Wintering cattle?

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dun

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cedarview farms":1kytnm60 said:
Can cows live off o hay in the winter, or do they need grain also.
Unless they're milking all they will need is "decent" hay, minerals and water
 

Willow Springs

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We live in an area with a lot of cold wheather in the winter and most cows get a combination of hay/cereal straw or silage/cereal silage. Most would not even get free choice hay, so unless economics dictate using grain, it doesn't usually get used.
 

Bez+

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We run our animals - cows carrying calves - outside all winter long - they eat and live and sleep on snow.

Hay quality that meets the following minimum levels means they get nothing but supplementary minerals.

Dates are approximate. Condition of the animal and weather generally dictates our feed schedule.

Oct - Dec: Minimum 7% protein
Jan - Mar: Minimum 9% protein
Apr - May: Minimum 11% protein

Yes, we test our hay and sort it.

We calve in May - June.

This keeps them just fine.

Any additional protein over about 11% - plus or minus a bit - they just p!ss it out on the ground - a waste of money.

Milking cattle need more. Fats need lots more. You do not say what you are doing so this advice might not be worth a pinch of rat manure to you.

If you are carrying over animals and not looking to put weight on - this is all you need in our part of the world.

No matter who gives you the advice you are looking for be sure it fits YOUR environment and YOUR cattle. Ours is cold - lots of snow - with heavy wet in fall and spring.

Winters are long here - we often feed for 7 plus months - temps drop to minus 40, winds can be a problem so they have wind breaks for shelter. No roof overhead so they carry the ice and snow on their backs.

You need the right genetics for this - we have been breeding them for this for 30 years.

Millions of cattle in North America - most live out doors on far less than the pets most people on this board keep.

Regards and over to you.

Bez+
 

Pickles Dillman

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Bez+":2k6dtvx3 said:
We run our animals - cows carrying calves - outside all winter long - they eat and live and sleep on snow.

Hay quality that meets the following minimum levels means they get nothing but supplementary minerals.

Dates are approximate. Condition of the animal and weather generally dictates our feed schedule.

Oct - Dec: Minimum 7% protein
Jan - Mar: Minimum 9% protein
Apr - May: Minimum 11% protein

Yes, we test our hay and sort it.

We calve in May - June.

This keeps them just fine.

Any additional protein over about 11% - plus or minus a bit - they just p!ss it out on the ground - a waste of money.

Milking cattle need more. Fats need lots more. You do not say what you are doing so this advice might not be worth a pinch of rat manure to you.

If you are carrying over animals and not looking to put weight on - this is all you need in our part of the world.

No matter who gives you the advice you are looking for be sure it fits YOUR environment and YOUR cattle. Ours is cold - lots of snow - with heavy wet in fall and spring.

Winters are long here - we often feed for 7 plus months - temps drop to minus 40, winds can be a problem so they have wind breaks for shelter. No roof overhead so they carry the ice and snow on their backs.

You need the right genetics for this - we have been breeding them for this for 30 years.

Millions of cattle in North America - most live out doors on far less than the pets most people on this board keep.

Regards and over to you.

Bez+

Just about the exact same here Bez. Except we calve a little sooner than you. Are you that neighbor down the road that I still aint met? :cowboy:
 

SRBeef

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Bez,

Thank you for the winter hay for beef cattle primer! I have already purchased some almost dairy quality hay mostly because it became available at the awful price of milk these days and a baler breakdown etc.

I take it from your post that protein over 11% will get wasted. But you say 11% min. I was thinking of also purchasing some much lower grade hay and putting out one bale of each at a time but I suspect the dairy stuff will get eaten since it is much better texture. And the lower quality hay left....although if its the only hay out...

If I have some 15-16% (or higher - have not tested it) hay how can it best be used without wasting it on Herefords in WI. I was thinking of using some of it for the calves that will be on hay after weaning in Oct. All will be grazing corn also this winter. Cows earlier, calves later.

Thanks again. Jim
 

jerry27150

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feed your poorer hay up first, the cows will need better hay as they get closer to freshening. hereford cows should do fine on the corn stalks & poorer hay. i usually feed the best hay i have to weaned calves as they require more energy & protein
 

Bez+

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SRBeef":1gjltcqw said:
Bez,

Thank you for the winter hay for beef cattle primer! I have already purchased some almost dairy quality hay mostly because it became available at the awful price of milk these days and a baler breakdown etc.

I take it from your post that protein over 11% will get wasted. But you say 11% min. I was thinking of also purchasing some much lower grade hay and putting out one bale of each at a time but I suspect the dairy stuff will get eaten since it is much better texture. And the lower quality hay left....although if its the only hay out...

If I have some 15-16% (or higher - have not tested it) hay how can it best be used without wasting it on Herefords in WI. I was thinking of using some of it for the calves that will be on hay after weaning in Oct. All will be grazing corn also this winter. Cows earlier, calves later.

Thanks again. Jim

Yeah - "generally" 11% is more than required to maintain a cow that is bred.

If you read carefully you will see that 11% is during the time we calve - the cows are milking and the calves are sucking - so the old girls need that extra to keep up production.

If I had corn graze I would put out the old hay first and not even worry - do not give them a choice.

Bez+
 
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