|Don’t be afraid to ask a potential heifer grower to see his records on heifer performance.|
Before you send your heifers off for someone else to rear them, ask a few questions, says Don Gardner, veterinarian and professional heifer raiser. Gardner told attendees at the Western Veterinary Conference recently to always ask the following:
1. What experience do you have raising heifers? Can I see your records on calf performance?
2. If you are a former dairy producer, can I see the records from your heifer enterprise?
3. What type of identification system will you use? (Gardner recommends a minimum of two permanent ear tags.)
4. What is the average daily gain of the heifers you raise? (The goal should be 1.75 pounds per day.)
5. Do you have the ability to work and manage heifers in order to get them bred in a timely fashion? (Examine their breeding and feeding facilities.)
6. What are your established health protocols for calves — before they arrive at your place and after?
If the potential heifer grower can’t or won’t answer these basic questions, it might be best to look elsewhere.