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Feeding Cattle

A

Anonymous

Guest
This is my first winter with cattle and I would appreciate any advice on winter feeding. I have 29 cows, 4 heifers that are about 500-600Lbs, 9 nursing calves, and 1 bull. I am raising these cattle on 160 acres and in my opion my pasture is fair to average as far as pastures go(the grass is now dead, but there is still plenty of it). I set 4 round bales out at a time and I have been replacing them each time they are all gone(these last about 5 days). Is this too much or just enough? Will this keep them from grazing on their own and drive my overhead up unneccesarily?

I was also advised by the co-op to use the molasses tubs that are 30% protein in place of cubes and range meal. These came out to be a little cheaper and keeps one from having to feed every day. Are these as beneficial as cubes and rangmeal and how much suppliments do beef cattle actually require?

I would greatly appreciate any advice.



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A

Anonymous

Guest
The problem is that you really don't know what the nutritional level is of the pasture. The various tubs are real money makers for the supplier but pretty costly. What you are paying a premium for is the convenience. Our pastures are all dormant but there is still plenty of grass. Based on observations of the body condtion (the girls are getting fat) they don't need much supplement. But we feed a pound or two of grain to provide energy for the cold days/nights. We set out hay and they nibble at it but they really prefer grazing. The problem with not having the hay out is that they will eventually graze the grass too short and damage the growing points. When it's grazed to short you are stealing from next years grass production. The best method is to pay attention to the body condition, if they seem to be holding their own or gaining , they likely don't need much if any supplementation. f you decide to feed tubs, remember that they will eat the first couple of tubs like candy, then they'll settle down and use them at a normal rate. But if they run out for a coule of days, when you start putting the tubs out again you'll be back to the candy situation

dun

> This is my first winter with
> cattle and I would appreciate any
> advice on winter feeding. I have
> 29 cows, 4 heifers that are about
> 500-600Lbs, 9 nursing calves, and
> 1 bull. I am raising these cattle
> on 160 acres and in my opion my
> pasture is fair to average as far
> as pastures go(the grass is now
> dead, but there is still plenty of
> it). I set 4 round bales out at a
> time and I have been replacing
> them each time they are all
> gone(these last about 5 days). Is
> this too much or just enough? Will
> this keep them from grazing on
> their own and drive my overhead up
> unneccesarily?

> I was also advised by the co-op to
> use the molasses tubs that are 30%
> protein in place of cubes and
> range meal. These came out to be a
> little cheaper and keeps one from
> having to feed every day. Are
> these as beneficial as cubes and
> rangmeal and how much suppliments
> do beef cattle actually require?

> I would greatly appreciate any
> advice.



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A

Anonymous

Guest
Rod, Dun has some good information on his reply to you.

At Running Arrow Farm, we have about 22 acres for our Longhorn breeding stock and for breeding horses. In this we have about 10 sub-pasture areas and 6 loafing sheds (two more to be built). One 7 acre sub-pasture to be opened this month after new fencing completed. We're managing cattle and breeding intensively and do a lot of rotation depending on the status of one or more animals. Any cow within about 2 weeks of calving is put in her own private pen with loaf shed access. We also frequently track a lot of health data, including weights and horn growth. So much for our background. Now...

We have a "horse type" (knotched top without top circular bar) bale feeder for each main pasture group. Like everyone else in the southwest, we need RAIN and grass is a disaster in pastures.

For a sub-group of 3-5 cattle, we put out one 1,000 lb or so round bale of Bluestem about every week or 10 days depending on prorated # animal units in that pen. Also feed special BioRemedies molasses tub (recommended for longhorns) along with 20% Range Cubes to the stock. For last tri-mester and nursing cows, we add some MoorMan's cattle pelleted feed (about 1 coffee can size daily) and some Hi-Pro Beef Ration #287 to these cows and any calves we are enhancing (1 coffee can daily).

