Calves that are intact

arikedenSeptember 26, 2010

We have got 6 bucket calves that are kept intact (we have reasons).

Two of them are licking each other's balls... Pardon my french. Or suckling.

Today I've noticed one of them was mounting the other one (they are only 10-11 weeks old, just began to nibble on grass). These two are jerseys.

My hostein calves that are intact do not do that.

Can other calves learn from them to do these nasty things?

How often this occurs?

Do steer calves mount each other?

Thanks.

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bulldinkie(pa)

I raise longhorns ive seen cows mount each other ,steers mount each other.They are stupid animals I think.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:22PM
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lazy_gardens

It's not "nasty" it's "natural"! If you can't handle sexual activity don't have a farm. Or children.

Calves start mounting and other sex-related activity - it's dominance-related too - when they are 3 or 4 months old.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 8:21PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

A little off your topic. Please be aware that the Jersey bull has been, statistically, the most dangerous animal on the farm.

Probably not so many deaths by Jersey bull today because nobody keeps their own dairy bulls any more.

If you are going to keep those jersey bulls intact, please be very careful with them and make sure you have adequate facilities to handle bulls.

Dairy bulls are NOT like handling the bulls of beef breeds, and the beef breed bulls already have enough potential to be dangerous if they are handled incorrectly.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 10:08PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Sorry, didn't answer your question.

The bull calves should be separated and kept in separate pens until they are well and thoroughly weaned. They can damage each other's testes by suckling on them.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 10:12PM
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lily51(OH 5)

Oregonwoodsmoke
Thanks for adding your information. There was a farm wife in the neighborhood killed by a jersey bull a couple years ago. No one understood why they had bulls when there is AI.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 7:47AM
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calliope(6)

A lot of our farmers here keep bulls and they trade them around with each other to keep the herds from too much consanguinity. My son and daughter both had at least one bull on their farms. Both are/were beef herds mostly hereford and angus. Never had any problem with their bulls. A couple were actually pretty gentle.

If you have a family farm with a few milk cows and are not particularly interested in raising more milk cows as replacement stock, there is no reason they cannot be bred to a beef bull instead of a dairy bull. The calves would eventually be used for beef.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 11:01PM
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lucky_p

While most US dairies have gone to AI, there are still plenty that use a bull - in this area, primarily the Amish and Mennonites. One of our large dairy clients(they milk over 1300 head) raises most of their AI-sired bull calves intact, for sale to small Amish/Mennonite farms.
Dairy bulls are extremely dangerous - and Jerseys have the reputation of being the worst - and it comes from having been hand-reared and fed by humans. They don't have the 'fear' or 'respect' of humans that we see in most beef bulls which were reared on their dams in the pasture. Once those hand-reared bulls reach substantial size, and the testosterone begins flowing, they will see any human as a potential challenger to their status as 'top dog', and there have been innumerable farmers killed - and in many cases reduced to bloody pulp ground into the ground - by a testosterone-fueled 1800-2400 lb mass of bone and muscle in the form of a dairy bull.
We see a similar occurrence in hand-reared intact male llamas, termed 'Berserk Male Syndrome'.

I don't know what your 'reasons' are for keeping these calves intact, but you need to re-think them.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2010 at 1:00PM
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pamghatten(wny5)

My gelded donkeys, father and son, mount each other ... or try to. As someone else said, it's a dominance thing ...

    Bookmark   October 5, 2010 at 12:27PM
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lily51(OH 5)

lucky p
I did not realize that llamas could be dangerous also. We raised sheep for a couple decades, and my husband's family raised them for 30 years before that. We only kept the rams 2-3 years..they became quite agressive and mean, very protective of their ewes. And they don't care who they take on as far as charging goes.
So "gentle as a lamb" really only means lambs !

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 8:35AM
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beegood_gw

I got charged by a ram in a pasture several years ago and believe me the words "battering ram "took on a whole new meaning. If I hadn't been able to get hold of a strong stick It would have been worse.Every time he charged I'd clout him on the head till he finally quit. All males on a farm used for breeding shud be treated with great respect and NEVER made pets of and they shud respect your space at all times.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2010 at 9:29AM
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arikeden

First of all, thank you to all of you for sharing your experience and knowledge. We never had any jerseys before. Looking for a higher fat content than holstein to augment our milk production (for family and organic shares).

It costs about $300-$400 to perform an AI in this area. The vet does not guarantee the outcome, as you might guessed already - he can't! The repeat procedure if the first didn't work is only $100 off. I know it's hard to believe these prices... Because most of properties with acreage here are equestrian properties, it's hard to find a vet that works with cows. I found only one in roughly 75 miles radios that works with sheep. All vets charge at least $200 just to come (if (s)he is close by!).

So, when we decided to breed our holsteins, for example, we borrowed a herd bull (holstein) from our friend from a Mennonite community. The bull is productive, but is actually very, very gentle and tame. And, as you know, holstein is a dairy breed. I guess, this bull is rather an exception. Or may be because it is always with many cows... ;-) They keep him content?... ;-)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 8:51AM
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calliope(6)

If you have acquaintances who keep a bull of the breed you want to use, why bother raising intact bull calves? Borrow the gentle bull, or take your cow or two to the bull's farm and let the owner introduce them. I suppose without a bull around, it may be hard to tell when the cow is receptive though? How big a herd do you have?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 12:14PM
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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

You do not have a veterinarian AI your cattle.

Contact the company who sells the frozen semen and find out who their representative is in your area. Cost should be about $25 for the labor plus the cost of the semen, which can be anywhere from $15 to several hundred, depending upon the reputation of the bull you select.

