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Calves & alfalfa question

Nitrex

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I'm new to raising calves and had a few questions. My beef calves weigh about 300 lbs. They are eating well on a diet of good brome, alfalfa, and about 4lbs of Purina 14% stocker/grower per day fed in a split feeding. The have free choice mineral, salt, and fresh water

I hope to transition them to a local custom mill's 14% grain ration that will save me some money. I would like to push these calves to get them butchered in about 11-12 months if possible.

I have access to cheap 2nd cutting alfalfa that is good quality (not tested). Any recommendations as to where I should be on grain, hay, and alfalfa amounts? I could buy more brome, but with access to the alfalfa at the price, I'd like to feed almost all alfalfa and grain. Is that possible?

Nitrex
 

boondocks

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Just wanted to say Hi and :welcome:
I just raise calves on their mamas and don't feed anything other than hay but am sure some of our resident experts will stop by shortly!
 

greatgerts

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I would increase their grain to be closer to 3% of their body weight. That will go from the 4lbs a day to 9lbs a day at their current weight of 300lbs. You can still keep splitting the feeding.
What breed are the calves? How old are they? To finish in 11-12 months you'll need at least 2 1/2 lbs of gain a day out of them? This is doable. Keep track of how much they are eating to how much they are gaining to see if you need to adjust the amount you are feeding or if you need to adjust the ration any. Cheaper is not always better!!!!!
Have you implanted them? It wouldn't hurt to do it. Ralgro is about the most common implant out there.

Welcome to the Boards and best of luck! Maybe put a location on your profile so that others can help with suggestions based off of where you are. You may have options readily available where you are that I do not have in Missouri.
 

BC

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I agree with Greatgerts on the amount of feed, but encourage you to gradually increase the feed over a 2 to 3 week period to let the calves adjust. If you have access to a set of scales, spot weigh a calf or two about once a month in order to adjust the amount of feed and to measure average daily gain.

Watch the droppings. Manure piles should be like a big pie, if it stacks up you are under feeding and if it splatters you are overfeeding.
 

ChrisB

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I'm far from an expert but I like to keep calves grain at 1% of body weight until they hit 700 lbs and then increase the amount of grain. The alfalfa should have decent protein for growing frame, but might want to keep a bloat block out at first if given free choice alfalfa. Then maybe switch to a lower quality hay when pushing grain to them for finishing.
 
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