gestational nutrition

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Anonymous

We have just purchased 3 heifers and one 5-year old that will calve in about 2 months. Are there any special nutritional requirements for these next couple of months? We live in southeast Texas and they are on coastal hay and native grass pasture. Range cubes are given in small amounts to get them penned and they have free access to salt and minerals.

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Anonymous

> We have just purchased 3 heifers
> and one 5-year old that will calve
> in about 2 months. Are there any
> special nutritional requirements
> for these next couple of months?
> We live in southeast Texas and
> they are on coastal hay and native
> grass pasture. Range cubes are
> given in small amounts to get them
> penned and they have free access
> to salt and minerals.

I am in SE Texas also and what you are doing is about all I ever do for my cattle and they seem to do just fine. Our conditions are obviously a lot easier on cattle than say cattle on the high plains, northeast, midwest, etc. It's too late in the season to get any, but in years when whole cottonseed is relatively cheap I try to lay in a good supply and give my cows some in "winter" along with hay. It's a real good supplement for cattle this time of year --- but never feed it to bulls (particularly young developing bulls)due to possible sterility problems caused by the gossypol in cottonseed.

I assume your pasture now has a little clover, possibly some marginally growing bahia & bermuda and what is commonly referred to as Texas winter grass (volunteer rye or wild oats) and that you have the old traditional Coastal bermuda, or possibly Jiggs or Tifton 85 hay. That's about as good a feed mixture as you can get in these parts (other than paying crazy prices for alfalfa purchase & hauling). But if you haven't had the hay tested for protein content it might be a good idea to do so. A lot of bermuda hay gets cut LONG past the optimum 28 day growth period and the longer is goes without being cut generally the lower the protein gets.

If and when we ever get any cold weather again in SE Texas, or in cool/rainy/windy situations I always try to give my cattle all the hay they want --- the best thing for them in nasty weather is a full belly.

You will read a lot of material addressing the different nutritional needs of older/young, dry/lactating, etc. but sometimes it's impractical to fine tune feeding to the optimum. IMHO your current program will probably serve you just fine.
 
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Anonymous

Interesting comment about the possible toxic response in cottonseed given to young developing bulls. NOW...a question: Are you referring to freshly ginned cottonseed with a lot of lint in it; or, the type of cottonseed found in "beef rations" which has corn, grain, molasses, and other things in it. What comes to mind is the HiPro Beef Show Ration #287 and the Purina Beef Pro (don't think the latter one has any cottonseed parts in it). Will appreciate anyone's comments on this! Thanks!

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OP
A

Anonymous

> Interesting comment about the
> possible toxic response in
> cottonseed given to young
> developing bulls. NOW...a
> question: Are you referring to
> freshly ginned cottonseed with a
> lot of lint in it; or, the type of
> cottonseed found in "beef
> rations" which has corn,
> grain, molasses, and other things
> in it. What comes to mind is the
> HiPro Beef Show Ration #287 and
> the Purina Beef Pro (don't think
> the latter one has any cottonseed
> parts in it). Will appreciate
> anyone's comments on this! Thanks!

I was referring to the whole cottonseed that comes straight from the gin. Sorry, but I have no experience with the show rations to which you referred, but I suspect that the amount of cottonseed related gossypol in those rations would be rather small. And in most cases I imagine that show rations would be fed to heifers & steers so as to the male animals the fertility issue becomes moot. When I do feed the seed, I try to give my cows no more than 4 or 5 pounds per day, but there are always "boss" cows that get more than their fair share and, conversely, timid cows that get much less. I think a lot of dairies bump up the daily ration a little. My bulls are trained to walk into a separate pen area the minute they see me with a bucket of their goodies (range cubes) and then after closing the gate on the bulls I dispense the cottonseed to the cows. Young calves generally don't know what the fuss is all about and stay away from the cows when the seed is being fed. A somewhat informative older article on the subject can be found at: <A HREF="http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/an_sci/extension/animal/news/junjul95/jj955art.html" TARGET="_blank">www.cals.ncsu.edu/an_sci/extension/animal/news/junjul95/jj955art.html</A>
 

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