Animals that become part of our heifer development program are born in late spring and stay with their mothers on pasture and hay meadow until they are weaned the following February or March at around 10 months of age. This is to better allow the young cattle to fully develop into the prime grass-harvesting animal they were intended to be. Research has shown that keeping calves on their mothers until this age allows for a more complete development of the digestive system in the animal. Calves are weaned on to a hay ration allowing them to gain .5 lbs per head per day.
In May, now yearlings, the calves are moved to green pastures and graze high quality forage, taking full advantage of compensatory gain. In July they are exposed to low birth weight bulls for around 28 days in order to calve the following April.
Every heifer that is exposed for 28 days to a bull of course will not necessarily breed. Those animals are culled at preg-checking in the fall, while all pregnant females are kept. If a young animal can breed in our climate without significant supplementation, that is the type of animal we want in our herd!