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Heifer eats cedar bark

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dcarp

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I have a 1st calf heifer - Brangus- due in mid April that is stripping the bark off all the fence posts.
She has free access to a mineral block, all the hay she can eat, fresh well water and is in a Klein grass hay field that has about 6" of standing dry grass left. She was getting about 5lbs of 20% range cubes 3 times a week, now is on Accuration at 30/70 ratio. She has been doing this for the last 2 months. Any ideas about what to do to stop this.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Obviously you haven't been on these boards very long. Mineral/salt blocks are a waste of your money & the cows time. They would need to stand there & lick 24/7 to get even a slight amount of what they need. Loose mineral is the only way they can get what they NEED. A cheap mineral feeder is a 50 gallon drum hung from a tree or pole. Search "Dun's mineral feeder" and you should get a pic & description.
Cut a hole in the side big enough for their heads, leaving at least 10" lip on bottom. Put a swival eye bolt on top - towards the back, so the hole is tipped down when bucket is hung. We usually put a piece of wood on the inside for the eye bolt so you don't tear out the top.
 
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dcarp

dcarp

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You are right about the newcomer to the board. Thanks for the info about the blocks and the feeder. I will make one and see if I can keep from having 100% bare posts.
Thanks!
 

Bez+

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Why worry about stopping her?

She likes it and it will likely not harm her.

We winter our cattle in the vicinity of a 15 - 20 acre red and white cedar bush - and we do not strip the cedar bark off our fence posts - the cows do it for us.

They eat the bark off live trees sometimes and they eat the greenery off the branches sometimes.

Try some loose mineral if you like. Might not stop her at all - and then again it might.

Like people, cows like variety as well.

Not a big deal from the sounds of it.

Regards

Bez+
 

Bez+

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dcarp":3a3pr0hd said:
You are right about the newcomer to the board. Thanks for the info about the blocks and the feeder. I will make one and see if I can keep from having 100% bare posts.
Thanks!

Trust me - your posts will last a lot longer with the bark gone - it will come off on its own within a couple years anyways.

Bez+
 
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dcarp

dcarp

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Thanks for the reply. I'm going to try the loose minerals. I know you are right about the bark eventually coming off but I still would like later rather than sooner. I think the real reason I got concerned was that she broke the float valve off the water trough in the process of stripping the post next to it. Of course she came and watched me replace the float with this "what me?" look on her face.
 

rockridgecattle

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not enough phosphorus phosphate....something to that effect
Need loose mineral. Not all minerals are the same, and it might take a while to find one that works.
you might have to add loose salt to the mineral to get them going or buy a bag of molassis and mix that in.
 
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dcarp

dcarp

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Thanks for the info. I don't think I will need to add much to the minerals to get her to eat. When I spread cubes or fill the feeder or drop a round bale she is the first one to notice and is the first to start eating. :pretty:
 

CattleHand

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We mix salt in with the mineral. I think the salt is suppose to limit them consuming too much and wasting it.
 

hayray

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I have a small group of dry cows that I moved to a brushy 10 acre piece and I am ration feeding them 2nd cut alfalfa hay by the square bale once a day and by the time I get there to feed they have been out for a while, but they seem to be doing a incredible amount of browsing. There is some Juniper bushes there and they are stripping them down. They have the barrel hung from a tree with Purina Wind and Rain in it and another barrel of the 90 ppm high selineum trace mineral salt. I have been experimenting feeding them high protein second cut hay and seeing how they are doing browsing the juniper and dogwood that is there. They were supposed to be grazing over there but there is so much snow now we lost that money saving idea a long while ago.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Hayray, you're right. Cattle actually get bored. So even if they are not actually HUNGRY, they will browse anything. Also, high protein feed (alfalfa) actually makes them HUNGRIER. So, limit feeding, will cause them to browse.
 

hayray

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":30xs3quf said:
Hayray, you're right. Cattle actually get bored. So even if they are not actually HUNGRY, they will browse anything. Also, high protein feed (alfalfa) actually makes them HUNGRIER. So, limit feeding, will cause them to browse.
I don't see any harm in them browsing a lot do you - right now each cow is getting approx. 25 lbs. of high protein hay and lately it has been so cold and I feel sorry for them so I have been dropping off a round bale of trefoil once a week and that last about 2 days ? Right now they seem to be selecting browse over Reeds Canarygrass straw.
 

cowman30

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hayray":1v9fbxoe said:
Jeanne - Simme Valley":1v9fbxoe said:
Hayray, you're right. Cattle actually get bored. So even if they are not actually HUNGRY, they will browse anything. Also, high protein feed (alfalfa) actually makes them HUNGRIER. So, limit feeding, will cause them to browse.
I don't see any harm in them browsing a lot do you - right now each cow is getting approx. 25 lbs. of high protein hay and lately it has been so cold and I feel sorry for them so I have been dropping off a round bale of trefoil once a week and that last about 2 days ? Right now they seem to be selecting browse over Reeds Canarygrass straw.


It depends on what they are browsing. If it was summer time and they were eating horse nettle, or pig weed I would definitely be concerned.
 

hayray

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browsing means they are eating woody vegetation, like the buds this time of year, as oppossed to grazing which usually refers to herbaceous vegetation.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Hayray - only YOU can tell if they are getting enough. You have to be able to determine their Body Condition Score thru the winter thick hair.
"The eye of the Master". That's pretty much how I feed EVERYTHING.
 
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dcarp

dcarp

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As a follow up to this post, I put out free choice minerals and she was the first one there. I moved her 2 days later and moved the mineral feeder with her. she stopped eating the bark. Two weeks later she gave birth to a bull calf.
Both are doing well. Thanks for the advice.
 

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