With this feeding program, cattle are maintain condition and gaining weight a little: Averaging about 1.5 to 2 lbs daily gain on growing animals. Our mature cows are weighing between about 950 and 1150 lbs. We also track birth, 205 and 365 day weights as well as several times a year follow-up.

Conclusion (finally)... Cattle PREFER the round bales over the zilch grass during winter...easier to get belly full...cattle are lazy...lol. Horses are fed horse quality Alfalfa and MoorMan's GroStrong Powerglo pellets.

Our Longhorns are averaging a Body Condition Score of around 5 to 6.



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A

Anonymous

Guest
I only have 2.5 acres of pasture with 3 bred cows and 1 bull in it. I have to supplement their food with round bales. They are starting to get to fat. The bull, he just eats now then again, he is OK. But the cows, all they do is eat, eat and eat. They are a body score at around 8, give or take. What can I do?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
That IS interesting! (Jokingly)...cows may have an "eating disorder".

Seriously, if the cows are pregnant, you DO NOT want a highly obese cow. Assuming the BCS are accurate, would think they need to drop down to a 6 or 7 level.

It's very hard to tell what's going on here. Are you sure they're not bloated? Are they a Large Breed that might create impression they are BCS 8 or 9? ... Just trying to rule out some variables here ...

If in fact they are clinically obese, then you might want to isolate them and reduce feed (portion out equivalent to 1/2 small square bale a day or so for 2 or more weeks to see what happens... You might be advised to have your VET check them over. Something else might be going on here.

In any event, a too fat cow or 1st calf heifer can have or develop problems calving, or cycling, etc.

Again, think it might be few dollars well spent to have your Vet come out and check them over.

Keep the board posted on what you find out!

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A

Anonymous

Guest
Yes they are big frame cows. Would say around 1200 pounds. I can see their back bone and their back hip bones OK. Is that any help?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Yes, that helps. My "guess" is that they are older cows that have had several calves. Bellies stretch and tend to hang some. If tailbones and/or backbones are showing (what about ribs?) and they are not Longhorns, then I would suspect they are hungry and need more food...I could be wrong.

On a sidebar, we have one Registered Texas Longhorn who is 11 years old. She weighs about 1100 lbs and has a HUGE belly (looks 9 months pregnant all the time) and her tailbone and backbone shows a little too much. She is a fantastic producer (calf every year) and produces $2,000 to $3,000 calves. She is very gentle, has 66" horns, and can have a HUGE udder (almost as big as a Holstein) when she is nursing. She eats what she wants and no more, but is always alert to a treat, cubes, or sweetfeed if they are within 100 feet of her! You can see her photo on our Longhorn website: her name is "Senator's Symbol."

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A

Anonymous

Guest
They are only like 5 years old I think, having their 3rd or 4th calf. I did forget to say that I give them about 2/3 of a 1 pound coffee can of beef finisher every night. 11% protein, 2% fat, 8% fiber and 10% acid detergent fiber with the other little %s. Guess I had better cut that back?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The attached site may be of help.

<A HREF="http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/ansci/beef/as1026w.htm" TARGET="_blank">http://www.ext.nodak.edu/extpubs/ansci/beef/as1026w.htm</A>

dun

> This is my first winter with
> cattle and I would appreciate any
> advice on winter feeding. I have
> 29 cows, 4 heifers that are about
> 500-600Lbs, 9 nursing calves, and
> 1 bull. I am raising these cattle
> on 160 acres and in my opion my
> pasture is fair to average as far
> as pastures go(the grass is now
> dead, but there is still plenty of
> it). I set 4 round bales out at a
> time and I have been replacing
> them each time they are all
> gone(these last about 5 days). Is
> this too much or just enough? Will
> this keep them from grazing on
> their own and drive my overhead up
> unneccesarily?

> I was also advised by the co-op to
> use the molasses tubs that are 30%
> protein in place of cubes and
> range meal. These came out to be a
> little cheaper and keeps one from
> having to feed every day. Are
> these as beneficial as cubes and
> rangmeal and how much suppliments
> do beef cattle actually require?

