Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

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Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:15 pm

Hi All,

For medium frame calves, that are or will be bottle fed, all medium frame for example, what are the growth and approx weight timelines.

Target to hit by say 3 months
Target for 6 months
Target at yearling

And for any laggards, I have some lagging now that are about 4 months or so old, to what age do I have to rectify and lack of good start ?

And, seeing most will become cows for production, does it matter really if they are somewhat smaller, or to be precise, does the stunting of a calfs growth that will become a cow pass on something that will make the calf smaller, or will the calf benefit from genes that will allow it to be able to reach any potential and be larger than the cow the calf came from.

I am just thinking, if the heifers only reach 75% of potential size, but will still throw a calf with full potential, I may have a mob of cows that just eat less but still produce good calves, this is with an assumption that the 75% in this example does not overly complicate birthing.

Ironically, I have 3 young bull calves, all from different farms, all baldy, and all 3 have always been smaller than pen mates or others in the mob, I need to get them going I suppose, not one steer that is a year or so has outperformed the heifers in the group, but one seems to chow down more food ! TBH I was thinking they would be a good % larger, I am starting to think the one in particular may have been sold as Hereford, but be a mini Hereford, he is a touch smaller than a Hereford heifer that is many months younger than him, he also had multiple drenchings when young, the other heifers had nothing at all. None are skinny, but he is more angular, also had large bones when young, looks more normal now,,,



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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by wbvs58 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:55 pm

greggy wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:15 pm
Hi All,

For medium frame calves, that are or will be bottle fed, all medium frame for example, what are the growth and approx weight timelines.

Target to hit by say 3 months
Target for 6 months
Target at yearling

And for any laggards, I have some lagging now that are about 4 months or so old, to what age do I have to rectify and lack of good start ?

And, seeing most will become cows for production, does it matter really if they are somewhat smaller, or to be precise, does the stunting of a calfs growth that will become a cow pass on something that will make the calf smaller, or will the calf benefit from genes that will allow it to be able to reach any potential and be larger than the cow the calf came from.

I am just thinking, if the heifers only reach 75% of potential size, but will still throw a calf with full potential, I may have a mob of cows that just eat less but still produce good calves, this is with an assumption that the 75% in this example does not overly complicate birthing.

Ironically, I have 3 young bull calves, all from different farms, all baldy, and all 3 have always been smaller than pen mates or others in the mob, I need to get them going I suppose, not one steer that is a year or so has outperformed the heifers in the group, but one seems to chow down more food ! TBH I was thinking they would be a good % larger, I am starting to think the one in particular may have been sold as Hereford, but be a mini Hereford, he is a touch smaller than a Hereford heifer that is many months younger than him, he also had multiple drenchings when young, the other heifers had nothing at all. None are skinny, but he is more angular, also had large bones when young, looks more normal now,,,
Have you thought about Pesti virus (BVD)? Buying from all over the shop like that there is a good chance you might pick up one that is a PI which will do poorly. Probably won't do any harm to others as long as they don't get any respiratory disease at the same time as any transient infection. Any heifers you retain would have good immunity by the time they are joined. PI's could explain any backward poor doers which might be worthwhile doing an ear notch test on.

Ken

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:52 am

Hi Ken....

I think I have a handful or more with BVD....either had it, or, my methods and stress induced....

1 died......2 needed an anti biotic.....but still some are effected although not chronic.

If lungs not badly damaged, and with extra attentiin, at some point, do you feel they could all be rectified....to meet potential ?

But, at same time, as long as healthy, I do not care if 25% or so smaller ,,,,, as long as it does not def induce birthing issues or pass something on to produce midgets 😀 nothing against small if breeders.....

Had no choice on buying, and lots of people lie anyways....and I cant buy stud bottle calves....do they even exist ?

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by darcelina4 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:55 am

I dont know what your feeding program is but bottle calves need lots of grain and for a long time. If you feed them enough they wont be small or stunted unless sick like PI bvd. I find adding alfalfa to the hay pile helps them grow too.

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by darcelina4 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:00 am

Not knowing what breeds, and type of cattle and location it is hard to give target weights as even with Angus there is a big size difference in northern compared to southern Angus. I've raised lots of bottle calves. I have many different breeds. They are all over the place birth weights and the breeds affects how they grow. I've had some 500 pound 6 month olds and some 300 pound 6 months old. They were healthy just different.

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:11 am

Did they even out in the long run though ?

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:18 am

I feed milk and high protien pellet till 8 to 12 week, with some good hay limited, after milk good high protien pellet and various feeds, hay is top quality, still limited till 6 month..so they eat high quslity pellet and high protien feed....

