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How much food do my cows need for winter?

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AmeliaA

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I live in Michigan and winter is only a couple months away. My two cows will be 7 months and 5 months old. My neighbor farms all the fields around me and said I can take all the male rows of corn. I have no way of grinding up the corn stalks. How much will I need for winter? I also have 10 square bales of hay. Will I need to add anything to there diet for the winter months?
 

Rafter S

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I'm not familiar with conditions in Michigan, but 10 square bales won't last two calves more than a week or so.
 

BrangusUSA

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Don't forget the salt, minerals, corn or sweet feed, and LOTS more hay. Sorry, I can't give an estimate on how much because I don't use square bales.
 

kentuckyguy

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Last year I fed 3 Hereford heifers that weighed about 600lbs through our mild Ky winter.

They got 2 40-50lb square bales and small 1 gallon bucket of grain a day. They wasted a little hay but most of it was cleaned up.
 

Allenw

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3% of their body weight per day is the usual figure used that I'm familiar with.
 

Cucumber35

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Allenw":1zlzyol9 said:
3% of their body weight per day is the usual figure used that I'm familiar with.

That's what I use to figure up hay. 2.5% of body weight on a dry matter basis. I use 3% as a round number to account for moisture and waste. Depending on nutrient quality you may need to supplement for additional protein or energy.

10 bales won't go very far at all...
 
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AmeliaA

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I have a huge stack of male corn. Was thinking that would be there primary food and then hay and then the minerals. Its in the leanto about 8ft W, 12ft L, 6ft H all male stalks.
 

kentuckyguy

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Corn works great to supplement cattle but it's very important to give them forage in bulk for proper rumen function.
 
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AmeliaA

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I'm just trying to find the cheapest way to feed them in the winter but also keep them healthy. Right now I can get all the male corn I want for free. Hay in my area is 4-5 bucks a square bale.
Planned on buying minerals for winter to feed them and they have a salt lick.
 

callmefence

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When your saying the male corn stalks I assume you're talking about corn that has been detassled and your getting about the top third of the plant. No grain.
I would think it would work for dry matter. Figure the 3 percent. But will be empty of protein,fat, carbs. You will need a good ration of grain or cubes to supplement.
 
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AmeliaA

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Male rows are the full stalk that catches all the cross pollen. They have about two ears of corn on each stalk.
 

callmefence

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AmeliaA":3t8glx3s said:
Male rows are the full stalk that catches all the cross pollen. They have about two ears of corn on each stalk.

Gotcha. I think I'll keep my answer close to the same. I've fed baled corn stalks and it's pretty sorry feed, but it is a decent filler
Should be fine as a replacement for hay. But you ll need to supplement protein
 

ClinchValley

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AmeliaA":2bd87cfj said:
Male rows are the full stalk that catches all the cross pollen. They have about two ears of corn on each stalk.

I had never heard of male corn, or male rows of corn. Good one to know. Thanks.
 

Workinonit Farm

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I always figure between 25 to 30 lbs of hay per head per day (average) and with calves, which they are, I'd go ahead and add a few corn stalks with corn, each day. They will need a good mineral as well.
 

callmefence

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ClinchValley":18lgcich said:
AmeliaA":18lgcich said:
Male rows are the full stalk that catches all the cross pollen. They have about two ears of corn on each stalk.

I had never heard of male corn, or male rows of corn. Good one to know. Thanks.

I've heard the term but I thought it referred to the top or male portion of the plant. The ear and silk being the female part.
I'm not sure why they detassle. It's not done around here. But I've heard of it.
Interested to hear more
 

Son of Butch

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callmefence":1f2skxtp said:
I'm not sure why they detassle. It's not done around here. But I've heard of it. Interested to hear more.
Detassling is only done by farmers growing corn for seed corn production.
So her neighbor must be a contract grower for a seed corn company.
 

Son of Butch

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AmeliaA":8a37nbq2 said:
I live in Michigan and winter is only a couple months away. My two cows will be 7 months and 5 months old. My neighbor farms all the fields around me and said I can take all the male rows of corn. I have no way of grinding up the corn stalks. How much will I need for winter? I also have 10 square bales of hay. Will I need to add anything to there diet for the winter months?
To be clear you don't have any cows. You have 2 calves 210 and 150 days old, so maybe 500 and 350 lbs each?
They need a growing ration to meet their needs. Trying to winter them on cornstalks and hay will leave them pot bellied and stunted come spring.
 

farmerjan

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Son of Butch":39e5zp8h said:
AmeliaA":39e5zp8h said:
I live in Michigan and winter is only a couple months away. My two cows will be 7 months and 5 months old. My neighbor farms all the fields around me and said I can take all the male rows of corn. I have no way of grinding up the corn stalks. How much will I need for winter? I also have 10 square bales of hay. Will I need to add anything to there diet for the winter months?
To be clear you don't have any cows. You have 2 calves 210 and 150 days old, so maybe 500 and 350 lbs each?
They need a growing ration to meet their needs. Trying to winter them on cornstalks and hay will leave them pot bellied and stunted come spring.

SOB is right, these animals will be in the most needy time of growing in their life. They will need good protein and some more digestible forage than mainly corn stalks. The ears will provide some energy but the protein will be very low. AT THE VERY LEAST , you need to figure at least 2 lbs grain that is 16 % protein or more per animal per day. Then if you are looking at small square bales that are in the 50 lb range range, you will be feeding a minimum of 2 per day and probably more. Any chance of getting a few big round bales for them so that they have hay free choice? Usually is cheaper than feeding small sq bales and they will be able to eat to keep their rumen working good and their body heat up in the winter.

I don't remember reading what breed they are, but if they are holsteins they will need even more grain as holsteins will not grow well on a low grain diet in the cold weather especially. Any calf that is not given the needed protein to grow their bone and muscles will get pot gutted and will stunt their growth and they will never grow right after that.

Added to that is the needed mineral and salt that has been mentioned. Trying to raise them cheap is not a good way to go into the winter with young animals. Older more mature cattle can do well on lower protein and a roughage diet is definitely what they are designed to eat. but you have to meet basic needs and a young growing animal needs more concentrated feed to grow.
 
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AmeliaA

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Jersey steer is currently 4 months old. About 7 months when winter comes. Currently has 2 acres to himself. Feed him dried alfalfa and Timothy cubes at night. And give him a pound of calf starter.
Angus heifer is currently 2 months old. About 5 months when winter starts. Curently she has about a quarter of an acre backed up with the other pasture the jersey is in. She is bottle fed and in the starting processes of being weaned. Eats grass and starter calf grain.
I can get round bales but they would be sitting outside more than likely..is that okay?
I just figured I would take advantage of the free corn stalks I could get. I do appreciate all the help!
 

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