The fall is the time of year when a great many head of calves are weaned. While many of these young cattle are marketed immediately and sold off the farm, others are kept in the herd as replacements. One of the most time-honored traditions in building and maintaining a cow herd has been retaining and developing heifers from within the herd itself. While many heifers are required to replace cull cows which no longer have a place in the herd, additional females may be retained to build numbers. Also, quality heifer calves from outside the herd may also be purchased and developed. It is estimated that about 30 percent of the heifer calves produced in the
According to Schoonover, cow-calf producers in the
Another important aspect of replacement heifers is to have a planned health program so they can be properly immunized prior to introduction into the breeding herd. A good vaccination program for replacement heifers will help to increase reproductive efficiency. According to Hogg, there are six diseases that cause abortions and infertility in which animals should be vaccinated for: Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Vibriosis, IBR (red nose), PI3 (parainfluenza) and BVD (bovine virus diarrhea). In addition to vaccinations, worming and parasite control should also be considered. If worms are a problem in your area, it is recommended that replacement heifers be wormed 30 to 60 days prior to breeding. A veterinarian can determine the level of worm infestation by examining manure samples and will be able to prescribe an effective treatment if worms are a problem. External parasites can be controlled with sprays and pour-ons specific for the type of parasite/s the animal may have.
For further information stop by your local extension office and pick up a copy of these extension articles: Selecting and Developing Replacement Heifers, Health Program for Replacement Heifers.