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thin cows

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  • thin cows

    i would like some information on cows if possible. my next door nighbors has about 9 cows on about 8 acres. there are 4heifers, 4 cows (hope that is the correct term), not sure about bulls and no steers. my question is that the majority of the heifers or feeders are really really thin. these are beef cows (herefords) so i would think that a rancher would prefer them to be heavier especially going into winter. The heifers are hollow above the tail set, hips bones protruding and back bones protrudes as well. He cut hay this summer and I saw him stack it in his barn, but that doesnt really mean anything. my question is that is this normal for growing heifers to get this thin? i would say they are about 7-8 months and havent been weaned off their mothers either. the mothers as well are looking thin and not sure if thats because they are pregnant again as well as still nursing this last crop. is this something that needs to be reported? any help and insight is greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Cows, especially older cows, can get pulled down from nursing a bigger calf and look thin easily.
    The better the cow, the more milk she gives, the bigger calves she raises, the thinner she may get.
    The hormones that regulate fat deposition and milk production tend to work against each other, not even talking about the extra nutrition needed for nursing, that also plays a role on how much weight the cow can maintain.

    Then, those calves should look big and fat and "soggy", that is milk fat, not skinny also.

    He may ought to have pulled the calves off before the cow started getting too thin and definitely before the calves get too thin themselves.

    Most cows are culled because they get too thin eventually, as they age and lose teeth by starting about ten years old.

    You could ask him those questions, see what he tells you, if the cows are really too thin and why and why the calves are not calf-fat as they really should be, right before weaning.

    What you really don't want to do is to let things slide without asking, then regret it later if indeed there is a problem you could have helped remedy.


    • Original Poster

      Thanks Bluey. at what age are calves weaned normally?


      • #4
        Originally posted by andylover View Post
        Thanks Bluey. at what age are calves weaned normally?
        Between five and eight months, ideally about 7, 210 days.

        In our area, most start calving in February and calve for some three months and most wean in October, some calves younger then than others.
        Then, some have fall calving cows and those wean then in the spring.
        Others may keep bulls out all year long and so have most calves in the spring, but still some all along and wean by gathering and weaning several times a year.

        Sounds like your neighbor has early spring calves and should be weaning any time soon in the next three weeks or so.
        If his calves are getting thin, he should have been weaning earlier and supplementing the calves and let the cows pick up before winter.

        A really fat cow is generally a barren cow, that doesn't cycle right to get bred, but you don't want any cow to get skinny, need to start supplementing before it gets there.