View Full Version : Dexter bull
07-19-2009, 10:03 AM
I have a sweet heart Dexter bull (smallest true breed) who is just 8 months old. I also have his mother, a non related cow and heifer, all Dexters.
I have several questions and would appreciate any help getting them answered, thanks :)
My farms goal is to raise livestock for milk and meat purposes. On a small scale since we only have 6 acres for the Dexters. They require a half acre each.
1. Both cows are from great milking lines and I do not want to sell them, but one of my cows is also the mother of my bull calf who has excellent genetics and great conformation. I've raised him since he was born and would like to make him the herd bull. If they both have great genetics would it be so bad to breed them?
2. If I want to allow him to stay in the herd, how many cows will be needed to keep him happy? He will be the only bull while other future bull calf will be castrated and grown for meat purposes.
3. When will he be old enough to breed. He seemed to be old enough now?
4. When will he stop nursing? His mother doesn't mind and he is such a mommas boy and a big baby.
07-19-2009, 05:42 PM
Inbreeding concentrates genes. Both good genes and bad genes. The surest way to see if there are any negative genes in the background of an animal is to inbreed it. You do run the risk of having problems by inbreeding but that said you can also consolidate good genes. In general, inbreeding is not looked upon favorably in most livestock species. It is however done commonly in poultry. With poultry, you have numerous offspring and if you get some bad genes, it is easy to dispose of the problem and start over. With cattle, if you get a lethal gene pop up, you are out a whole years breeding program.
As far as how many cows will he need to make him happy, I doubt your 4 acres will be enough land to get enough females to keep him happy. While most young cattle (yearlings) can sucessfully breed 15 or more cow, a mature bull can often handle 3 times that many.
He is likely to be close to being fertile now, but should definitely be fertile in a couple more months. This poses a problem for you as it is possible that he could have already bred his mother back if you do not have another bull on the place. Cows will often breed back within 60 to 90 days of giving birth.
Most cattle producers wean their calves at 205 day (about 7 months). By that time, the calves are usually getting very little from their mothers and rely more on the pasture on which they are kept. There is really no reason to allow him to nurse indefinitely.
I hope this information is useful to you.
01-29-2010, 12:04 PM
I don't know a whole lot about bovines in general but Rich has the right idea. Breeding son to mother is an accepted practice with all kinds of animals. If you can help it I personally wouldn't engage in inbreeding, especially when your herd is so small = small gene pool. Is the heifer also unrelated to the rest?
You could always think about studding him out!
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