Replacement Heifer 101: A heifer brought into the herd to replace a culled cow, a/k/a hamburger cow on our farm. All of our replacement heifers now come from our own herd.
Heifer Bull 101: Not an oxymoron. A heifer bull has the genetics to sire slightly lower birth weight calves to reduce birthing difficulties with first-calf heifers.
For the next couple of months, we become voyeurs of steamy bovine sex! We even keep binoculars handy to zoom in on the action.
No, we aren't depraved! There is a perfectly logical reason for this scrutiny.
Bill notes the date each heifer is bred by recording her ear tag number on a calendar so he'll know when to expect her to calve next fall. We keep close tabs on first-calf heifer births in case complications occur or a crash course in Motherhood 101 becomes necessary. The binoculars allow us to see the number from near the house so we don't enter the pasture and become intrusive. See? We really are decent people!
Also, if a heifer we thought was bred comes in heat in three weeks, we know the breeding didn't take. If, after a second or third attempt she is still open, or unbred, it's unlikely she will ever breed and she's headed for the sale barn. Another scenario: If more than one heifer doesn't breed, the bull may be intermittently shooting blanks. Then he's headed for the sale barn.
Here are 9 of our 11 heifers. Two heifers bred early so were put in pens in the corral to provide female companionship for two bulls waiting to be hauled south in a day or two. Without the female distraction and calming influence, the bulls would engage in one-upmanship testosterone antics like bellowing bull smack at each other and head-butting the dividing panels between their pens. Boys will be boys!
Here's the bull. Doesn't he look happy with anticipation at what awaits him?