Feeding Holsteins on self feeder for the first time

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WCBR1025
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Feeding Holsteins on self feeder for the first time

Postby WCBR1025 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 8:55 pm

Hello all,
I am planning on purchasing a small group of weaned Holstein steers and feeding them to finish. I was planning on feeding them calf started in a self feeder in the beginning and slowly transitioning over to shelled corn with a protein source mixed in. They will be in a small lot and they would get a little hay each day to keep them fuller.

This is my first time putting cattle on a self feeder and would appreciate any pointers to keep this from becoming a train wreck.

Thanks in advance,
WCBR
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pricefarm
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Re: Feeding Holsteins on self feeder for the first time

Postby pricefarm » Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:30 am

Have you raised Holsteins before? Seem like right now with prices where they are you would have to have a lot of cheap feed to make any money on them.
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ChrisB
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Re: Feeding Holsteins on self feeder for the first time

Postby ChrisB » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:41 am

Your plan will work just fine. It might be easier to transition to corn though if you bucket feed them until they are on your desired ration. Try to limit the hay to a pound a day, some people just bed them often and let them get enough roughage from eating that.
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farmerjan
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Re: Feeding Holsteins on self feeder for the first time

Postby farmerjan » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:50 am

Have to agree with pricefarm. The self feeder in it's self is not the problem. However, you are looking at a holstein eating a good amount more feed compared to a beef animal for the weight gain. Due to the physiology of the body, breed influence, a dairy animal of any breed will eat a proportionately greater amount of feed in order to grow bone and size before putting on any significant amount of meat(muscle). Most all the farmers that have raised dairy beef here, meaning 90% raising holstein steers, are former dairy farmers or from dairy backgrounds. They understand the needs and growth of holsteins. I do not know any of them that have self feeders. Most are raised on a combination of silage, hay, and concentrates to supply needed vitamins and minerals for growth. Diets heavier in corn come along towards the end of the feeding period to the finishing.
I personally am not in favor of self feeders for concentrates. Just me. I like to take the time to walk through my animals when I have put feed into the feeders and they come in for it. Check them over and make sure there are no problems, like sore feet, cuts, big or hard udders on cows, scours or anything out of the ordinary on the calves. Observation goes a long way to making sure an animal is "doing good".
Also, a little hay to keep them fuller is not a good recipe. Any great amount of concentrates, like a self feeder, must be BALANCED with proper protein and other needs of the animal. Silage feeding is somewhat like a self feeder, but if you don't add what is lacking in the silage, the animals will not grow properly or gain economically. ACIDOSIS is very common in dairy cattle, and just corn and some protein and some hay to keep them fuller can result in a disaster.
I am not trying to shoot down something that you want to do. But just understand that feeding out dairy breed animals is different and more costly than beef and that there are many small pitfalls that can result in a big train wreck. And with the cost return of dairy beef, unless you are in an area that there is a good market for them, you will not make money on them.
With the continuing dairy - milk - crisis, there will be alot of dairy cows going to slaughter in the next year. If prices do not turn around soon, there will be alot of dairy farmers getting out = alot of dairy beef flooding the market = and then prices will sink even further. The next year or so is going to be very sketchy for anyone in or doing any farming in anything related to dairy; including raising steers. There are 2 different ones here that have quit raising dairy steers here, and they were feeding out several hundred a year. Not profitable.
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WCBR1025
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Re: Feeding Holsteins on self feeder for the first time

Postby WCBR1025 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:35 pm

Well these steers will be sold for freezer beef so I’m hoping to get a premium vs selling them at market. My setup is that I have an old hog lot that is sitting unused and I figured having something in there is better than it sitting idle.
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Re: Feeding Holsteins on self feeder for the first time

Postby snoopdog » Tue Apr 10, 2018 8:07 pm

What weight are they and what are you going to finish them at? Holsteins can make you money , but they generally will not have efficient feed conversion until at least 650lbs .
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