Monday, March 28, 2011


This guy was delivered, with a lot of help, Friday afternoon. He is a big boy, weighing in at an approximated 110 pounds. To give you a a comparison, our average calf weight out of heifers is about 70 pounds.
The first clue as to the size of a calf at birth are his feet, which stick out first during delivery. It's hard to tell by the picture, but this guys feet are massive, and upon seeing them my dad immediately got the heifer in and proceeded to help deliver the calf, which saved his life. Without assistance, this calf, and most likely his mother, would have both died. This is another example of management practices ranchers put in place for the health and well being of their cattle. We didn't try to breed her so she would have a calf this size, but sometimes accidents happen, and thanks to my dad being on call 24-7, and knowing what to do, everyone is alive and healthy.

We also manage our heifers to be fairly close to their mature body weight at the time they have their first calf, which greatly increased the chances of success in this instance. Ranchers can feed their replacement heifers different rations that will result in them being closer or further from their mature body weight at the time they have their first calf.
If that heifer had been 300 pounds lighter, it's very unlikely she would have survived the birth.

Here are a couple other heifers, and their calves, to show you how big most calves are in comparison to their moms.

He is much bigger. It is a bull calf, and had it been a heifer, her tag number would have been noted, and she would not be kept as a replacement due to being so large at birth. We don't like to have calves this big - it's hard on the mom, results in more calving problems and calves that die, and is unnecessary, as smaller birth weight calves will grow and gain as much as large birth weight calves today.

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