Uncondensed Real Udder Nonsense & Utterly Important Matters
Beef cattle with insidents of mastitis steals profit and causes a major impact per calf even if only dry quarter. Mastitis is not just a dairy cattle problem, when one dry quarter reduces calf weight by 50-60 pounds. If the calve steals from another that is a hidden profit drain problem.
Enough can not be said about Udder characteristic traits impact on survival. Evaluation starts with elimination of "funnel-shaped" teats and "pendulous" broken udders with poor suspension and animals with chronic mastitis. Antibiotic treatments are just that treatment, but culling is a better option. It is udder nonsense to think a cow makes enough milkwith three tits so it is not important to cull for bad bags. (Evaluation System is being developed.) Red Poll was the only beef breed that was for a long time evaluated for udder; once crossed or no longer shown culling for these traits has not been strictly enforced.
Some of this is repeatative, but enough can not be said about the impact of performance, growth and impacts caused by poor udders and the impact on newborn calf's passive immunity. Most absorption of colostrum occurs in the first six hours after birth, so big or funnel shaped or pendulous udder (bag) makes it harder for a newborn to nurse. Research now shows the importance of passive immunity in some statistics from Clay Center, Nebraska. Calves with inadequate passive immunity had a 5.4 times greater risk of death prior to weaning, 6.4 times greater risk of being sick during the first 28 days of life, and 3.2 times greater risk of being sick prior to weaning compared to calves with adequate passive immunity. Calf health is impacted in weight loss and thus daily gain.
Severe weather or hard delivery with that first calf heifers, and lack of prompt nursing reduces the "bonding" and overall lifetime health of the calf. Colorado State has done extensive studies on antibodies in the blood of calves and absorption and is developing lifetime identification, vertical integrated alliances, for organic markets need calves with highly developed disease immunity.
Ranchers needs management factors that enhance the development of strong passive immunity, which is what is making opportunities for small breeders, and helping forward thinking rancher prepare for value added marketing.
What does this have to do with Red Poll Cattle?
Everything as they are one of the only beef cattle that have been judge for quality of teats, suspension, quantity, quality of milk, and they make a rich milk like goats that people and infants are not allergic reaction to it even when allergic to regular cow's milk.
Efficient Mature (10 year old) Red Poll Cow still has a good udder some still calving at 20 year old! IF YOU ARE NOT CULLING for Udder & Tits you need to breed to only bulls that will produce daughters that do not have these problems.
Use your browser back or arrow to return if you enlarge any pictures. When we first got into this breed I did not expect any bad tits or bad Udders that was not realistic as all breeds have some of those problems and it is more common in older cows as like all things the udder breaksdown.
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Culling on Western Rangeland
Little Red Poll Cow a good forage animal and a functional history of tenderness on grass. We were sold on the efficiency; but within every breed there can be variations in head, thickness, feet and legs and size elements.
Feet and legs are very important. Hoof condition or health is critical to staying in condition on western rangeland. Many breeds do well till they have to be in country that is real wet for long periods and then very dry in the summer. Culling has to include hoof and feet in the west.
Any Red Poll with too much milk cow traits and good handles for milking can be a problem if used as a beef range cow.
We cull for many reasons that may not be a factor for other areas. It has been said "In the long run, we only hit what we aim at." Each operation must establish goals, we include disposition high on our goal list as calm cattle do better as stress has health consequences and calm animals are easier to work with and we say they have the tenderness gene and it does not hurt to be tender, it is good for you and your cattle.
More about Red Poll Cattle and drought conditions:
As some of us are still in a drought are you testing your feed? Nitrate Testing Test kits cost less than $5 per test is it worth it to lose even one animal? Get testing help with from county extension service.
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