Feeding to poop stream

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angus9259

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I have some 7 month old bulls I'm "developing". They are on 3rd cut alfalfa and I was going to give them just a tick of grain - maybe 4-5 lbs per head per day. However their poop is quite loose just from the alfalfa so I'm holding off on the grain for now. Does it make sense to feed to a stool consistency rather than a formula? Downside of alfalfa bales is that one bale lasts them 10 days and the stool is really runny on day 1 as they jackhammer the leaves, but dries up some by day 8 as they get to more stems.
 

Dsth

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have you had your hay tested? If you have a good quality 3rd cutting of alfalfa, it should meet or surpass their nutritional requirements. since they are quite loose, I would try switching to a grass/alfalfa mix if available and then start adding corn to their diet. Loose poop is a good indication that they are not absorbing all the nutrients from the hay because it passes through to fast. sounds like they need more fiber in their diet. I personally like feeding 2-3 lbs of grain per head for my replacement heifers (I do not raise bulls) simply to add frame size and energy during colder weather.
 
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angus9259

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Yeah, sadly I have what I have and need to use what I have. I buy all my hay and this is what was available. Terrible year for first cut and "grass" but people were swamped with second cut and the horse people gobbled up the second cut grass. So my cows are getting what grass i have so they don't get fat and I have to ration this alfalfa to something else so I don't run out of hay. So I have 3rd cut alfalfa in round bales and no ability to mix it with anything. so even if I put some grass hay out for fiber I will end up with some on grass and some on alfalfa depending on which calf wants which and then they swing back and forth and get sick it seems it me when their diet swings from grass to alfalfa. It will start getting crazy cold and wet here so maybe that will "help"?
 
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angus9259

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Cold and wet will not change the protein level in the feed. As I said, WSC will lower their % protein.
I have some of that. I will try. Whenever I think "corn" I think "loose stool" but perhaps here the idea is counter intuitive due to the protein level of the hay. I was thinking cold and wet would increase their demand thus making the alfalfa more reasonable.
 
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angus9259

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I also have a wheat mid pellet that is 14% protein and 13% fiber that could do what you're suggesting as well. Again, my original concern was that this would add to the loose stools, but I get your point that these pellets and grains may actually improve it in this context.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Grain will not make loose stools unless you are over-feeding or protein is too high. In your case, you need something to lower the protein. I don't know what your protein of 3rd cutting is, but around here it would be like 23-26%. Only dairy farms feed 2nd & 3rd cutting alfalfa around here.
Be sure not to feed too much right away. 1% of their BW at first.
Your wheat mid pellet is 14% - corn is 9%
 

faster horses

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Loose stool on alfalfa hay is called acidosis. It shows an upset rumen. You would do well to mix it with something, even put out some old junk bales of some kind and let them have it free choice. Cattle have a dry matter requirement so they need fiber. Grass hay, straw, anything will work. Don't worry about them not eating much or eating too much. They will regulate themselves.
Good luck.
 
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angus9259

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Loose stool on alfalfa hay is called acidosis. It shows an upset rumen. You would do well to mix it with something, even put out some old junk bales of some kind and let them have it free choice. Cattle have a dry matter requirement so they need fiber. Grass hay, straw, anything will work. Don't worry about them not eating much or eating too much. They will regulate themselves.
Good luck.
Thanks. I always associated acidosis with starch (corn) not protein. Very interesting. Thanks.
 

faster horses

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Thanks. I always associated acidosis with starch (corn) not protein. Very interesting. Thanks.
You are right, I am wrong. Loose on 3rd cutting hay is not acidosis. I stand corrected.
They are loose from too rich of feed. It needs blended down, even with straw. Oats with husks won't be a good roughage source, partly because unless oats are processed somehow,
they won't get digested well. That's what my sources tell me.
 

wbvs58

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How often are you planning on feeding the grain? I have been developing young bulls after weaning going into winter, they are on low quality frosted stockpiled grass so lots of fibre and supplemented with a 16% grain custom mix usually at around 1-1.5% body wt/day. The only time I had trouble with loose mucousy stools was when I fed the grain just once a day. If I feed them twice a day no problems, I have read about the pH fluctuations with just once a day feeding and I believe it is real.

Ken
 
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angus9259

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How often are you planning on feeding the grain? I have been developing young bulls after weaning going into winter, they are on low quality frosted stockpiled grass so lots of fibre and supplemented with a 16% grain custom mix usually at around 1-1.5% body wt/day. The only time I had trouble with loose mucousy stools was when I fed the grain just once a day. If I feed them twice a day no problems, I have read about the pH fluctuations with just once a day feeding and I believe it is real.

Ken
When I feed grain I break it up so it's not once a day but the most I've ever given them is 2-3 lbs per head over two feedings. They are barely getting any "grain" right now at all.
 

TCRanch

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I have some of that. I will try. Whenever I think "corn" I think "loose stool" but perhaps here the idea is counter intuitive due to the protein level of the hay. I was thinking cold and wet would increase their demand thus making the alfalfa more reasonable.
I think chunks. Corn on the cob, anyone?;)
 

TCRanch

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I always keep out a bale of junk hay during the first, lush spring grass, and when (if) I turn the weaned calves out on the brome. When I put out bales of alfalfa, I also put out a couple of last year's brome. They know when they've had too much of a good thing and seek out the roughage.
 

GoWyo

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If you could even provide some free choice straw, corn stalks, millet hay, etc. it would help increase their dry matter intake up and you could limit feed the alfalfa to get the right consistency coming out the back end.
 
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angus9259

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Gonna have to go buy some straw or stalky grass so I can feed my good hay. Sounds about the way things work out for me :)
 
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angus9259

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So what's the worst case scenario here if I just keep feeding alfalfa? I'm wasting money out their poop chute? Or are they actually getting sick and somehow malnourished? Grass hay around here is more expensive than this alfalfa for round bales - just because the horse market is enough stronger than dairy.
 

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