Mothering Ability ?

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Stocker Steve
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Mothering Ability ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:08 pm

How inheritable to you think mothering is?
Do you have some cows that you will not keep replacements out of due to them being indifferent mothers?
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby dun » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:15 pm

That's one of those "well sort of heritable" traits. Had a cow that with her first calf did a great job. On her second she tried to kill it. I mean seriously tried. She would get the calf down and pound her into the ground, never licked it once and only allowed it to nurse in the squeeze chute. As soon as she came out she would hunt to calf down and start pounding on her. She went to the sale barn and the vet bought the calf as a bucket calf for his daughter for the fair. That calf (now 12 years old) has raised all of her calves without a hitch and 3 of her daughters are still in his herd producing. Lil Orphan Annie may have been an exception but it sure wasn;t heritable in her case.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Aaron » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:34 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:How inheritable to you think mothering is?
Do you have some cows that you will not keep replacements out of due to them being indifferent mothers?


Cow that are indifferent don't get to stay around long enough to have replacements. Last one I had was an '08 model - one calf and she was gone at weaning, even though the calf was a massive brute at that point.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:41 pm

I think Herefords have more mothering ability than most breeds.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Ky hills » Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:58 pm

I agree with Dun, to me it doesn't seem to be a given that a daughter from a really good mother cow will always carry on that trait. I will also say that like Aaron said, if one isn't a good mother, she doesn't stay around and certainly wouldn't retain any daughters.
Not sure if breed plays a role or not, have heard some folks say that some breeds do not have good mothering ability. I have had good success as a whole with both Angus and Herefords.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:26 pm

Our 3 way cross journey has exposed us to a lot. Herf and Limi have above average mothering with no calf "left behind", and Simi has below average mothering, in our herd. The two questionable cow families are extremely docile ones that have been crossed Simi. Seems like there can be a negative correlation between disposition and mothering.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Bullitt » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:11 pm

dun wrote:That's one of those "well sort of heritable" traits. Had a cow that with her first calf did a great job. On her second she tried to kill it. I mean seriously tried. She would get the calf down and pound her into the ground, never licked it once and only allowed it to nurse in the squeeze chute. As soon as she came out she would hunt to calf down and start pounding on her. She went to the sale barn and the vet bought the calf as a bucket calf for his daughter for the fair. That calf (now 12 years old) has raised all of her calves without a hitch and 3 of her daughters are still in his herd producing. Lil Orphan Annie may have been an exception but it sure wasn;t heritable in her case.


In women, I believe they call it postpartum depression when a mother kills, or tries to kill, her baby. They used to just say the person went crazy. It seems that your cow went crazy. I am glad that her heifer turned out well.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Caustic Burno » Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:16 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:Our 3 way cross journey has exposed us to a lot. Herf and Limi have above average mothering with no calf "left behind", and Simi has below average mothering, in our herd. The two questionable cow families are extremely docile ones that have been crossed Simi. Seems like there can be a negative correlation between disposition and mothering.


Best I have ever seen at that is the Brahmans the herd will raise an orphan.
On the flip side they can be some of the worst to wean.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:04 pm

Hard to beat baldies in the north. Ran some rough numbers last night - - with a small increase in the weaning weights and the step increase in value of the F1 replacements - - a Hereford cow maker should earn back his purchase price in about two years. :shock:
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Brute 23 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:35 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:How inheritable to you think mothering is?
Do you have some cows that you will not keep replacements out of due to them being indifferent mothers?


Yes it is very inheritable. The best situation is when you put the heifers back in the same herd as their mothers.

If the cow is not good enough to keep a replacement out of I don't keep them.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby TCRanch » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:24 pm

Bullitt wrote:
dun wrote:That's one of those "well sort of heritable" traits. Had a cow that with her first calf did a great job. On her second she tried to kill it. I mean seriously tried. She would get the calf down and pound her into the ground, never licked it once and only allowed it to nurse in the squeeze chute. As soon as she came out she would hunt to calf down and start pounding on her. She went to the sale barn and the vet bought the calf as a bucket calf for his daughter for the fair. That calf (now 12 years old) has raised all of her calves without a hitch and 3 of her daughters are still in his herd producing. Lil Orphan Annie may have been an exception but it sure wasn;t heritable in her case.


In women, I believe they call it postpartum depression when a mother kills, or tries to kill, her baby. They used to just say the person went crazy. It seems that your cow went crazy. I am glad that her heifer turned out well.

Dunno about that theory. My Satan was downright evil but an awesome mama, raised great calves. Had twins one year and initially accepted both but rejected one after 3 days and left it to die. We found the calf after 3 days, amazingly still alive, and tried to reunite her with Satan who immediately tried to kill her, throwing her against the barn wall and going in for the kill until my husband nailed her with a 2x4. So now we had a bottle calf. Satan completely doted on her other twin and was a fab mom for 2 more calves before she died.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Stocker Steve » Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:49 pm

Brute 23 wrote:
Stocker Steve wrote:How inheritable to you think mothering is?


Yes it is very inheritable. The best situation is when you put the heifers back in the same herd as their mothers.


Why is this better?
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Brute 23 » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:53 pm

Stocker Steve wrote:
Brute 23 wrote:
Stocker Steve wrote:How inheritable to you think mothering is?


Yes it is very inheritable. The best situation is when you put the heifers back in the same herd as their mothers.


Why is this better?


Genetics plus enviroment.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby farmerjan » Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:06 pm

It seems to be a crap shoot as to whether an indifferent mother 's daughters will be good or not. Have had it go both ways. Usually I have found that an indifferent mother's calves will not be as big or nice because they don't get all they could/should because the cow is indifferent. So because they are not as nice a calf they seldom get retained as a potential replacement. Still, more of our good mothers have daughters in the herd because they are good mothers also. I did a little digging in my records to try to answer this as it made me think about our heifer retaining.
I am apt to keep a heifer out of a cow that has a good disposition, and along with that good disposition is her being a good mother. I have a cow right now that is an exceptional mother. 4th calf I think. The calf is a flighty nutcase.... like spookier than wild deer. Nice calf. NOT A CANDIDATE to be retained .... UNLESS when we move them to the barn, she calms down and is only this way from being at a distant pasture with little human interaction. But she has been wild since birth, haven't been able to get her and another calf into the catch pen to get the group moved. Could be the other calf too. I have a cow that is a sweetheart and she is not the greatest mother, but her calves are always calm like her. Have kept 2 heifers and they have been good mothers. The cow may be a better mother than I give her credit for, because if I am out there she wants to be around me, and not worrying about her calf.
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Re: Mothering Ability ?

Postby Midtenn » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:03 pm

I only have four purebred Charolais but all and I mean ALL of them will walk off grazing in the other direction while I'm tagging their calf who is kicking and bawling. What if I was a coyote or A black headed buzzard, would she still be walking away? I usually wait a few days until I can separate cow and calf in different pens but the other breeds...Angus/brangus and baldies will be right there wanting through the fence.
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