How much should I feed our cow?

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Jan 25, 2009
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Fremont, Ohio
We feed hay that is about 50% alfalfa and the rest a grass mix. She is pregnant and due in march. Should I feed her more since she is going to have a baby? We feed her about half a bale morning and night and a few flakes throught the day.
Can you reduce the alfalfa percent and feed her free choice. I don't think they will get too fat on grass hay. The cow grazing on rangeland eats what she needs then stops. Feed hay from a feeder so it doesn't get trampled and to minimize waste and provide plenty of water also mineral and salt and she should take care of her own feed needs.

Or as some do just put out enough so she cleans it up completely before it turns into a lounging area. jmho.
how much hay to feed depends on several things
1. what is the protien of the hay
2. TDN and other hay values
3. The temperature or weather in which you live in

Something i have just hammered (nagged) into the hubby's head is looks are sometimes deceiving when it comes to quality. Might look fine, smell fine, but lack all the necessary stuff to support a cow. Once you have a feed test, you can then design a ration which will give your cow the needs to do what you want her to do.
Well, it is hard to say if you should feed her more or not. Alfalfa hay is just fine for a cow at this stage of pregnancy. That is what ours are usually fed for the entire winter and they are fine with it.

Having said that, I don't know what quality your hay is, how much your cow weighs, or how much a bale of hay weighs either.

A general rule of thumb is to feed 2%-3% of the animals body weight in feed. You can feed on the lower end if it is really good quality and on the higher end if it is poorer quality, to a degree. It depends on how good, or poor quality your feed is, how cold your temperatures are, the colder it is the more they need to eat to keep them going, and if your feed is top quality you can fill with poorer quality feed. As RR said, a feed test would really help.

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