How to feed sodium bicarbonate

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nitai
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How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby nitai » Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:32 am

Hi all. I asked this on another thread I had started but wanted to make sure it would be seen. It seems like one of my milkers may have acidosis so I am wanting to give her sodium bicarbonate. I have a fair bit on hand in the kitchen and can get more tomorrow, but I am wondering how to determine the ratio and what method to feed it. I only feed each of my 3 milkers about 1.5 gallons worth of grain per day. Should I stop feeding grains to the one while I get her back on track? My plan was also to get them some probios. Can anyone advise if this sounds good?

Thank you in advance.
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby dun » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:52 pm

I don;t know what ratio but for most dairy grains it's mixed in loose already
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby nitai » Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:57 pm

Hmm, I see. We do feed a dairy grain so I will check if it has the sodium bicarbonate, but perhaps she needs an additional boost, regardless?
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby dun » Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:10 pm

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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby TexasBred » Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:54 pm

nitai wrote:Hmm, I see. We do feed a dairy grain so I will check if it has the sodium bicarbonate, but perhaps she needs an additional boost, regardless?

She will need from 4 to 6 ounces per day. You can try mixing it into the feed or just put some into a mineral type feeder and see if they eat some of it. Most dairy rations will have it mixed into the mix from 10-25 lbs. per ton depending on your feeding rate. Wish you would weigh that feed so you know exactly how much you're feeding them.
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby nitai » Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:28 pm

I weighed the grain and we feed each cow 10.5 lbs per day. It is a dairy mix and it does have sodium bicarbonate. But I should still get some and add more, right?
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby TexasBred » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:12 am

nitai wrote:I weighed the grain and we feed each cow 10.5 lbs per day. It is a dairy mix and it does have sodium bicarbonate. But I should still get some and add more, right?

Yessir I would. Most commerical dairies will feed from 25-30 lbs. of the grain mix per day so the bicarb is formulated into the ration based on that feeding rate. At your much lower rate she's not getting nearly enough. Don't know if it's possible but I'd sure try to make sure she gets plenty of roughage before making the grain mix available. Hope you can get her straightened out.
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby JaimieBrunken » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:58 am

We feed bicarb free choice in fence line bunks. Have done this for about 10 years now, and along with having a good nutritionalist, we fight nearly nothing for acidosis. We have 2 large commercial dairies and I believe it works quite well for us. If their stomach is upset, our cows seem smart enough to realize this helps them, not sure how! It also provides us a small easy visual guide as to how their stomachs feel aside from manure composition. If suddenly one week we cant keep enough bicarb in the bunks, we can usually track down some sort of ration change, ingredient change, or feeder error, that is causing it...
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby nitai » Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:50 pm

Thanks Jaimie. I have 50# of sodium bicarb on the way to my ranch today. I am assuming it is just going to be like regular baking soda (very fine and powdery). Do you just put it out in that form and let them have at it as they desire?
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby TexasBred » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:07 pm

JaimieBrunken wrote:We feed bicarb free choice in fence line bunks. Have done this for about 10 years now, and along with having a good nutritionalist, we fight nearly nothing for acidosis. We have 2 large commercial dairies and I believe it works quite well for us. If their stomach is upset, our cows seem smart enough to realize this helps them, not sure how! It also provides us a small easy visual guide as to how their stomachs feel aside from manure composition. If suddenly one week we cant keep enough bicarb in the bunks, we can usually track down some sort of ration change, ingredient change, or feeder error, that is causing it...

Your lab results on your milk pickups should show you a lot about rumen function. Butterfat and protein as well as production will be going up and down like a yoyo as will MUN. Cattle will eat normally one day and not eat the next as the ph in the rumen goes up and down. The sodium bicarbonate along with magox will help maintain a more stable ph.
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby milkmaid » Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:51 am

When I have an individual cow that needs bicarb, I'll put it in capsules - our dairy supplier carries boxes of empty capsules - and give her several a day as needed along with probiotics until she recovers.
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby JaimieBrunken » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:13 am

TexasBred wrote:
JaimieBrunken wrote:We feed bicarb free choice in fence line bunks. Have done this for about 10 years now, and along with having a good nutritionalist, we fight nearly nothing for acidosis. We have 2 large commercial dairies and I believe it works quite well for us. If their stomach is upset, our cows seem smart enough to realize this helps them, not sure how! It also provides us a small easy visual guide as to how their stomachs feel aside from manure composition. If suddenly one week we cant keep enough bicarb in the bunks, we can usually track down some sort of ration change, ingredient change, or feeder error, that is causing it...

Your lab results on your milk pickups should show you a lot about rumen function. Butterfat and protein as well as production will be going up and down like a yoyo as will MUN. Cattle will eat normally one day and not eat the next as the ph in the rumen goes up and down. The sodium bicarbonate along with magox will help maintain a more stable ph.


I closely monitor the lab results and totally agree with you on being able to monitor that way. However, in our case, our lab is quite often up to 10 days behind on posting our numbers for us to be able to analyze. This has only happened to us one time in the past where bicarb consumption went up drastically and were able to track it down BEFORE the lab finally posted the numbers reflecting what we had already observed in the cows. I have used bicarb filled into empty gelcaps along with magnalax in my fresh pen to get my rumen ph back in line for the specific cow, but thats normally what we deal with, a cow here and there...
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Re: How to feed sodium bicarbonate

Postby TexasBred » Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:27 am

Don't know where you're located Jaime but it's a shame your lab cannot get results to you more current than what you say. All will be a few days behind but that's rediculous and expensive for you. Hope it gets better for you.
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