Selection of replacement hinds

Selection of replacement hinds

Remember that hinds have breeding values too!  Unlike a commercial herd, where the majority of their genetic gain is from the selection of sire stags, half of the genetic gain of stud breeders comes from the hinds.  From an industry wide perspective the core purpose of the stud herds is to provide improved genetic material to the commercial producer herds.  So ideally maximizing the genetic improvement of stud hind herds should be a major focus of stud breeders.  

How many replacement hinds?
Replacement rate for a stud breeder is determined by how much selection pressure they consider desirable, that is how quickly to turn over the hind herd and introduce new better genetic stock.  Using the formula applied for calculating hind replacement rates for commercial breeding hind herds: 2.5 hinds are required for every replacement female.  So this means the maximum possible replacement rate is 40% (100 / 2.5 = 40), however around 20-30% is usual.  

Criteria for selection
The first cut of young hinds should initially be based on basic stockmanship considerations that is are they fit, healthy, without any obvious faults or defects (e.g. undershot jaws, poor hooves) and temperamentally suited to your breeding herd.  

The next consideration should be are they well grown (i.e. will they achieve live-weights at 15 months to allow them to attain puberty and become pregnant). 

Following that initial level of culling, for recorded herds the main selection criteria for hinds should be based on their economic indexes or BV's.  The  indexes and breeding values are directly comparable so, older hinds with low values should be replaced with young hinds with higher values. 

This replacement should be ruthless – replace as many of the older hinds as possible with younger hinds with superior values.  When older hinds with poorer index and breeding values are retained in the stud breeding herd the opportunity (or potential) for the whole industry is diminished.  

In DEERSelect the 'replacement' index has been specifically designed for selection of replacement hinds, so can be used as the only selection requirement when breeding replacement hinds for venison production systems.