Feeding weaned steers and heifers

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sstterry
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Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by sstterry » Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:07 pm

Last year when I took a load to market I had one heifer that got discounted as being fleshy. I don't think she was overfed grain, just lots of grass. My question is, how much grain per head per day should I be feeding to 600lb steers and heifers? They have all been implanted and are currently getting a 14% protein grain mix with hay and no grass to speak of. I started them at about 2lb per day and they are now up to 5lb per day. Is that too much?

I looked at last weeks sale report at our local barn and they knocked a fleshy heifer down to $1 lb.



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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by Lucky » Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:09 pm

I feed 6#’s a day to weaned calves weighing 550-700. This grows their frame out nicely without getting them too fat. Sometimes a few heifers will get pretty big but I’ve never been docked for them being fleshy.

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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by sstterry » Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:09 am

Lucky wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:09 pm
I feed 6#’s a day to weaned calves weighing 550-700. This grows their frame out nicely without getting them too fat. Sometimes a few heifers will get pretty big but I’ve never been docked for them being fleshy.
So, a good rule of thumb would be about 1% of body weight, give or take?

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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by Brute 23 » Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:48 am

That's a good reminder to set minimums.
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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by shaz » Fri Sep 06, 2019 11:01 am

sstterry wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 6:07 pm
Last year when I took a load to market I had one heifer that got discounted as being fleshy. I don't think she was overfed grain, just lots of grass. My question is, how much grain per head per day should I be feeding to 600lb steers and heifers? They have all been implanted and are currently getting a 14% protein grain mix with hay and no grass to speak of. I started them at about 2lb per day and they are now up to 5lb per day. Is that too much?

I looked at last weeks sale report at our local barn and they knocked a fleshy heifer down to $1 lb.
I've really struggled with that dry lot routine you're doing when using 14% feed and hay. The solution has been to use a 17% protein 5% fat at 1% body weight with hay. Since I've made that switch I'm not seeing calves develop a belly. Obviously, the hay is a problem.

FYI: This is just something I have observed over a couple of years, not scientific fact. I'm still tweaking things.
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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:09 pm

I'm not a nutritionist, but the higher protein will grow more frame rather than put on fat.
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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by Lucky » Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:16 pm

sstterry wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 4:09 am
Lucky wrote:
Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:09 pm
I feed 6#’s a day to weaned calves weighing 550-700. This grows their frame out nicely without getting them too fat. Sometimes a few heifers will get pretty big but I’ve never been docked for them being fleshy.
So, a good rule of thumb would be about 1% of body weight, give or take?
I would say 1% of body weight is good for calves on a 14% feed. I don’t feed calves hay unless it’s really cold an nasty for a few days. I keep them on a pasture that has a little picken but not much. The thing I try to keep in mind is that they are cows, they always act hungry and if it’s out there they’ll eat it wether they need it or not.

I typically wean in November and sell in July so this works for me. If I was going to keep them for 60-90 days I’d push them harder. This year I was watching the market and set up to ship in late January and the again in mid March. Both times I upped the feed a few pounds a head for 2 weeks prior and noticed a difference. I backed out at the last minute both times because the market dropped. Buyers can’t make money on fleshy calves. I’m no expert and learn a little each year. Most years I learn what not to do. :cry:

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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by Dave » Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:34 pm

The amount of grain fed and its protein level would depend on the quality of your hay. I never fed more than 5 pounds a day. I am going to be feeding some light calves this fall/winter. They will be eating average alfalfa so the amount of grain and its protein will be down some.

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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by bird dog » Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:03 pm

Is your main objective to add weight as quickly as possible over a period of time or is it just pre-condtioning them to get ready to sell in the next few weeks as long weaned calves?

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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by ClinchValley86 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:10 pm

Lol, Greeneville docked me last weekend for one being over conditioned. Was a 5 or 6 weight. Had been on grass and hay w about 1 percent body weight of 12% grain mix. Cannot recall heifer or steer.

I have been wondering all week now, should I take the grain mix down to half a percent? They did not look fleshy to me. Just had a good, full gut.

I like a good gut on mine.

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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by sstterry » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:38 pm

ClinchValley86 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 12:10 pm
I like a good gut on mine.
That is what my wife tells me all the time :tiphat:
bird dog wrote:
Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:03 pm
Is your main objective to add weight as quickly as possible over a period of time or is it just pre-condtioning them to get ready to sell in the next few weeks as long weaned calves?
I think for now it is to put weight on them, but if prices stay this way, they may end up being "long weaned".

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Re: Feeding weaned steers and heifers

Post by Lucky » Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:45 pm

Around here buyers look at the calves tails more so than the belly. Do a google search on “grading feeder Cattle” and look at images. Do a little digging, it’s like some of this stuff is top secret and buyers are tight lipped.

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