Putting weight back on thin cows

Help Support CattleToday:

Little Joe

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
1,259
Reaction score
2,270
Location
N Central Arkansas
I bought 2 cow/calf pairs last night at the sell, they're both a little thin, one thinner than the other but bought at a good price. Part of a heard dispersal that were mostly thin cows. I'm trying to get them back in condition fairly quick with hopes of breeding back for fall calves again. I'm keeping a round roll of decent hay with them and started feeding them 10 lbs of grain between them a day. Feed is same as I feed my feeders, 16% protein, 9% fat. I have access to out of date milk including chocolate milk, would it be of any advantage to mix some of the milk with the feed to get them to gain quick and cheaper? Feed is powdery so will soak up the milk easily. Any other suggestions to get them back in shape quickly? I wormed them as soon as I unloaded them.
 
I bought 2 cow/calf pairs last night at the sell, they're both a little thin, one thinner than the other but bought at a good price. Part of a heard dispersal that were mostly thin cows. I'm trying to get them back in condition fairly quick with hopes of breeding back for fall calves again. I'm keeping a round roll of decent hay with them and started feeding them 10 lbs of grain between them a day. Feed is same as I feed my feeders, 16% protein, 9% fat. I have access to out of date milk including chocolate milk, would it be of any advantage to mix some of the milk with the feed to get them to gain quick and cheaper? Feed is powdery so will soak up the milk easily. Any other suggestions to get them back in shape quickly? I wormed them as soon as I unloaded them.
How old are the calves?
 
Assuming the calves are fall born and small, I wouldn't wean them. The cow is the cheapest and best weight gain a calf has. Besides... the cow won't be earning her keep if she's not feeding a calf to weaning size.

Skinny cows will breed, and even better as long as they are gaining weight. I wouldn't worry about graining them myself as long as they have good forage of some kind.

How about some pics? That will give us some idea of what you think thin is.
 
Look to be 1-2 months old.
They should be able to gain with calves that little. What breed are they? How old are the cows? And did you worm them? I don't think the milk would hurt them if you wanted to do that. But, the feed you are giving them has plenty of protein and adequate fat. Wouldn't hurt if it had a little more fat content. You have feeders, so you know how to feed cattle for weight gain. I'd say keep on with what you are doing, or maybe bump up the amount of feed you are giving,. It has just been one day I bet you gonna start seeing a difference in a week or two.
 
They should be able to gain with calves that little. What breed are they? How old are the cows? And did you worm them? I don't think the milk would hurt them if you wanted to do that. But, the feed you are giving them has plenty of protein and adequate fat. Wouldn't hurt if it had a little more fat content. You have feeders, so you know how to feed cattle for weight gain. I'd say keep on with what you are doing, or maybe bump up the amount of feed you are giving,. It has just been one day I bet you gonna start seeing a difference in a week or two.
One cow is a short solid other one is 7, the ss cow is in better shape than the 7 yr old. The ss is black other is red, look to be angus type crosses. The ss pair weighed a little over 1400 and the other pair weighed around 1100. I'll try to get pictures tomorrow evening. The whole herd was pretty thin which is why they probably ended up selling out, not any ir enough hay. I gave $1325 for black pair and $1050 for red pair. Good gentle cows too. I wormed them as soon as I unloaded them.
 
Don't try to push them. Put them in a lot or pasture with all the good hay they want. They will look a lot different by late March. Sell them into the strength of the market in the spring. I would stay away from the chocolate milk. Thats just asking for trouble for something that will easily make a good return on your money.
 
The biggest thing is to get them full up on some decent hay, so their rumens' are in good working order.. the worming sure will not hurt them either... I would not grain them much for at least a week to give them a chance to get used to your hay and your water... and to make sure that the worms have passed through if they are wormy. Then, some grain will do them some good, and probably help them to make a little more milk. I would not pull the calves. They will keep the cows happy, and if they are "full up" on feed, then they will help them to actually get to cycling better because they are stimulating the cow's systems. If you are wanting to up the fat a little more, then adding some corn will help with weight gain and that will also stimulate their systems to cycle.
I think you did good on them if they are decent cows... give them about 2 weeks and you will see a difference as they start to utilize the hay they are getting...
 
Don't try to push them. Put them in a lot or pasture with all the good hay they want. They will look a lot different by late March. Sell them into the strength of the market in the spring. I would stay away from the chocolate milk. Thats just asking for trouble for something that will easily make a good return on your money.
Curious to what trouble you believe giving them chocolate milk would cause? I have no dealings feeding expired milk to cattle but have fed it to pigs with good results which is why I posed the question. I figured the sugar alone in the chocolate milk would be a good source of energy for free. But as I stated, have no experience doing this with cattle.
 
Curious to what trouble you believe giving them chocolate milk would cause? I have no dealings feeding expired milk to cattle but have fed it to pigs with good results which is why I posed the question. I figured the sugar alone in the chocolate milk would be a good source of energy for free. But as I stated, have no experience doing this with cattle.
Might be an issue with ruminants vs mono gastric animals
 
Curious to what trouble you believe giving them chocolate milk would cause? I have no dealings feeding expired milk to cattle but have fed it to pigs with good results which is why I posed the question. I figured the sugar alone in the chocolate milk would be a good source of energy for free. But as I stated, have no experience doing this with cattle.
Pigs are omnivores. and will "eat" or drink milk. My grandma would put all the extra milk from milking a cow, and the left over milk each night, in the slop bucket along with the table scarps, to feed the pigs. I guess you could tray a little on those cows, but I think you wont need to. I think the free-choice hay and the feed you are giving them will do the trick. If zi did anything at all, I might add 10 lbs of corn to their feed.
 
Back 10-15 years ago there was some USDA attempt to use up a bunch of dry milk. There was an outfit by Scottsbluff that made cattle cake with it. My recollection is it had mixed reviews mostly because it just made a mess of the pellet mills with the milk caking up and getting hard as a rock in the machinery. Was probably a decent feed ingredient.
 
You might find they don't look as bad as you thought once they are home and their bellies full of hay. Their bellies empty out pretty quick at the sale yards and they don't look too flash.

Ken
 
Curious to what trouble you believe giving them chocolate milk would cause?
I honestly don't know if it would be good or bad, just something I don't think I would try or for that matter even be necessary. Salmonella or E coli might would be something I would worry about. Pigs are a whole different animal and its common to feed them rotten scraps.

I would not give the cows anything but hay and pasture for a few days and then maybe a few cubes every other day.
 

Latest posts

Top