You must have a safe way to confine your cow for the AI. A squeeze chute with a head gate is the safest method, and if you do not already own a squeeze chute, you have no business keeping a bull.

Either you must be able to tell when your cow is ovulating, or you do a timed insemination, using drugs to induce ovulation. That is what is usually done with a herd, so that the inseminator can inseminate multiple cows in one trip and the cows will all calf within a 2-3 day period.

If you want richer milk, do not mess around with a jersey bull. Buy yourself a nice purebred jersey cow, and simply combine her milk with the milk of your Holsteins.

If you have a small farm, you should not be breeding to dairy bulls, anyway. Breed your cows to an Angus bull and then your steer calves are worth something, at least, instead of being worthless.

There is no point in your trying to breed purebred dairy springers unless you have performance tested and registered cows of outstanding pedigree and you breed them to an expensive, fashionable, and high test bull.

I don't know what the heck you would do with a Jersey Holstein calf. The bull calves would be totally worthless, you wouldn't be able to give them away, and the heifers would be nearly equally worthless. Why would you spend the money to raise one, just to discover in 2 years that you have a runt cow that produces a low volume of no fat milk?

There is no guarantee that when to do a cross that the resulting calf will only have the traits that you consider desirable. They could easily be born with all the traits that you consider to be undesirable.

If you want Jersey cows, buy 1-2 nice registered Jerseys, and then if you want more jerseys, have them AI'ed with semen from a high test top quality, proven registered Jersey bull. It would be cheaper and more certain, though, to simply purchase another young Jersey than to go to the trouble of breeding and 50% chance of getting a bull.

Although on the issue of the sex of calves, it is possible to purchase sexed semen and get whichever sex calf you prefer.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 8:00PM
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calliope(6)

Very well explained

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 9:30PM
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gmatx_gw zone 6

I second lazygardens comments. What you are seeing is nature occurring in real time/real life.

Oregonwoodsmoke has saved you a lot of internet time and has given you the best and most complete information.

Jersey bulls are able to successfully breed cows when they are 12-14 months old and by the age of 2 years are too dangerous to be kept and/or handled. The dairy owners in this area will not keep what few Jersey bulls they occasionally have past that age. They can kill you in just a matter of seconds. As Oregonwoodsmoke asked, why are you keeping 4 bulls? I am guessing it is for growth/weight gain that you are maintaining them as bulls. If you think that by maintaining the growth rate increase you see by the hormones a bull has, you need to be fully aware that a bull does not produce quality meat to eat unless they are killed while consistently on the gain - this would have to be over the last 60-90 days before slaughter. Also, Holsteins are large boned and your percentage of waste at slaughter will be greater than the usual 40%.

I understand your feeling that the $300-400 to have a cow AIed is high, but have you ever considered the amount of money you are spending to feed a bull(s) year round. You stated that the veterinarian cannot guarantee that a cow will settle, but neither can having a bull on hand guarantee that they will settle with one covering. And, you have to continue to feed and deal with that bull......

As to the question of why animals mount each other - it's just nature! The easiest way to tell if a cow is in heat if you don't have a bull is to watch the other cattle as the odor/hormones/behavior/ of that cow in heat will entice the "riding" or "bulling" behavior from the other cattle.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 2:49PM
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gmatx_gw zone 6

I second lazygardens comments. What you are seeing is nature occurring in real time/real life.

Oregonwoodsmoke has saved you a lot of internet time and has given you the best and most complete information.

Jersey bulls are able to successfully breed cows when they are 12-14 months old and by the age of 2 years are too dangerous to be kept and/or handled. The dairy owners in this area will not keep what few Jersey bulls they occasionally have past that age. They can kill you in just a matter of seconds. As Oregonwoodsmoke asked, why are you keeping 4 bulls? I am guessing it is for growth/weight gain that you are maintaining them as bulls. If you think that by maintaining the growth rate increase you see by the hormones a bull has, you need to be fully aware that a bull does not produce quality meat to eat unless they are killed while consistently on the gain - this would have to be over the last 60-90 days before slaughter. Also, Holsteins are large boned and your percentage of waste at slaughter will be greater than the usual 40%.

I understand your feeling that the $300-400 to have a cow AIed is high, but have you ever considered the amount of money you are spending to feed a bull(s) year round. You stated that the veterinarian cannot guarantee that a cow will settle, but neither can having a bull on hand guarantee that they will settle with one covering. And, you have to continue to feed and deal with that bull......

As to the question of why animals mount each other - it's just nature! The easiest way to tell if a cow is in heat if you don't have a bull is to watch the other cattle as the odor/hormones/behavior/ of that cow in heat will entice the "riding" or "bulling" behavior from the other cattle.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 7:58PM
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truwest

Bottle calves will suck on each other because they were weaned too young. A strong sucking instinct is survival - it's not sexual, and it's not a learned behavior. They can also fixate on a tale, scrotum, teats, or whatever is accessible, and they can do damage.

Mounting is an entirely different behavior. They will do that when they come into heat, often as early as three or four months old. The cow in heat will mount anything...bull, steer, another cow, and they will even jump on the back of an unsuspecting person. It is not just bulls that are dangerous. I have a relative who had their back broken by a normally docile and well behaved cow.

You can't attribute these behaviors to intelligence or lack of, or to bad moral behavior. They are driven by natural instincts. I had one prospective buyer who was shocked speechless that a bull would breed his own daughters if they weren't separated. And we are supposed to be the smart ones :)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2010 at 10:52PM
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