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Is this to much grain?

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Angus86

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I've got a group of 9 heifers i have sectioned off with some polywire due to construction on the property. I have been feeding hay but wanted to start grain since two of the smaller girls aren't growing fast and have hay bellies.

I gave them 50lbs of purina 14% and they ate it all but a handful. Today the bunk was empty so I dumped another 50lbs and they barely touched it. So basically they have free choice at this point.

Is this ok? I have not seen any bloat and they were eating hay even after leaving the grain. Thanks for any advice.
 

farmerjan

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I don't know how big they are, but "basically free choice grain" is an invitation to a problem. If nothing else, it will cause acidosis in their rumen and that can lead to future problems when their gut tract gets out of whack. Since they hadn't had any grain up to this point, I would start them on about 2 lbs per head, or less than half of what you are giving them, for a few days to a couple of weeks and just see how they are doing. You want them to "want" to come for their grain. It makes it alot easier to check them and if someone is lagging behind then you will notice it quicker. They won't necessarily bloat right away, and when they do it might be too late, so why even tempt fate. They are going to need to adjust to the grain, and the microbes in their gut need to "gear up" and the right ones need to be able to digest it.
 
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Angus86

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They are between 350-600lbs if I had to guess. The two smaller ones were weaned too early and I kept them on grass all summer and fall. I bought them as weaned calves and never fed them. The two smaller ones I would almost swear didn't grow.

I would hate to lose them to bloat so I'll back off for sure I was assuming they would eat the next bag the same as the first. I have been feeding hay in the morning all they can eat then grain in the evening so they at least have the roughage for the rumen.
 

dun

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Better that the hay be free choice and the grain split into 2 feedings a day Based on guesstimated total weight 50 lbs a day isn;t too much. But their guts do need time to adjust to it.
 

Son of Butch

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Angus86":1xcqqkhe said:
I've got a group of 9 heifers....two of the smaller girls aren't growing fast and have hay bellies.

I gave the group 50lbs of purina 14% and they ate it all but a handful.
Today the bunk was empty so I dumped another 50lbs and they barely touched it.
Well, they are telling you the first round of feeding didn't sit too well with them.
I'd cut the offering in 1/2 until they tell you they're ready for more by licking the bunk clean and begging for more.

p.s.
If needed I might pour them with generic ivomectin... cheap and not the best for worms, but it is lice season.
 

ClinchValley

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I have a group of 8 heifers, the lightest being around 600. Heaviest being about 900. Maybe 1000. I give them about 25 lbs a day of 14% and they have unlimited amount of hay. They clean up the grain in about 15-20 minutes at most, and are eager to get more the next morning. They have not gotten overly fat. Healthy looking yes.

I was told by an old timer that they only need be given what they clean up in 20-30 minutes. If its there longer than that amount of time it means i am feeding too much. It made sense to me. Therefore this is how i do it… Suggestions welcome.
 

dun

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Here is how I came to my suggestion. For growing heifers I would feed around 1 and a half percent of their weight. Guesstimating 400 lbs average weight times 9 comes to 3600 lbs. That comes to 54 lbs a day. I figured for a SWAG it should work
 

skyhightree1

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farmerjan

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I am not saying that the 1 1/2 % of body weight is too much in general; I was just concerned that you started them out with such a glut of grain when they hadn't had any. Acidosis is a big problem with dairy animals, and it can cause them to go off feed, and all kinds of foot problems and other stuff.

Dun is right, free choice hay and split the grain and they do need to clean it up in 15 to 20 min if it takes that. Our animals have hay, or pasture, free choice in front of them all the time. We feed very little grain except to the weaned calves, and they always have hay in front of them.

It sounds like the couple that were weaned too young and only had pasture all summer probably did very little growing. You may never see them really catch up if they got stunted. Do they get in to eat with the others or do they get pushed out? You may find they aren't getting as much as they should and the bigger ones are getting more than their fair share.

Like Son of Butch said also, they were telling you that that first huge grain feeding was not sitting well with them. Also, we have always found that if you limit feed hay for any reason, that you should feed grain an hour or two after they have eaten their hay and the stomach has started to work a bit. Just seems to not upset their gut as much. But that is not a problem if they have free choice hay.

