We have 6 2 year old heifers and 3 1 year old bulls that we inherited with our property. They are herefords and half-brothers and sisters. The person who we bought the property from said that we shouldn't mate them together for this reason, but everybody else who has seen them - experienced cattle breeding neighbours and experienced TB tester - say it's not a problem. What are your thoughts?
If they are all perfect then not a problem, but any faults will be highlighted.
Presuming they all have the same father, then if bull had any sort of a problem, say twisted feet, wide shoulders, genes for heavy birth weight, then the resultant calves will get a double dose at chances are the problem will be multiplied.
It is probably best not to let all 3 bulls loose on just 6 heifers. Why not pick the best one and put the other two in the freezer or the sales?
Since I'm mating three half-siblings this year, I'm optimistically hoping for the opposite of Sue's possibility: that I'll end up with magically fantastic calves which somehow get all the best genes from their related parents and prove themselves the genesis of a whole new superior line of cattle! One can always hope.
It's usually not the greatest idea, but sometimes needs must. I'd go with Sue's advice and pick the best bull and get rid of the other two. If you put all three bulls in with the heifers, you have a good (bad) chance of having animals with broken bones, broken penises or internal injury from those in the middle of mating being shoved by jealously amorous paddock-mates.
Could you post pictures of any of the cattle? Show me yours and I'll show you mine.
You only need one bull. If you're only going to eat the offspring, I wouldn't worry about breeding brother to sister. One back breeding won't cause problems, unless there is something drastic hidden in their genes. The calves don't have to be perfect to go in the freezer.
Foxwell, not the best of options but not such a bad thing either. Follow advice already given and you shouldn't have too many problems.
If it helps, I am milking a heifer this year and her parents were half brother and sister - same mother, different fathers. She doesn't look like any of them in colour or build and has the makings of being a fine milker. I think she's going to be around for a long time.
There's an old saying that goes "if the cross gives you a good animal - its line-breeding, if the calf is no good - its in-breeding". The good thing about inbreeding is that you can eat your mistakes.
An example of 'line-breeding' is the next bull calf we're getting. The brother and sister are from an exceptional blood-line, so it was worth the risk. But I have a cow that I wouldn't dare try that experiment with (the brother got eaten). Together, they had too many bad points. I've been lucky with the calves I've got from her though. She's feeding her steered calf well and he's looking good. I'm looking forward to a heifer calf from her one day.
Ooohh goody. We love critiquing animals. I wouldn't worry though, they taste good, no matter what they look like on the outside.
Nice heifers! I'm not so keen on that bull though - there's something not so good about his shoulder and neck angles, although it's hard to base a sensible judgement on only one photo and it could be a function of his age. Did you take and more photos of him and any of the other two bulls?
Good photos! Yes, I would agree with Isla, the heifers are a nice bunch, the bull looks a bit heavy in the shoulder and light in the rear, as compared to the girls.
Are you sure they are not already pregnant as the boys will have been fertile for a few months as this one looks quite mature for his age?
A comparison of all 3 bulls would be good, and we'll have a go at picking which one you should keep-if its not too late already!
If you want help choosing between the bulls, here is a good place to show pictures. The bull you've shown us is probably at that gangerly stage they can go through at that age. But show us the rest of them. You may have a better example in the paddock than you have shown us.
I like heifer number 1, but all three are in good condition.
As a matter of interest, are they related through their sire or their dams?
If you're able to get more pictures, it would be helpful to have some from the rear of the bulls, when they're standing still with their back feet as square as possible. Musculature and leg structure are worth looking at from that angle, as well as testicular size and form.