Daryl Meyer, a veterinarian from Fremont, Neb., says that heifer spaying is a management tool with several advantages that outweigh the few disadvantages.

Advantages

  • Maintaining stocker and feeder heifers in an “open” or neutered status.
  • Early detection of pregnant stocker heifers accidentally bred at a young age.
  • Prevention of pregnant heifers in a feedlot situation with all the associated complications such as cesarean surgeries, vaginal/uterine prolapses, down and dying heifers and frustrated feedlot personnel.
  • Elimination of feeding estrous suppression feed additives, saving $2–$4/head during the feedlot phase of production.
  • Elimination of the need to pregnancy check (palpate) heifers upon arrival at feedlots, saving $1.50–$2/head plus labor costs.
  • Elimination of need to test stocker heifers for brucellosis and/or tuberculosis when marketed to out-of-state feedlots, saving $1.50–$3/head plus labor costs.
  • Improved average daily gain and feed conversion when spayed heifers are implanted versus intact implanted heifers.
  • Ability to graze/feed heifers and steers together.
  • Ability to graze spayed heifers near cow/calf herds with bulls present.

Disadvantages

  • Surgery is irreversible, therefore spayed heifers are no longer candidates for being breeding replacement heifers.
  • Typical cost is $5–$6/head depending on the number being spayed at a particular location.
  • Minimal risk of death loss related to the surgery, depending on expertise of surgeon.