What breed are they? Dairy influenced will need to be fed a little differently than beef ones. And see what Clinch is doing, tells you that he is feeding less than half of what you are, for bigger animals.
You might need to go to a higher protein and feed a little less so that they are getting more nutrients than quantity. I know there are differing opinions on tubs, but did you think about a tub to help supple the protein needs for them and then they will not be getting such a glut of it at a time since they are somewhat self limiting? We are using tubs at 2 pastures where we have heifers that do not get fed grain except a couple of times a week to check on them. The tubs help to "even out" their protein needs. The grain keeps them coming in when they see us, and we can check on them better, and makes it easier to catch them up when we need to.
 

farmerjan

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skyhightree1":2lssrqv6 said:
Sky, I would imagine that your calves have free choice hay or pasture too right? And that feed isn't as "enticing" as sweet feed would be to animals that have never had it before. Kinda like feeding silage in the bunk; but your animals probably had some introduction to it too? I know from reading here that you do a good job with raising stuff and from the pictures I have seen. Is that DDG?
 

skyhightree1

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farmerjan":2ms6mulq said:
Sky, I would imagine that your calves have free choice hay or pasture too right? And that feed isn't as "enticing" as sweet feed would be to animals that have never had it before. Kinda like feeding silage in the bunk; but your animals probably had some introduction to it too? I know from reading here that you do a good job with raising stuff and from the pictures I have seen. Is that DDG?


Yea I just posted the pic cause I thought about this thread but never would i give that much to any cattle that were not used to it . They get as much hay as they can stand and silage but that ran out last week so now its hay and brewers grain. They also get a fair amount of bread as well. Yea they have been eating brewers grain for a few years and have built up to eating it. There is many days I fill the feed bunks and or leave piles all around the pastures they eat some and walk over to hay. I also put baking soda in the troughs or waterers to help out as well. I am feeding around 5 tons of grain a week maybe more some weeks when colder along with hay. The greedy ones you can tell they get " MUDD BUTT " I use to feed DDG AND brewers grain but I get so much brewers grain I stopped. Thanks on the compliment as well.
 

TexasBred

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skyhightree1":z0ifkk5q said:
farmerjan":z0ifkk5q said:
Sky, I would imagine that your calves have free choice hay or pasture too right? And that feed isn't as "enticing" as sweet feed would be to animals that have never had it before. Kinda like feeding silage in the bunk; but your animals probably had some introduction to it too? I know from reading here that you do a good job with raising stuff and from the pictures I have seen. Is that DDG?


Yea I just posted the pic cause I thought about this thread but never would i give that much to any cattle that were not used to it . They get as much hay as they can stand and silage but that ran out last week so now its hay and brewers grain. They also get a fair amount of bread as well. Yea they have been eating brewers grain for a few years and have built up to eating it. There is many days I fill the feed bunks and or leave piles all around the pastures they eat some and walk over to hay. I also put baking soda in the troughs or waterers to help out as well. I am feeding around 5 tons of grain a week maybe more some weeks when colder along with hay. The greedy ones you can tell they get " MUDD BUTT " I use to feed DDG AND brewers grain but I get so much brewers grain I stopped. Thanks on the compliment as well.
Most of the starches in brewers grain is removed during the brewing process, leaving what is then actually considered "roughage" from a nutritional stand point. The "pigs" may eat too much and get a little extra dose of protein and juice giving them the "mudbutt" you described but it seldom causes any problems especially with the free choice hay you have available.
 

skyhightree1

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TexasBred":30dnfot5 said:
Most of the starches in brewers grain is removed during the brewing process, leaving what is then actually considered "roughage" from a nutritional stand point. The "pigs" may eat too much and get a little extra dose of protein and juice giving them the "mudbutt" you described but it seldom causes any problems especially with the free choice hay you have available.

