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Feed for weaning and growing calves?

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Little Joe

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This will be the first year to hold and feed out home raised calves, always bought 700-800lb steers to finish in past. What would be the best to feed the calves as they're being weaned and growing before I transition them to a finishing ration? My local feed store has a 12% stocker feed that is 12% protein, 2% fat, 28% fiber. That seems high on fiber to me, is that enough protein for a growing calf, should I add some soybean mill to increase protein, if so how much? Needing some expert opinions on the matter, as I said I know how to feed a good finish ration but not a good starter. They will be finished on wheat, grasses and 1-2% bw grain to be killed end of May. Calves are 8-9 months old now.
 

shaz

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That stocker feed seems like that All Stock stuff TSC used to sell....is it?
 
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Little Joe

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It's not a TSC feed, it's mixed by Farmer's association. But yes that's what I thought too, sounds like basic livestock pellets.
 
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KAstocker

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You want to start with higher fiber content to get them used to grain. I believe protein content should be able to decrease the bigger they get. I couldn't speak specifics though
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Calves in the 400-700# range should get 14-15% protein.
Against what a lot of people do - I feed whole shell corn, with a protein pellet added to get the protein level needed.
Yes, their manure will have WSC in it. But, WSC is only about 8% lower efficiency than cracked corn. If you can buy WSC for less than 8% difference, you are wasting your money paying for processing and it is healthier. They do NOT need anything with molasses. The only reason you would need molasses is to stick all that powder crap left over when they crack the corn. If you took the manure from an animal eating cracked corn and you had the equipment to separate the corn out - you would find just as much corn in the manure.
Thought I better get some info to back this statement up:
Here's a comment from an article:
"
Runs right through ’em. From Argentina to Alberta, Canada, cattlemen also fear feeding whole corn to their herds, Loerch says. That’s because they can see the corn in manure and fear their cattle aren’t getting anything from it.
But the losses aren’t so bad, Loerch says, noting dry or high-moisture corn has roughly 93 percent digestibility, while hay weighs in at around 60-70 percent digestibility.
“With hay, about one-third goes out the back end and we don’t think a thing of it because it’s not yellow,” Loerch said.
When deciding whether to feed shelled corn or cracked, Loerch recommends shelled, whole-kernel corn.
Cracked corn typically costs more because of extra processing, and bigger kernels are easier for cattle to pick up with their tongue, he says.
In addition, shelled corn has a longer starch release time, and will help cut back on problems with acidosis in the herd, Loerch said."
You can research it - there have been lots of research on the subject. I have been feeding steers to finish and showing PB cattle for many years. My show string also gets WSC with pellets added. I do all right in the show circle.
 

Bcompton53

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Calves in the 400-700# range should get 14-15% protein.
Against what a lot of people do - I feed whole shell corn, with a protein pellet added to get the protein level needed.
Yes, their manure will have WSC in it. But, WSC is only about 8% lower efficiency than cracked corn. If you can buy WSC for less than 8% difference, you are wasting your money paying for processing and it is healthier. They do NOT need anything with molasses. The only reason you would need molasses is to stick all that powder crap left over when they crack the corn. If you took the manure from an animal eating cracked corn and you had the equipment to separate the corn out - you would find just as much corn in the manure.
Thought I better get some info to back this statement up:
Here's a comment from an article:
"
Runs right through ’em. From Argentina to Alberta, Canada, cattlemen also fear feeding whole corn to their herds, Loerch says. That’s because they can see the corn in manure and fear their cattle aren’t getting anything from it.
But the losses aren’t so bad, Loerch says, noting dry or high-moisture corn has roughly 93 percent digestibility, while hay weighs in at around 60-70 percent digestibility.
“With hay, about one-third goes out the back end and we don’t think a thing of it because it’s not yellow,” Loerch said.
When deciding whether to feed shelled corn or cracked, Loerch recommends shelled, whole-kernel corn.
Cracked corn typically costs more because of extra processing, and bigger kernels are easier for cattle to pick up with their tongue, he says.
In addition, shelled corn has a longer starch release time, and will help cut back on problems with acidosis in the herd, Loerch said."
You can research it - there have been lots of research on the subject. I have been feeding steers to finish and showing PB cattle for many years. My show string also gets WSC with pellets added. I do all right in the show circle.

