Hinds: weigh up the benefits

Hitting weight targets early on will make all the difference at scanning time.

The first two years of a young hind’s life directly correlate to her lifetime potential and productivity, especially when it comes to her first pregnancy. Hitting weight targets early on will make all the difference at scanning time. 

Ideally R2 hind mobs should be achieving at least a 90% in-calf rate at scanning. There are a variety of different reasons as to why you may have a higher dry rate, however hinds not reaching their target body weight by mating appears to be one of the most common.

Body weight and conception rate go hand-in-hand with hinds, meaning those scales (and good feed) should be used frequently through the spring and summer seasons to ensure pregnancy rates are as high as possible.

Most hinds will only start cycling once they have reached 70% of mature weight. This weight does not, however, guarantee that all hinds will conceive once the stag goes out. In fact, research shows that you’ll be on target for less than 75% pregnant at this weight.

In order to get up around 95% conception rate, the R2 hinds will need to be 88-92% of mature body weight at mating, depending on breed.

Get the scales out!

Firstly, you will need to know how heavy your mature hinds are. Get those scales out! Weigh as many as you can, then calculate an average. 

You can then start working backwards with your yearling/R2 hinds. Create weight targets for the spring and summer months and then weigh your animals! If you predict the summer will go dry, get more weight on them in spring.

If the R2 hinds have reached your target at mating, well done, BUT…they also need to continue to grow and add more condition throughout mating to ensure they continue to cycle.

The Deer hub has some great resources to help with this planning, including a Growth Curve for Replacement Hinds Graph and Calculator.

There is recent research that indicates poor growth of hind fawns in their first 3-4 months of life can actually increase this puberty weight threshold, making it even harder to achieve high pregnancy rates in this group. Ensure both hinds and fawns are well cared for over those summer months.

A reminder that VetSouth vets can scan your hinds, if required, and can tell you more information about any dry hinds, such as what size their uterus is and if there is evidence of slipping.

As always, get in touch with us at VetSouth if you have any questions about your deer.


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