When Cows are too good at their job....

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When Cows are too good at their job....

Blaithin's Avatar Jun 22, 2020 | 07:51 1 I multi suckle my herd. A little bit more work at first and sometimes a bit more management required but it works for me.

Here is a case of a bit more management needed. I don’t mind calves sharing cows as long as they’re the same age group. The two big fatties here are a little too old to be fair competition though! So off the cow goes to the summer pasture while the other cow and her fatso calves stay at home.


As problems go it’s an easy fix. Reply With Quote
Jun 22, 2020 | 08:45 2 Heavy milkers, eh? We always keep replacement heifers from our own herd. They will hang out with their mothers if in the same calving pasture. We have seen the mother allowing her calf, her grandcalf and sometimes her daughter to nurse! Not good if the colostrum is getting stolen though. Reply With Quote
Blaithin's Avatar Jun 22, 2020 | 08:58 3
Quote Originally Posted by littledoggie View Post
Heavy milkers, eh? We always keep replacement heifers from our own herd. They will hang out with their mothers if in the same calving pasture. We have seen the mother allowing her calf, her grandcalf and sometimes her daughter to nurse! Not good if the colostrum is getting stolen though.
Yes, they’re Fleckvieh from a dairy.

Acorn, the cow in the photo, peaked at 12 gallons her second lactation, when I bought her. I assume she doesn’t do that for me since I’ve just got her on grass but she still produces great gobs of milk.

I’m less forgiving with the older animals nursing. Currently have a yearling that, despite being weaned last September, decided she needed to nurse this spring again. Of course it’s always a replacement heifer, never some fugly steer you don’t want. So now she’s sporting a temporary weaning ring and I’ve got a permanent one on order. But then my cows are already raising multiples, they don’t need some fat arsed yearling sucking them dry too! Reply With Quote
Jun 23, 2020 | 16:49 4 That is a most impressive sight!

Multi-gen sucking is one thing that I do not tolerate. There are a couple of nose pieces on the shelf for that reason. When I saw them the other day, I was happily reminded that I haven't needed them for a few years.

You are getting the absolute most out of every bite of grass that your girls are eating. Certainly more work at the start, but big returns.

Good work - your dedication is outstanding! Reply With Quote
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  • Jun 25, 2020 | 08:13 5 We don't allow multi-generational nursing either. Just an observation that turned into a management practice that keeps the first time calvers on their own calving ground. Should have mentioned that off the top. Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Jul 4, 2020 | 12:48 6 Kept a bull calf back last year, out of my Milking Shorthorn. Happy enough with how he’s filling out now that he’s on grass. Needs to hit a growth spurt and go up a bit more though.

    Hopefully he does well this year so the Hereford can be phased out. I’m not a Hereford fan in general but Bullcephous has done well for the circumstances. Wouldn’t trust many other breeds to do what he’s done.

    This fellow should help keep milk production up in the herd though. His Mom is a producer and a half. Looks like he’s got his dads stubby legs 😂

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    Jul 7, 2020 | 04:57 7 Looks like he should produce easy-feeding calves. And if the mommas milk like yours do, there should be some good weaning weights.

    Picked this chap up a month ago. Not much air under him either, but he is very powerfully built. A good, quiet worker it turns out, too. :-) Should work well on some of my bigger cows.

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    He replaced a crazed, screaming Limo that got himself ground into cold cuts last winter. He was getting testy for the past year, but when I found him pulverizing a cow in a corner of the loose pen, he took a trip to town. #notafan Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Jul 7, 2020 | 09:22 8 He’s a solid fellow!

    I’m slightly worried about the weights this guy will throw. I have nothing against tiny calves if they grow. I’d rather tiny than large. My herf is good at letting the cows dictate the calf size, could I be so lucky twice!

    Have to say, I’m a fan of Limos for the most part, as long as I don’t have to work them. Even the quietest limo seems to get a brainworm if they think you’re going to work them. But life’s too short to put up with a bastard bull, no matter how nice he may be. Or bastard anything for that matter. My slaughter steer decided he needed to beat up the calves this spring. Giant, horned shit, cornering and jabbing little babies. His freezer date got moved up and I must say he’s much more enjoyable on my plate! Reply With Quote
    Jul 9, 2020 | 00:18 9
    Quote Originally Posted by Blaithin View Post
    He’s a solid fellow!

