Finishing-out calves

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Anonymous

I am finishing out a few (3) 500lb steer calves this year. I have them in a 80x80 pen and let them out for 8-10 hours on Sundays to clean it out. Between the 3 of them they get 26lbs of cracked corn twice a day and of course all they water they want. I have noticed that after grazing for 8-10 hours on Sunday they don't finish their Sunday evening feed ration until Monday evening. In fact, it takes them until Wednesday before they are finishing their twice a day ration again. My questions is:

Is this once a week grazing allowance causing them digistive trouble or is it really takeing that long for them to feel hungry again?
 

D.R. Cattle

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Probably just full. They naturally like grass and chewing their cud. I notice the same thing with my herd on pasture. I use a little feed from time to time just to bring a herd to the feeders and take a good look at them. Sometimes they just won't finish it and lay down and chew their cud for a while first. This may be way different than most folks, but I like to leave them on grass, and bring them to the pens for a ration once a day, rather than the opposite like yourself for finishing one out.
 

dun

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If they aren't getting hay or some form of roughage everyday, you're probably screwing up their rumen microbe balance by putting them out to grass. There are two types of microbe (actually there are probably a million) one digest starch/grain, one digests roughage/hay/straw, etc. basically low starch. It takes a while for the microbe population to swing back over from one type to the other.
To keep the digestive tract functioning they need some roughage for scratch affect.

dun

dcara":1uoxipr2 said:
I am finishing out a few (3) 500lb steer calves this year. I have them in a 80x80 pen and let them out for 8-10 hours on Sundays to clean it out. Between the 3 of them they get 26lbs of cracked corn twice a day and of course all they water they want. I have noticed that after grazing for 8-10 hours on Sunday they don't finish their Sunday evening feed ration until Monday evening. In fact, it takes them until Wednesday before they are finishing their twice a day ration again. My questions is:

Is this once a week grazing allowance causing them digistive trouble or is it really takeing that long for them to feel hungry again?
 
OP
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Anonymous

Thanks guys for your info.


Dun, I'm a little confused by your reply in that you mentioned I might be screwing up thier microbe balance by putting them out on grass after not having had any for the past 6 days. However, your last statement seemed to imply that I should be allowing them some roughage. Did you mean that I should give them a small amount of hay/roughage each day with their grain?

Thanks
Doug
 

la4angus

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If you are going to turn them on grass, you should do so every day. They should have about 5 to 10 lb of hay per everyday also along with their grain.
 

TXBobcat

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I am feeding a steer out similiar to how you are doing it. He gets approx 18 lbs day (9 in morning, 9 in evening) of a beef builder sweet feed mix and a flake of hay in morning and evening. Just enough hay to keep the rumen regular and not fill him up.
 

dun

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See TXBobcats reply. They require roughage to keep the rumen functioning, but astraight diet of grain can work if it has soyhulls, whole cottonseed, etc in it. But, they won't be able to utilize hay/pasture effectively. Microbes to digest are different and you're swinging the balance one way.

dun

dcara":3j9pakik said:
Thanks guys for your info.


Dun, I'm a little confused by your reply in that you mentioned I might be screwing up thier microbe balance by putting them out on grass after not having had any for the past 6 days. However, your last statement seemed to imply that I should be allowing them some roughage. Did you mean that I should give them a small amount of hay/roughage each day with their grain?

Thanks
Doug
 
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Anonymous

I had actually started splitting 2 flakes of hay between the 3 calves in the morning and the evening along with their corn ration and noticed that their grain/corn appetite improved. I have been watching their stools and appetite to try and determine the optimum mix of roughage and grain. The temeratures here in Texas have been warming recently which make the appitite metric more diffacult to judge since they usually eat less when its hot. However, their stools still seem a bit loose.

Last year I used a 50/50 mix of a beef builder and corn and adjusted the beef builder ration to keep the stools firmer. The calves were also on small pasture. The biggest problem then was getting them to finish the corn as the would pick out the feed pellets and leave to much corn. A neighbor said he had used corn only which is what I am trying this year with mixed success so far.

Does anyone know a better or other quick observation metric that would indicate the correct roughage/grain mix for a given calf?
 

Tman

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I call my herd into the pens once or twice a week and feed them some sweet feed, corn and cattle cubes. They range on 621 acres the rest of the time and their stool seems really soft to me as well but not quite scours. Any thoughts ???? I was thinking that the grass was just to green but it seems like it has gone on for a 3-4 months now.
 

Tman

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cherokeeruby":1yxk1ysh said:
Timan, are you a chemist?

My undergraduate studies were in Chemistry and Biology and I have always enjoyed the chemistry aspect of things. So where did you study chemistry ? :)
 

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