Point is, do same feed wise etc, some blow up, some stay smaller..., am ok with smaller if evens out, or, even ok with small if birthing ok.....only have 4 steers or so, so am not focused on return from steers, I hope to use most heifers.....

It is a plan to get some half decent breeders that know what I want from them....I move and feed many different feeds, so they are all going to have be easy managers and easy birthers really....but I can retain when expecting in quater acre.....or yards....

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:39 am

darcelina4 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:55 am
I dont know what your feeding program is but bottle calves need lots of grain and for a long time. If you feed them enough they wont be small or stunted unless sick like PI bvd. I find adding alfalfa to the hay pile helps them grow too.
PS...They get much better than lucerne/alfala.....but is not a free for all, it is really the roughage portion of the feed, but if they have had enough of pellet or whatever, then they get extra.....

They are far from starved, but you just do not know genetics, how long on mum, if go any of mums milk etc etc////...... welcome to the sale barn as you guys call it..

Some are quite impressive for age TBH, make me wonder what they would do if on a mum with good milk and nil stress etc.....oh well, at least they will be well socialised :)

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by cowgal604 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:08 am

My bottle calves actually grow usually just as well as my calves on my cows. But, I also bottle feed until I cannot any longer when I plan to keep them. So 5 months or so. Way longer than most.

I have 6 cows right now that I raised as bottle calves. My smallest girl who never grew as well as the others gave me the best calf. Her calf at 6 months old is my best looking heifer.

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by wbvs58 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:55 pm

greggy wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:52 am
Hi Ken....

I think I have a handful or more with BVD....either had it, or, my methods and stress induced....

1 died......2 needed an anti biotic.....but still some are effected although not chronic.

If lungs not badly damaged, and with extra attentiin, at some point, do you feel they could all be rectified....to meet potential ?

But, at same time, as long as healthy, I do not care if 25% or so smaller ,,,,, as long as it does not def induce birthing issues or pass something on to produce midgets 😀 nothing against small if breeders.....

Had no choice on buying, and lots of people lie anyways....and I cant buy stud bottle calves....do they even exist ?
Greggy, two separate things. If they get BVD after birth they get over it completely fairly quickly. What you have there are some calves with with chronic respiratory disease which is slower for them to recover from and some will have permanent damage. In this case a transient infection of BVD lowers their immunity and they get sick with a respiratory disease. Sounds like there is a very good chance that you have one or more PI's there which are the source of infection. You should identify them and cull them as a PI will only have another PI which if alive will be weak and poor doing in most cases, not what you are after.

Ken

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:39 pm

Hi Ken,

When calves first bought, all were healthy and lively. It would have been a month or so later that certain ones started with a cough.

Only 2 ever got sick or looked ill, or where it seemed to have any effect, the worst one is gone, the second seems to have made a full recovery with assistance from anti biotic, she is the one a month behind, another in that group also was starting to cough often, so she was treated too before it became more complicated & is the largest in the group.

An earlier mob has one that is visibly smaller, she had a very mild cough, does everything else the same as others, in other words, not displayed any difficulties or been down etc, but she is the one that started me thinking about this.

There is also 2 newer calves, but over 3 months, they been on mum & too big and strong to wrestle to give milk, came from same property and been together, they eat plenty of starter pellet, had them confined in small area but can see both mobs , no contact though, I think I noticed the male cough a few times now, but that could be from feed.

If the cough starts like this, would it suggest a stress and conditions induced problem, or is that unlikely. The first mob with the 1 calf out of 9 of a very mild cough at times, they have had more space, but they tend to be on top of each other, either resting, or at the feed trough :)

Is there a simple test I can do later ?

My initial thoughts were, that I was only going to use and retain those that performed well, and looked good, but maybe they need testing too. I may have to start reading more on this.

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by MurraysMutts » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:27 pm

I like ur idea of keeping the best of the group. We all do that, I think, when selecting replacement animals.
I think the biggest problem u are seeing stems from so many different animals from several different unknown sires and dams. They are all gonna grow differently.
I'm sure u already know that, but sometimes in our quest for answers, we can overlook the obvious.
The calves I've raised on a bottle have all done acceptable to me. Wish I could've kept the last 2. I would be able to tell u how they performed as cows. But, they were both free Martin's, and that's why they left.
The one I have now is a twin to another heifer. She is doing just as well, I think, as the one that mama is raising.
Her mother is my biggest (by weight) cow.
Her father was a mutt bull. The owner called him chi-angus. His calves have all done well. The only complaint I have is he does throw color. Not black.
Anyway, I've gone off on a ramble.... lol

I think if u had some history on the sires and dams, u would know so much more about what u are dealing with.

And just because I like pics... this is the chi-angus I spoke of
Image
Crossbred for high bread vinegar....

