Recommendations from experienced breeders:
American Blue bulls for a cross breeding program: we do not recommend putting them on first calf heifers. If you are using them on mature animals you will not see any calving issues that you would not see in any other breed. We have many breeders crossing the blues on multiple other breeds with no calving issues other than the obvious ie: foot back, head turned back, backwards ect.
Raising Fullblood American Blue Cattle tends to take a little more time and care. Below is some of the things that have been successful for experienced breeders.
- Blues need to be on a continuous very good mineral program that is high in selenium and other minerals if your area has poor nutrients.
- Young females need good nutrition ( 14-16% protein) for the season until they are old enough to breed for their first calf to a low birth weight breed. Some breeders breed them their first 2 calves to a low birth weight breed.
- Breed heifers at approximately 20 - 24mths depending on their size.
- When heifers have bred, taper them off of feed on to grass, hay, and mineral watching body condition until they Calf.
- Good body condition is very important and if you need to feed mature animals make sure they are not feed past the 4th month of pregnancy. An occasional hand full just to keep them coming up maybe. If you have extremely high protein grass it may be necessary to dry lot them and feed hay and mineral the last 3 months, again watching their condition. (Don’t try and starve)
- When calves are born under stress you can give Multi Min 90 or just selenium, and banamine, and LA 200 or Nuflur as a precaution for under developed lungs. For buckling legs give added vitamin A & D.
- When calf is born, make sure the calf gets either Mothers milk or commercial colostrum with in the first couple of hours even if you have to give it in a bottle.
- Most breeders feel it is important to feed calves as they are growing to make them reach their full potential.
- Bulls usually are not mature enough to breed until they are approximately 24 months old. American Blue animals do not mature until they are 5 years of age.
- Knowing your genetics is extremely important in full bloods and high percentage animals. Some of the old genetics can produce large calves so one must be selective for low birth weight bulls in their breeding. There is always the possibility of a genetic mix up that could produce a larger calf.
- Household Sugar can be used to reduce swelling if a calf has a thick tongue.
- Get heifers or cows back on protein as soon as possible after calving to help with breed back time. Some also give cows a Multi Min 90 shot to help with vitamins and minerals.