This is what i've done in the past. higher protein after weaning, and even using this as a finishing ration, ending on straight WSC (free choice hay of course). Seems like it works pretty well. I have a yearling bulls I'm holding back to cover the herd this winter. I currently have then on about 1% grain, comprised of 1 pound of 45% SBM and the remainder is whole corn. Do you have any suggestions of how much grain I can go up to without being too much corn for a bull being kept for breeding? I'd like to keep them growing, but I don't need them to look like fat steers. They are also on mineral and free choice hay.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I would feed him 1-2% of his body weight. What does he weigh? If he is 1000#, 1% is 10#. So 9# corn & 1# 45%, should be about 12.5% which I would think is "just right" for protein. With good hay, that should be good to grow him out. 2% will help him grow out better - just watch for fat.
But, we all need "the eye of the master". You need to be able to look at your own cattle and be able to be critical and do a BCS.
Basically, the only thing that gets grain (corn) is my replacement heifers, show cattle and a few steers I feed out for freezer trade.
I am super cautious with my heifers. You never, ever, want ANY fat in their udder. Every cell in her udder that gets fat in it will NEVER produce milk. NEVER. So, you may have a heifer calve with a pretty decent size udder that is not producing much milk - fat cells.
 
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Little Joe

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I would feed him 1-2% of his body weight. What does he weigh? If he is 1000#, 1% is 10#. So 9# corn & 1# 45%, should be about 12.5% which I would think is "just right" for protein. With good hay, that should be good to grow him out. 2% will help him grow out better - just watch for fat.
But, we all need "the eye of the master". You need to be able to look at your own cattle and be able to be critical and do a BCS.
Basically, the only thing that gets grain (corn) is my replacement heifers, show cattle and a few steers I feed out for freezer trade.
I am super cautious with my heifers. You never, ever, want ANY fat in their udder. Every cell in her udder that gets fat in it will NEVER produce milk. NEVER. So, you may have a heifer calve with a pretty decent size udder that is not producing much milk - fat cells.

So in my case feeding weanlings that I plan to finish out later I could feed 1# SBM to 4# corn to achieve a high enough protein? I generally finish with a ration of 1/4 DDG 1/4 Corn Gluten Pellets and 1/2 corn at about 1-1.5% BW and rotationally grazing simultaneously but that feed has to be bought in bulk and while I'm weaning just a few calves I won't feed enough to be buying bulk feed until later on when they start eating alot more so I was hoping to buy feed in the 50# bag while weaning.
 
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Little Joe

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I generally don't feed straight corn to prevent acidosis since they are grazing and getting grain, was told the high levels of starch in straight corn while grazing was more likely to cause acidosis.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I generally don't feed straight corn to prevent acidosis since they are grazing and getting grain, was told the high levels of starch in straight corn while grazing was more likely to cause acidosis.
?? Here is a definition of acidosis: "Acidosis is a metabolic disease that occurs when rumen pH levels fall below normal. It usually occurs when cows are not properly transitioned onto high sugar/starch feeds (commonly brassicas or fodder beet) or when large quantities of high sugar/starch feeds are included in the diet."
"The primary cause of acidosis is feeding a high level of rapidly digestible carbohydrate, such as barley and other cereals. Acute acidosis, often resulting in death, is most commonly seen in 'barley beef' animals where cattle have obtained access to excess feed."

I have never had a problem with it. If you feed cracked corn, you will have grain "dust" which can clog up the papillae (little finger-like) and that stops the bacteria from processing the feed. You can get your cattle sick on pretty much anything if you rapidly change their diet.
I feed WSC to my finishing steers. They are fall calves weaned in May, on grass w/ corn, then hay w/ corn. I get them up to about 20# WSC with a little bit of protein pellets.
 

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