Back on grass...

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Gale Seddon

Well-known member
Jan 1, 2004
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Mineral, VA
Two weeks ago, we got a 10-mo. old bull and a 3 yr. old cow (pregnant, due in December)....had to keep them in the barn for isolation, but led them around in the yard for an hour or so a day to graze a bit. Including transport to our place, it was about a 3-week period that they were off pasture.

We moved them yesterday to a pasture (thick orchard grass, white clover, some fescue), but I gave them hay before turning them out, and let them out for two hours, then brought them into an adjacent pen. The little bull had some bloat last night but seemed okay this morning. When I checked on him in the night, his neck was damp as if he'd been sweating. The cow had no problem, but she is much larger than he is. Both are getting some grain.

This morning, I fed them some grain (gave the little guy only about 1#), gave them hay which they ate, and turned them out for only two hours. (When I went up to bring them into the pen, both were lying down in the field comfortably instead of gorging on grass, but I brought them in anyway.) I plan to turn them out for another two hours later today, then bring them back into their pen with hay for the night.

My questions: Is this a good way to gradually re-introduce them to pasture? How long should I keep this up? What did the damp neck indicate (stress? pain?)? Would sure appreciate some guidance on how to get them back on pasture full-time without jeopardizing either one. Many thanks for some help!

I would just turn them out now and stop the grain. Bloat isn't a real problem if they can burp (eructation) to vent the gas being formed. The full look that you frequently see on cattle on pasture is just fill and not a problem. If they aren't in distress it's no big deal.

It sounds like you've been doing it gradually, which is good! I would think you could let them out permanently after letting them eat their fill of hay first.

I don't know enough about fescue pastures to make a recommendation, but dun knows.

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