Well, the answer about calving ease is fairly straightforward. Either the calf is too big for the females pelvis or the pelvis is too small for the calf.
Selecting for larger pelvic area will increase pelvic area in future generations. But research has shown that if we increase the internal pelvic area, the cow will carry a bigger calf to fill it. Not a lot of gain here.
We can also select for smaller calves, but are we talking about birth weight or calf shape? Research tells us that birth weight is the single most important cause of calving problems.
Conventional wisdom about calving ease tells us to select for low birth weights, but birth weight and later growth are genetically correlated traits, when you select for low birth weight you are indirectly selecting for low growth rate.
To achieve calving ease at Fedal Simmental we prefer to AVOID high birth weights rather than to select for low birth weights.
It is reasonable to expect that a well grown heifer should be able to calve unassisted to a breed average birth-weight bull.
Fedal Simmental aims to make it easy for females to calve, and calves should be easily born and vital. This functional trait is our absolute top priority.
To avoid fertility and calving problems, our cows without calves are only fed total mixed ration.
Our pregnant females are given precisely what they need, and no more.
On average, a newborn calf at Fedal Simmental weighs between 35 and 45 kg.
We have very few calving problems, partly due to the way in which we feed our females.