Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Maternal Instinct is Critical when Calving in a Mob

As you know, I was very apprehensive about trying to calve out 600 head of cows while running them as a mob. Well I've learned a TON the past month, and one of the most important things I've learned is that maternal instinct is critical when calving in a mob. And I will be the first to admit that my northern sourced Angus cows just don't have it. It's been interesting to see the difference between the northern cows (they're all 7-8 years old) and my newly purchased Arkansas heifers. One of my heifers had a dead calf and wouldn't leave it for 2 days...and nothing touched that dead calf! (note: I adopted a calf onto her and she's been a fantastic mother.) Several times I've had northern cows walk away from calves that were alive! I had to drive one cow back to her calf 3 separate times! The maternal instinct just isn't there and it has certainly caused some problems. We have several calves that rob from other cows (I'm assuming they've been abandoned) and moving the mob the past few weeks has been exceedingly difficult as the cows will move and leave the calves behind. The calves start balling and it's chaos. It's stressful not only to the calves, but to me. The Arkansas heifers are always with their calves and when they move, they take their calf. Most of the Arkansas heifers have a touch of Brahman in them and that may be helping. I'm sure they were raised differently than my northern cows. The calves are getting older and consequently moving the mob is starting to get easier. The last move I made took 5 minutes...that's the way it's supposed to work. Needless to say I will be culling the majority of my northern sourced cows this year and replacing them with southern sourced cows with some Brahman influence.

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