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:32 pm

cowgal604 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 11:08 am
My bottle calves actually grow usually just as well as my calves on my cows. But, I also bottle feed until I cannot any longer when I plan to keep them. So 5 months or so. Way longer than most.

I have 6 cows right now that I raised as bottle calves. My smallest girl who never grew as well as the others gave me the best calf. Her calf at 6 months old is my best looking heifer.
Hi Cowgal,

I only bottle feed as long as I have too, I look closely so I can cut it ASAP, but they have to be consuming enough pellet which is formulated for them, it is just a plan to help rumen develop, and cut my labour and costs.

Often I see very large well bred Angus cows, at times they walk past my place & in spring they have calves tagging along, so at times I could get pretty close to those little calves to get a fairly good look at them, they are little tanks, chubby, well fed calves that walk a lot, when compared to mine, well, I have to admit, many looked like rats compared to them :)

With more thought, that is probably unfair, mine are not well bred stud animals with mothers on unlimited feed and supplement, and in fact, many are turning out very well, main diff is they are not "fat", they have a healthy layer of fat, in the right spots, and you can see well conditioned muscle, like a mini version of a cow in very good condition, the top of back is near smooth and well rounded, but it is not all of them, it has to be difference in genetics and breed make up, and that is ok, some probably develop faster anyway, there is only really one laggard of group pf 9, and that could be a lot of her genetics too, she is not as angus as some of them in this group.

Other group is mainly Hereford, only the one that got sick is clearly behind, and I do not think she is as hereford as the others either, but I know why she is behind, anyways, after a month, she is pushing and shoving to get what she wants, and is the leader or starter of playful games, got out a few times, and was climbing over 4ft high hay bales, naughty calf.....a def recovery :)

I will be making choices though later, it makes sense to hold the ones that do best with little attention, because those calves should do well.

I was reading something that suggested cattle can grow for 5 years, I was thinking they would need to do most growing in 18 months, but if they have longer, then they have time to catch up. In the other thread, seems most wait till over 18 months too breed, if I follow this, they all have time to catch up, so will see how it evens out when none are on milk anymore, all are together and all have same feed regime, milk will get cut from everyone soon, then will merge all into one mob.

I was having thoughts of pulling the smaller ones too form a group, but that may be a waste of time, or may just be a lot of extra work for nothing.

I have about 15 under 6 months atm, how many have you done at once prior ?

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:48 pm

MurraysMutts wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:27 pm
I like ur idea of keeping the best of the group. We all do that, I think, when selecting replacement animals.
I think the biggest problem u are seeing stems from so many different animals from several different unknown sires and dams. They are all gonna grow differently.
I'm sure u already know that, but sometimes in our quest for answers, we can overlook the obvious.
The calves I've raised on a bottle have all done acceptable to me. Wish I could've kept the last 2. I would be able to tell u how they performed as cows. But, they were both free Martin's, and that's why they left.
The one I have now is a twin to another heifer. She is doing just as well, I think, as the one that mama is raising.
Her mother is my biggest (by weight) cow.
Her father was a mutt bull. The owner called him chi-angus. His calves have all done well. The only complaint I have is he does throw color. Not black.
Anyway, I've gone off on a ramble.... lol

I think if u had some history on the sires and dams, u would know so much more about what u are dealing with.

And just because I like pics... this is the chi-angus I spoke of
Image

Yeah, your right.

But I can see what animals would have come from same place, or are the same breeding.

The one I refer to out of group of nine, has a heifer in with her that is the same breeding, colour, shape and structure, same coat etc etc, they were same size when brought here, one is 20kg above other at a guess.

They also do seem to go through growth stages, or spurts.

The calf that was the largest the day she landed, is still, by far, the largest, she is a vacuum for any feed though, she could now be a full 50kg more than the smallest one, who may not be all that small.

I estimate the largest heifer in this group at 150kg, the smallest, I was originally thinking about 70, but she is prob more 80-90, most are prob in the 110 range now. So say 20 behind, which is significant in my mind.

The Hereford group is heavier for age, and all but one that got sick are filling out nicely, so I have a reason for that heifers size, and expectations have been adjusted lower, who knows, maybe she will catch up.

But not only the exact breeding, but I also do not know exact age, that larger calf could have a month or more on the others, so she is always going to be far ahead until later down the track...

They have kept me busy, so I may get myself confused sometimes :)

That bull looks a fair size and decent TBH, not that I am any expert.

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Re: Bottle fed calf timeline and targets and growing them

Post by greggy » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:51 pm

I should look later and put some age and weight estimates. I may be expecting a lot, yesterday I put 2 calves that were on mothers till after 3 month old in with my hereford group, there is not a lot of difference really.

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