How much weight loss during the winter??

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Countrygal

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We have 13 Angus cows, 8 calves and 1 bull. We fed them two medium size round bales of hay daily along with grain twice a day. Right now they are getting a small amount of grass. They seem to eat it quicker then it can grow ! We are feeding them 1 bale of hay and have stopped the grain. However, we have placed feeder suppliment blocks out for them. The cattle have lost some weight and just don't look as fat and sassy as they did going into winter. How much weight do cattle loose during the winter months and is there anything we can do to help prevent this in the future ? When should we see them start putting their weight back on? Right now they don't seem to be putting on any weight.We are afraid that we will not have enough pasture for them this summer. Any suggestions on what we can do to better manage our cattle?
Still learning........

Thanks in advance !
 

IluvABbeef

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Normally if fed a good quality ration of hay and grain, they shouldn't loose weight. Sometimes, according to some winter practices of feeding straw, cows would loose about 50 to 100 lbs, but some folks don't like to see their cows lose weight period. Depends on the producer I guess. But I think they were losing weight because your hay was poorer quality than you anticipated; good thing they were grained otherwise they probably would've lost more weight than they have at this stage. What body condition where the animals in before they went into winter? What kind of hay do they have?

Now, as far as what you're feeding, I wouldn't stop feeding them grain if I where you. If they are on pasture already they're going to quite possibly destroy the pasture if you let them eat the grass at this stage. The grass at this stage really has no nutritional value to it, since it is mostly comprised of water and not much nutrient to it. So limit their access to the pasture if you can until the grass has grown to a good height (10") for them to start grazing on.

Keep up with the grain, and maybe add some alfalfa cubes as well. Before winter, have your hay checked for nutrient quality, and do grain them, but also you might want to consider alfalfa cubes as well. The mineral mix is good to have, even through the winter.
 

Cowdirt

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Countrygal":3ozc54s4 said:
We have 13 Angus cows, 8 calves and 1 bull. We fed them two medium size round bales of hay daily along with grain twice a day. Right now they are getting a small amount of grass. They seem to eat it quicker then it can grow ! We are feeding them 1 bale of hay and have stopped the grain. However, we have placed feeder suppliment blocks out for them. The cattle have lost some weight and just don't look as fat and sassy as they did going into winter. How much weight do cattle loose during the winter months and is there anything we can do to help prevent this in the future ? When should we see them start putting their weight back on? Right now they don't seem to be putting on any weight.We are afraid that we will not have enough pasture for them this summer. Any suggestions on what we can do to better manage our cattle?
Still learning........

Thanks in advance !

Countrygal, I have a small commercial operation. I expect my cattle to lose some condition, sometimes considerable if they are nursing a calf, toward late winter. I don't feed anything except grass, mixed grass hay and minerals, all freechoice. When the spring flush of pasture begins they quit the hay and gain quickly. If you want to maintain better condition all winter then you pay the price with supplemental feed. Your choice. However, sounds like you have reason to be concerned about your stocking rate for your pasture. I'd watch that closely and adjust my numbers if necessary.
 

jcarkie

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my cows tend to lose a little this time of year because they chase green grass. they won't eat hay and the grass doesn't have the strength to fatten them up. it runs right through them, green grass scours. plus my spring cows have calves pulling on them. i feed some grain this time of year to help them out they will come up for that then i can work them.
 

grannysoo

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Cowdirt":3932zjzi said:
If you want to maintain better condition all winter then you pay the price with supplemental feed.

That's right. You can keep then just as fat and pretty in the winter as much as your $$$ holds out.
 

SRBeef

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Grazing corn stalks in the fall or winter, or better yet some standing corn if carefully done, is a way to get a lot of cow days grazing in a smaller space.

I am certainly not a cattle expert, but in my limited experience It seems to me that the farther north you are, the more important it is to get some condition on your cattle BEFORE winter sets in. It is easier to maintain condition than to try to rebuild it, especially this time of year with grass not ready yet. As mentioned, trying to REBUILD condition this time of year with purchased inputs can be expensive.

Grazing harvested cornstalks in the fall before snow should leave enough grain and husks around to get them ready for winter. Add free choice decent quality (not necessarily approaching dairy but not jusdt weeds either) hay over the winter with mineral supplement and they should be able to maintain that condition going into spring calving.

Usually in the midwest you can find harvest stalks to graze. Biggest issue is often fences and water but those can usually be solved.

A reasonable stocking rate for your place and plan is the place to start however. jmho. Good luck.
 

mnmtranching

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Normally bred cows fed on all the good mixed hay they want will put on weight during the Winter up to calving. Or maintain their body condition while gaining the weight of the calf. After calving it's normal for the nursing cow to lose weight. Especially if the quality of the hay or pasture is low. Feeding some grain at this time will help. Few commercial cattle people feed grain because of the cost. With good grazing the cows should maintain and gain into Fall.
 

dun

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Post weaning and through calving (October thru April) our cows gain condition then lose it for a couple of months as they're feeding calves. They pretty well stabilize in june-july and carry that condition through to weaning.
I want the cows in a BCS of 6 when they calve and they'll drop to a 5 or less during those first couple of months post calving
 
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Countrygal

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I want to thank everyone for your help. :tiphat: I believe I am now on the right track and it always helps to have other's advice. Everyone on this forum is always so helpful and I love the "been there, did that" advice. :)
I am starting them back on grain with alfalfa cubes. Can anyone tell me how much cubes to give them? I am unable to find the alfalfa bales in my area. So the cubes will have to do for now. Also will the cubes hold up in rainy weather ?
We plan to separate some of the herd and place in two different lots and hope this will help for better management .

Long on patience, short on dollars and still learning...... :nod:
 

IluvABbeef

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Countrygal":15jh1bes said:
I want to thank everyone for your help. :tiphat: I believe I am now on the right track and it always helps to have other's advice. Everyone on this forum is always so helpful and I love the "been there, did that" advice. :) Glad we could help. :)
I am starting them back on grain with alfalfa cubes. Can anyone tell me how much cubes to give them? About 10 lbs per animal...probably a little more for the bull. I am unable to find the alfalfa bales in my area. So the cubes will have to do for now. Also will the cubes hold up in rainy weather ? Yep
We plan to separate some of the herd and place in two different lots and hope this will help for better management .

Long on patience, short on dollars and still learning...... :nod:
 

backhoeboogie

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Countrygal":1dpmzv77 said:
We have 13 Angus cows, 8 calves and 1 bull. We fed them two medium size round bales of hay daily along with grain twice a day. Right now they are getting a small amount of grass. They seem to eat it quicker then it can grow ! We are feeding them 1 bale of hay and have stopped the grain. However, we have placed feeder suppliment blocks out for them. The cattle have lost some weight and just don't look as fat and sassy as they did going into winter.

I still have a few angus and some angus crosses. I never buy them but take some in trade or accidentally get angus from heavy bred cows bought. They lose during the summer mostly in July and August. They heifers gain great during the winter. The cows calve in the fall by design and they maintain well all winter on hay and some winter grasses. No grain. I don't let an angus nurse a calf through the summer. The accidents go to the sale barn as pairs.
 

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