> I would greatly appreciate any
> advice.



[email protected]
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
If you can see their back bone, like a ridge along their back, they are not over-fat. I am assuming we are talking about beefers here and not dairy cattle.

I would not suggest cutting the feed back on them. A cow is not likely to become overweight from grass hay and that small amount of grain. If the cows are spending all their time at the hay bale, they are either seeking shelter (mine love to lay around the bale to get out of the wind, even though they have other places to go) or...they are hungry.

A cow can only digest so much poor quality hay....1.5-2% of body weight. If that amount of hay does not meet their nutritional needs, they will be hungry, even with a full belly. In fact, their bellies might look huge as they stuff themselves full of hay trying to satisfy their needs.

I think I remember that you had a problem last year with your calves dying. If I am wrong, I'm sorry, but if that was you, please remember what happened and don't do that one again!
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I found that lick tubs were way expensive. Compare prices by comparing the price per pound of protein, not the price per pound of feed.

If I need to supplement my cows, I use straight soybean meal, which is the cheapest thing for me.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
If you still have grass, cake or cubes every other day will make them go eat it. They love the chocolate but want some salad to go with it afterwards. No reason to feed hay if grass is still standing, just don’t let them graze it to the point of harm. Once they work it down you need to start putting hay out. Use their condition and the condition of you grass as a guide.

Round bales are easier to feed but harder to regulate. All those years before round bales our practice was to not feed more than they would eat at one time. If they didn’t clean it up they were getting too much. With round bales there is a little more waste but they should still get it eaten up pretty good before you put out more bales. Again, the cake will make them eat lots of things when they would otherwise turn their noses up.

We generally feed about 3# of cottonseed cake (it’s cheaper per pound of protein) per adult head every couple of days. We’ll give them a bigger ration or feed an extra day when bad weather is on the way. IMO the next best thing is syrup. It’s free choice and lasts longer so the hogs can’t wolf it all down. It’s still more expensive than cake but works nicely if you can’t check your cows every couple of days. Cake is still the cheapest (in this area) and best to keep them in the habit of coming up and “falling in for inspection.”

Craig-TX
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
How does the liquid work in sub-freezing temps? Or don't you get enough of the cold stuff to be able to tell?

dun

> If you still have grass, cake or
> cubes every other day will make
> them go eat it. They love the
> chocolate but want some salad to
> go with it afterwards. No reason
> to feed hay if grass is still
> standing, just don’t let them
> graze it to the point of harm.
> Once they work it down you need to
> start putting hay out. Use their
> condition and the condition of you
> grass as a guide.

> Round bales are easier to feed but
> harder to regulate. All those
> years before round bales our
> practice was to not feed more than
> they would eat at one time. If
> they didn’t clean it up they were
> getting too much. With round bales
> there is a little more waste but
> they should still get it eaten up
> pretty good before you put out
> more bales. Again, the cake will
> make them eat lots of things when
> they would otherwise turn their
> noses up.

> We generally feed about 3# of
> cottonseed cake (it’s cheaper per
> pound of protein) per adult head
> every couple of days. We’ll give
> them a bigger ration or feed an
> extra day when bad weather is on
> the way. IMO the next best thing
> is syrup. It’s free choice and
> lasts longer so the hogs can’t
> wolf it all down. It’s still more
> expensive than cake but works
> nicely if you can’t check your
> cows every couple of days. Cake is
> still the cheapest (in this area)
> and best to keep them in the habit
> of coming up and “falling in for
> inspection.”

> Craig-TX



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A

Anonymous

Guest
Good question and I don’t know. We’ll get below freezing on a lot of nights but it’s rare to go more than two or three days and never get above 32. I’ve noticed that it gets thicker in cold weather but I don’t know what the freezing point of the syrup is. The only problems I remember is when an ice storm would freeze the wheels, but that was due to ice on top of the feeder – not the actual syrup freezing.

Craig-TX
 

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