I learned that from a nutritionist aka good friend ;-)
 
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Angus86

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The two little calves push their way in and eat with no issues. But still have that calve look to them I sure hope they do grow. If they are stunted can they still calve ok? Would you recommend holding them back off the pasture and feeding them more grain when I cut the rest loose on the grass? They are angus and brangus and are almost dry lotted now since they have eaten the grass down to almost nothing in the polywire area. I make sure they always have hay before the grain since I assume they are mostly full on forage and then they won't gorge so much on the grain. I do not use tubs but have put out cubes since the grass in Fl is quite mature and dry now. They are stuck where they are until my rye grass comes up better and the construction is done. Thanks everyone
 

farmerjan

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If they get right in there with everyone else then don't worry about any special feeding. They may very well get a growth spurt when they go out to grass, I wouldn't keep them off grass. I am thinking that they are just younger as well as smaller? I have a char/angus cow that was bred while still on her mother, calved at about 18-19 months I guess and will always be "stunted" . I held her back from rebreeding so that her 2nd calf was born 18 months after the first so she had a little extra growing time inbetween. Smoke will always be shorter, but she calves every 11-12 months right along with everyone else now, and her daughters are having calves now. Just use an easy calving bull on them for their first calf so that they have a better chance of an easy calving. Maybe, you will need to re-evaluate them when they get older. Sometimes you need to sell something that doesn't fit in with the group you have....I'd just cut back on the grain a bit and make sure they have hay 24/7. AND MINERAL...
 

cotton1

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Angus86- A couple of things came to mind. Guessing-Its not a terrible thing to guess weight of the heifers, but mostly Ive found people guess wrong. Don't believe me, get some cow poke friends together with the heifers and everybody guess their weights, then weigh them to see. I have done this. Some people can guess better than others, but verified scales don't lie.Key word:verified.

As mentioned earlier they need to adjust to the feed you chose.It may take them a little while to adjust to grain, as they were designed to consume and live off of forage. Knowing their weights, and using the 1-2% body weight rule will be a safe bet for you.You may have to start them out on 1/2% body weight and slowly move them up. I also have done this with both developing heifers, and bulls.

Types of feed-14% is general info. There are other things that can be additives to feed that can cause the heifers to eat less. I'm not saying you chose bad feed, just be aware of what does and doesn't work once you figure it out beyond the protein. High fat feed can work against you if the cattle are not acclimated to it or are not getting enough fiber in my experience. I liken it to eating a rich piece of cake or pie. Its real good to me and I like it a lot, but I can sure eat more quantity of vegetables or other foods than I can the rich desert. If I do eat a lot of the rich food, I feel bad and don't really want it much for a while. Kinda like when I eat a dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts, I'm good for a while after that. :D

Also don't discount the hay quality. If you have exceptional hay, you may already be meeting their intake requirements. I found this out with some Alfalfa hay I tried to feed my bulls last year. They loved the hay, but didn't want the grain. Their growth was not so much as when they had less Alfalfa and more feed. I eventually cut the bulls to 2lbs/hd per day of the Alfalfa, 1.75% body weight in feed, and free choice middling hay(bermuda).

Worms-some types of worms infect the stomach and can make their stomachs hurt and subsequently eat less. I found this out the hard way too. A good oral drench was recommended to me by my 40+year veteran Vet. I did as he suggested and my gain increased, as well as consumption.

Genetics-they play a part too. Some calf's have the genetic base bred into them to grow faster at different times in their lives. Unfortunately, the general idea producers are encouraged to have is "more is better". If you have that as an ideal goal you may not want to keep on spending money on feed for the ones that wont come around. Some folks find the smaller ones make the more compact cows when grown that will still work and eat less of your inputs doing it. That can result in more profit, for you. Finished cow size, weaning weight preference are all up to you if you select for what you want.

Dont get discouraged- You have already gotten some good advise on CT before my post. Lots of cow pokes have had a group of yearlings make them scratch their heads at some time or another if they will admit it.The more you put into them the more you will get out of them as far as effort and care, but be cautious of that frame of mind when spending money on inputs.

Good Luck!!

Cotton1
 

farmerjan

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Cotton!; Love the Krispy Kreme analogy. That was perfect....

Agree 100 % with all that was said. Worming while they are drylotted would be good, then they will be "cleaner" inside and will utilize the grass better. We try to worm any that look like they need it about 1-2 weeks before going out to grass so all the worms/egg capsules, etc, are left behind and will hopefully somewhat die out there, and not in the lush grass pastures.
 

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