Best nutrition for bred cows

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ksmit454

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I have some confirmed bred heifers/cows. They have a loose mineral and also blocks of salt with garlic to help with flies. Any particular nutrition these ladies should be getting? Some are first calf heifers. This is my first experience with first calf heifers too. But these heifers are in excellent condition. I waited until they were older to breed just because I didn’t want problems. They are 23 months old and come from a local registered angus ranch.
 

tex452

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I try to keep my bred heifers in good shape, but not over doing it with feed.
The worst problems I’ve ever had with heifers is putting them on wheat in the fall.
These were good sized heifers around 1,100 lbs, I had to pull half of them.
I was later told never put bred heifers on wheat. I learned the hard way, the calves were just too big.
These were F1 brangus bred to angus bulls.
 

simme

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Heifers need enough nutrition to reach a size so that they are big enough to breed and calve. They sure don't need to be starved, but don't need much if any feed as long as they have grass or reasonable quality hay. Grazing lush ryegrass free choice though the winter and calving in January/February/March will lead to some heavy birthweights and calving problems in these parts. As tex stated above with wheat grazing. Lush high energy winter grazing will put the pounds on the heifer and the calf. Excess fat in the heifer squeezes the internals. Excess mass in the calf gives the calf a bigger diameter that needs to be pushed through a smaller passageway. Don't get them fat, just good condition.

I calve in the fall. Cows are bred in January. Young calves get a little feed with the cows during breeding time. When replacements are weaned in May, they go on fescue pasture with no feed. They are probably around 1000 pounds when they are bred at 15 months and get a little feed at breeding time (for AI breeding). My heifers are developed on summer fescue.
 
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ksmit454

ksmit454

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Great, thank you all. They are currently just on pasture, whatever grows native to the area and I’m not even sure what that is. They are in great condition, large framed. I’ll get some pictures tonight. I will start feeding hay when the feed goes brown/there isn’t much left. Any specific loose minerals the bred cows should get?
 

Travlr

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Great, thank you all. They are currently just on pasture, whatever grows native to the area and I’m not even sure what that is. They are in great condition, large framed. I’ll get some pictures tonight. I will start feeding hay when the feed goes brown/there isn’t much left. Any specific loose minerals the bred cows should get?
In the spring I used a yellow mineral salt block, red the rest of the year. Nothing other than that.
 

BFE

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Not knowing your area a good ADE mineral would probably be sufficient. It’s hard to say though not knowing what your area is rich or deficient in.
 
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ksmit454

ksmit454

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Ask your vet if there are problems in your area with mineral deficiencies. Otherwise your cows are just a little on the fat side.
Fat can cause problems in birthing.
I just let them graze so I don’t know how to not make them fat lol. They are due to calve in the fall and feed is very limited in the fall so I’ll have to start feeding hay.
 

Travlr

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I just let them graze so I don’t know how to not make them fat lol. They are due to calve in the fall and feed is very limited in the fall so I’ll have to start feeding hay.
They are "in good flesh" as we once said. If they begin to get poochy around the tailhead they are definitely too fat. I'd rather have cows a hundred pounds underweight than a hundred pounds over. They look good.
 
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ksmit454

ksmit454

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They are "in good flesh" as we once said. If they begin to get poochy around the tailhead they are definitely too fat. I'd rather have cows a hundred pounds underweight than a hundred pounds over. They look good.
Yes absolutely! Just difficult when they graze all day but I think come fall they will be easier to keep under control weight wise. The grass is just starting to turn brown here.
 

greybeard

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They are "in good flesh" as we once said. If they begin to get poochy around the tailhead they are definitely too fat. I'd rather have cows a hundred pounds underweight than a hundred pounds over. They look good.
This!
Being over conditioned is not good for the soon-to-be momma heifer or for the calf growing inside her. I prefer them to be a little thinner in the last couple of months. I call 'em 'thrifty'. Easy doers.
Fat cows (especially heifers) don't:
1. Cycle as good as a 'thrifty' heifer.
2. Dilate as fully and quickly as a 'thrifty' heifer.
3. Push as strongly and easily as a 'thrifty' heifer.
4. Recover from birth as easily and as quickly as a 'thrifty' heifer.
5, Milk and mother as good as a 'thrifty' heifer.

If the heifer is fat, most of the time, the calf will be too.
A decade ago, I let my wife take over one of our beefmaster heifers after the heifer was bred and turned her into a pet of sorts. She was adamant that the heifer needed more than the rest and started feeding her every evening when she was about 4 months along. I tried to tell her, but she insisted on the feed supplement and was heartbroke when I pulled a 99lb dead calf and all the rest calved alone with 70-80 lb calves. I didn't say anything to wife then but a few weeks later we had a sit down talk about what went wrong.

Not much you can do to control weight gain if they are on grass but generally, she won't eat more than she needs, but if you decide to start supplementing her with feed, she'll still graze and you can get them too fat due to increased protein. Even when the grass turns brown, she will be fine most of the time--she'll just eat more of the lesser quality grass. Winter bred cattle and other bovines have made it thru pregnancy's rigors on just spring/summer grass for thousands of years without us interfering.
 

elkwc

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I feed a good loose mineral year round to all of our cattle. I usually feed its Ferm but any good mineral will work. The condition of your cattle looks about right to me. We keep our heifers in good shape and never pulled a calf this year. There are many factors that have an effect on BW. I have easy fleshing cows that many would say are too fat. They breed first cycle every year and wean a big calf. Everyone has had a different experience. I always remember what I was taught that you can’t starve a profit out of cattle long term. You will pay for it long term. Our cattle also get salt and have liquid feed or tubs available. They only eat what they need. I would provide a good loose mineral and keep doing what you are doing.
 

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