm

cowgirl8 wrote:We did have more trouble with heifer sim calves. The heifers had a harder time at birth and the calf, usually big and stressed, would not be a good nurser.


Happens.
Correlates with difficult births, which correlates with breed.
Had an unassisted heifer deliver a 94# bull calf this spring. She then decided she did not want it. Go figure.
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Jeanne - Simme Valley
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Nov 28, 2017 9:16 pm

Sounds like the dam's udder hurts her.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby ddd75 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:39 am

i've had it happen before.

put them in the chute and make them milk.. put them in a pen together away from others so they can bond. Watch them for a while the momma might try to kill the calf.

Put some calf saver stuff on their backs.

Once they take them they should be fine from then on, shouldn't need to do it for other calves they have.
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Re: unwilling heifers

Postby cowgirl8 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:05 am

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:Sounds like the dam's udder hurts her.

Absolutely the first thing to investigate...
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