Cow behavior and hay

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herofan
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Cow behavior and hay

Postby herofan » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:28 am

I have had hay rolls out for my herd since the end of Nov, and they haven’t touched it. I have seen them at the hay a couple of times, so they know where it is. We opened up 30 acres of grass around Nov 18, so i figured they were enjoying that better than hay. They look healthy, so I assumed pasture was sustaining them so far.

They have, however, went through the hot wire a couple of times and eat on our supply rolls that were fenced off. So, apparently they don’t mind eating hay at this point, so why aren’t they eating what I have put out for them; it’s all the same hay.

I find it a little odd that they haven’t eaten any of it yet, but I figured they gave enough sense to eat when they are hungry. Puzzled.
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby HDRider » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:34 am

Is the fenced hay the same hay? How aggressivly did they eat the fenced hay?

Along those lines, I am curious how selective cattle are about eating hay. Just how picky can they be? Will they eat poor hay if they are hungry enough?
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby kenny thomas » Thu Dec 21, 2017 10:37 am

Try this. Unroll a little of one of the rolls and see if they eat it. It may for some reason have moldy or is there a chance its rolled so tight that they have a problem pulling it out? I have to cut and loosen the roll for weaned calves.
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True Grit Farms
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby True Grit Farms » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:03 am

HDRider wrote:Is the fenced hay the same hay? How aggressivly did they eat the fenced hay?

Along those lines, I am curious how selective cattle are about eating hay. Just how picky can they be? Will they eat poor hay if they are hungry enough?

Cattle are very selective on what hay they eat...first and you can't fool them.
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby herofan » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:06 am

HDRider wrote:Is the fenced hay the same hay? How aggressivly did they eat the fenced hay?

Along those lines, I am curious how selective cattle are about eating hay. Just how picky can they be? Will they eat poor hay if they are hungry enough?


It’s the same hay. There is some of last year’s and this year’s hay in the fenced area, and they seem to have eaten it equally.

I have a herd of 20 and about 12 of the 40 rolls were bothered at random. None were eaten down, but roughed up quite a bit. I’m not sure how long they had been in. Probably need more than a day.
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby HDRider » Thu Dec 21, 2017 11:20 am

Do you think they were going bale to bale looking for hay they like?
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby BrangusUSA » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:18 pm

Someone on here told me not to put out more than two days worth at a time. Keeps it fresh. After two days husband fluffs it with spear and the they finish it off. Very little waste doing it that way.

Before we were putting out six round bales at a time so as to put out hay less often. Two much waste that way.

Ours also definately prefer bermuda over johnson grass. Got around that by putting out johnson grass first part of winter. When that is gone we put out bermuda for the hard part of winter. No more buffet where they choose. When johnson grass is the only thing out there they eat it gladly.
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby herofan » Thu Dec 21, 2017 12:36 pm

The thing is, there has been no change in our hay or procedures from past years. Dec had never been a big consumption month, but we’ve never had this issue before.

The thing about cattle is that I often find myself scratching my head thinking, “that’s a new one.”
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby True Grit Farms » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:04 pm

Image
Not hard to tell which bales the cows say are the best.
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby Stocker Steve » Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:02 pm

kenny thomas wrote:Try this. Unroll a little of one of the rolls and see if they eat it. It may for some reason have moldy or


Our cows will eat courser hay, or later cut hay, if they have open access to the bale - - but may refuse to eat it if its in a bale ring. Have you seen this?
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby Texasmark » Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:56 pm

Bovines are NUTS! Why would they pass up premium hay in a ring and go to the eroded gulley which contained half a dozen rolls from 5 years ago????????? Best guess is that it rotted and fermented and it's sugar in it's finest refined form....BOOZE and they get drunk.

I've given up on trying to figure them out.

But as I have said before: Take feed store Molasses, thinned enough to be pumpable with a hand held pump up sprayer, has changed a many a mind about what to eat and what not to.
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby dun » Thu Dec 21, 2017 6:28 pm

If we put out multiple bales they will always clean one up before the really get started much on the other. I lay it to "They are cows"
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby Silver » Fri Dec 22, 2017 3:23 pm

Sometimes they just like a change I think
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby bball » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:22 pm

True Grit Farms wrote:Image
Not hard to tell which bales the cows say are the best.


I like your cattle grit.
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Re: Cow behavior and hay

Postby farmerjan » Fri Dec 22, 2017 8:38 pm

Ours will sometimes go through elec to get to hay and then they want to play with it more than eat it. You know, like attack it with their heads and do the push and shove thing with the hay rolls. We just moved 13 c/c pairs that were still eating some pasture and playing with the roll until we put a ring around it. Got tired of dealing with the water troughs freezing and all so they were moved to where there are auto waterers. Also be easier when we get snow as they are near "home base" instead of 20 miles away.
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