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 Earliest a cow can safely be bred?

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LivingQuiteSimply Posted - Aug 18 2021 : 10:42:35 AM
I've been reading through Milk Cow Kitchen over and over since I got it a few months ago (this has quickly become one of my all-time favorite books! Anyone else?).

This week in particular I've been searching through it to find out WHEN to breed your cow for the first time. I couldn't find anything definitive.

However, on page 304-305, it shows the process of Etta Jane getting AI'd, and it says she's 4 months shy of 2-years old at that time (or 20 months), while getting pregnant with her second calf. So, I was doing some math, and if at 20 months, she was getting bred with her second calf, I assume she birthed her first calf at 18 months (then had a two month break between pregnancies), which would make her 9 months at her first breeding.

That seems earlier than what I'm reading online, but I trust the source, and we'd like to breed as early as is safely possible. So, I'd really like some input regarding our situation: We have a 7-month-old heifer who came as a bottle baby from a local dairy, so I'd consider her a standard size jersey. We plan to breed her to a micro-mini jersey bull (36"). I was thinking that since we're breeding her to a micro-mini, she'll probably throw a very small calf, so breeding her at 9 or 10 months would be pretty safe. This is all just theory and speculation, since we've never bred cows, so I'd really like to hear the input of those who have a working knowledge.
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maryjane Posted - Aug 18 2021 : 1:18:51 PM
Hmmm, I need to check my records and those pages in my book that you mention because I've never bred a heifer sooner than 14 months of age. I recently had a veterinarian tell me 12 months would be fine. I will grab Etta Jane's file and refresh my memory. I'm at the point where I've had so many cows, calves, bulls, and steers over the years, I have to rely on my records and not my memory. I suggest you call the dairy where you purchased your heifer and ask them what their protocol is since they are familiar with the line of cows you've brought home. Owners sometimes have accidental early pregnancies before 12 months of age and it works out fine. And yes, breeding with a smaller bull often helps with delivery.

On another note, I'm just so very pleased you've joined us and are enjoying Milk Cow Kitchen!