New Cows With Shunned Calf

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Jan 24, 2016
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Hello all, could use some advice for a rookie...

-5 Acres currently fenced another 20+/- yet to be fenced/repaired
-Fescue, Smooth Brome, Orchard, White Clover, and Red Clover grasses Identified so far
-Northeast Missouri
-Complete Rookie

I recently purchased 3 beef cattle, 1 heifer (500 lb +/-) from one farmer and a steer (600 lb +/-) and a heifer Calf (250 lb +/-) from a different farmer. The calf was gifted to me and has one bad eye, the farmer simply didn't want to mess with it. I had intended to get 2 steers from the same farmer but that was not possible.

The heifer calf was at the end of bottle feeding and is eating a feed concentrate and beginning to try grass. The farmer gave me the rest of the milk replacer he had and recommended i finish the bag then concentrate feed.

Question 1) The larger two seem perfectly content to roam with each other and munch on grass...but they seem to shun the calf which never ventures 5 ft away from the gate where i offloaded them and endlessly paces back and forth. Is there a reason to be concerned or should i just wait and the calf will eventually figure things out and learn to be part of the "heard" if you can call it that. I've only had them about a day at this point.

Question 2) Both of the larger one were on some form of heavy corn diet, should i expect issues transitioning them to a mainly grass diet. I've read that transitioning them slowly is recommended. Any information/recommendations on this subject would be appreciated.

Question 3) I seem to be having difficulty finding a consistent recommendations or guidelines for feeding rates for the calf and could use some guidelines or rules of thumb.

Question 4) I intent to raise the cattle primarily on pasture for the summer/fall with small amounts of feed (10-15%) then switch to a heavy corn diet (70%+) with hay+pasture diet for finishing over the winter and following spring until butcher weight was been reached. I've read that corn diets should be less than 30% or more than 70% for digestive reasons. Looking for general input on this plan.

Thanks in advance for any replies...
1) That should work itself out.

2) It's always better to change diets gradually. You can probably go ahead and give them all the grass they'll eat, but I'd go slow on reducing the corn.
Rule of thumb for feeding grain is you can start them at 1% of their body weight/head/day, and increase by 1% every 7 days as long as they are completely cleaning up what you feed. And it is best to feed at least 2 X per day. I never increase that much. I would rather do it slower, being safe than sorry. Once you over-feed and they go OFF feed, you have to start all over at 1% or less.
And if it is an option, I would feed whole shell corn. Much safer, cheaper, and yes, you will see lots in their manure, but they have gotten the nutrients out of it. If you had the ability to sift thru the manure of an animal fed cracked corn, you will find just as much corn in it. You just can't see it.
I don't understand your statement about the corn 30% or more than 70%???
If you are feeding grain now, my recommendation is to avoid mixed ration with molasses. If they get the sweet feed, it is difficult to wean them off it to a straight cheap grain diet (ie. WSC)
The 30% and 70% is a percentage of total feed. That information came from an artical i read. It stated that the cows digestive system should be tuned to digest primarily grass or grain but would not digest both efficiently at the same time. Hence the below 30% of the total diet or more than 70% than total diet.

As ive stated before...i'm new to this and would be happy to be corrected and pointed in the correct direction...

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