    I’m slightly worried about the weights this guy will throw. I have nothing against tiny calves if they grow. I’d rather tiny than large. My herf is good at letting the cows dictate the calf size, could I be so lucky twice!

    Have to say, I’m a fan of Limos for the most part, as long as I don’t have to work them. Even the quietest limo seems to get a brainworm if they think you’re going to work them. But life’s too short to put up with a bastard bull, no matter how nice he may be. Or bastard anything for that matter. My slaughter steer decided he needed to beat up the calves this spring. Giant, horned shit, cornering and jabbing little babies. His freezer date got moved up and I must say he’s much more enjoyable on my plate!
    Much easier to handle as well after getting wrapped in two pound packages. 😉 Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Jul 26, 2020 | 11:13 10 Today we are exploring how good his milk mirror is.

    Things learnt so far:

    Don’t ask on Facebook, learn from somewhere else (Knew this already but this is reconfirming it)

    Bulls milk mirrors may be easier to see in winter.

    My memory when it comes to such rarely used information is not what it used to be.

    Glenn has a bulls well developed ability to have a shitty ass. So he’s got that going for him.

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    Jul 31, 2020 | 20:38 11 I just learned a new "evaluation" technique.??

    Never heard of it before.

    Has it worked out for you? Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Aug 1, 2020 | 10:38 12 Can’t say I’ve ever used it when purchasing. Any dairy animals I’ve bought I’ve known the production of and with the beef it’s not usually a matter of caring.

    It is something I may pay attention to in the future, but more for curiosity. I can’t say I really look at it in any of my cows to compare it to how they produce or would purchase a heifer on it alone.

    This is the cow in the first photo when she was in early labour this year. Originally I took it to see how much her udder fills during/after calving so it’s about the only photo I have of my cows showing the milk mirror. Although her winter hair makes it look somewhat mangy hah

    To my understanding because it’s fairly wide and equal all the way up, she comes into her peak fast, is a high producer and has lasting power in her lactation, even when bred.

    When I purchased her she was just peaking at 4-5 weeks so fairly quick, and was producing 12 gallons a day, so definitely high. I have no info on her production after being bred however I have carried her through a long lactation. I’d have to check dates to be sure but it was probably 14-15 months.



    I should see what photos I can get now that they’re summer slick and compare them. With the beef girls as well. Reply With Quote
    Aug 1, 2020 | 20:09 13 Whoa, that's a lot of milk for any cow! (Edit - asked a needless question in reply) No wonder she can feed multiple calves.

    Now that I know that, I will be watching it in the future.

    It will be interesting to see if there's any correlation to type/muscling. Milk and muscle don't always coincide... Reply With Quote
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  • Blaithin's Avatar Aug 2, 2020 | 10:10 14 In a Beef context I think it would be interesting to see if their production lowers after breeding.

    I think that’s shown by a narrowing of the estucheon as it goes up to the point that it might not even reach the vulva.

    If a cow has a milk mirror that shows her production drops after breeding, it would be interesting to see what her calves have historically weaned as. Maybe these are the cows that have cracker calves right off the start but as the season goes on they fall behind and just start to blend in with the rest. Reply With Quote
    Blaithin's Avatar Aug 5, 2020 | 18:09 15 What about happy lines?

    Horizontal lines visible along their barrel.

    I’ve never seen them on my cattle but I don’t know if it’s because I just don’t remember to look or if they’ve never been there. Checked the other night and they’re faintly making an appearance on one of the heifers. Have to go check the cows for them.



    Happy lines are apparently fat deposits from a high forage diet. They’re supposed to be a sign of a happy, healthy animal. Reply With Quote
    Aug 6, 2020 | 17:21 16 So straight rows of burrs stuck in their hair likely wouldn't count? Reply With Quote