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Bull or Heifer Calf?
how to influence calf gender the old way; passed down “grandfather homestead wisdom”

Miniature-Cattle.com » Links » Bull or Heifer? -- the Old Ways

By Tracy Rouse Howe, Mother Howe's Little Cows (@SheMooShines) Eatonia, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Many thanks to Tracy for this fascinating gem from the past.

Mother Howe's Little Cows -- Using Heat Cycles to Select Sex of CalfOur girls are grass fed, enjoy many, many acres of pastures, hills and creeks - living the life that a cow should. We raise calves from these cows as future household milkers or as “freezer camp” beef. The calves are left with their mothers, milk sharing with me, for a minimum of 4 months to allow for full rumen development. Our weaning goal is 6 months for steer calves, 7-8 months for bull calves and up to 10 months for heifer calves. I began using a Red Poll (the “original” dual purpose as they are referred to) bull on my mid sized Dexter crossed cows in 2016 and was pleasantly surprised by the birthweight, vigor and growth along with the docility of the calves. I will continue to breed them Red Poll; helping to increase the ever dwindling numbers of this Dual Purpose Heritage breed.

Sharing by request -

Using heat cycles to select sex.


This was something my grandfather learned and taught my father who in turn taught me. Gramps used only natural service while dad used both natural service and AI for breeding on specific heat cycles to either use a cow to build the herd or to put a paycheque in the bank in the fall. With a better than 85% success rate - which defies Biology and all we have learned about spermatazoa determining the sex. Anyone I have discussed this with agree with me that it must have something to do with Ph level; we all know that male sperm are far more sensitive to alkalinity vs acidity in their environment as well as their shorter than female sperm lifespan!

First step is heat detection after calving - knowing when she cycles and her cycle frequency.
Second step is understanding HOW to get her to have the sex of calf you REALLY want!

Here is the rule I was taught:
"Odd numbered heats change the sex and even numbered heats keeps it the same"

Example 1: Cow has a heifer calf (as in the case of my cow Kerry) and I want another heifer out of her. I know her first heat came 3 weeks after calving and because 1 is an odd number, this means that was a bull heat (odd numbers changes the sex). Her next heat should be due around the 24 of May and as the second is an even number, meaning heifer heat, I will breed her to my bull on this heat "to keep it the same" and have a heifer calf around March 2 of 2019. So to KEEP her having heifer calves, I would breed ONLY on heats #s 2, 4, 6 or 8.

Example 2: I decide Kerry needs to have a bull calf to fill our freezer. She delivered a heifer calf, cycled 3 weeks later (bull heat) but I did not breed her on the first heat - because February is TOO EARLY on the prairies for calves! The odd numbered heats change the sex, I would not breed on the second heat as it would produce a heifer, so IF her heats are coming at REGULAR 21 day intervals, I can expect her THIRD (odd number) heat to come on June 14 and because THIRD is odd and because I want to CHANGE the sex, I would breed her June 14, on the odd heat, for a bull calf.

This is something we have used in our family since 1932 (when my grandfather moved from England to begin farming in Canada) -- for 86 years now -- to selectively "manipulate" the cow families we choose to build from or "cash in on". I have no idea where the knowledge originated, I am only sharing what has been passed down in my family. Remember, for 86 years, my family has been using this method, with a better than 85% success rate in getting heifers when we want them or bull calves when we want them; which defies biology (and all we have learned about spermatazoa determining the sex). Anyone I have discussed this with agree with me that it must have something to do with pH level; we all know that male sperm are far more sensitive to alkalinity vs acidity in their environment as well as their shorter-than-female sperm lifespan!

"Odd numbered heats change the sex and even numbered heats keeps it the same" - and counting the heat cycles begins with the VERY FIRST heat post calving; no matter if your girl first cycles 10 days or 65 days after calving!

 


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ADDITIONAL SOURCES:
Thanks to Milkmaid Lorinda for sharing at North Woods Homestead, where she and hubby raise
small polled Highland-X beef cattle and FB heritage miniature Jerseys near Priest River, Idaho.