Nutrition and Development of Stomach

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Bright Raven
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Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Bright Raven » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:35 am

Last evening at our field day:

Dr. Eric Vanzant, University of Kentucky, Ruminant Nutrition specialist has been researching the the development and differentiation of the bovine stomach.

Providing solid forage beginning at two weeks of age in the form of feed or high quality hay accelerates the development of the ruminant four chamber stomach. Providing high grade solids early causes the stomach to develop into the four chambers - omasum, abomasum, rumen and reticulum. Until solids are introduced into the diet, the calf will stay in the single chambered milk stomach mode. He said it does not take much. The concept is to provide a creep area the cows cannot raid with some kind of solid feed that is attractive to calves.

Dr. Vanzant said the solids cause the stomach to differentiate much faster than those just picking at pasture forage, thus the calf grows faster and is able to utilize pasture forage much sooner.

If you are retaining heifers, the ones developed on solids early will out perform. I have noticed since using a creep hot wire that my calves grow faster and are healthier.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Bigfoot » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:00 am

That's interesting, and not that hard to implement.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby TexasBred » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:18 am

Bright Raven wrote:Last evening at our field day:

Dr. Eric Vanzant, University of Kentucky, Ruminant Nutrition specialist has been researching the the development and differentiation of the bovine stomach.

Providing solid forage beginning at two weeks of age in the form of feed or high quality hay accelerates the development of the ruminant four chamber stomach. Providing high grade solids early causes the stomach to develop into the four chambers - omasum, abomasum, rumen and reticulum. Until solids are introduced into the diet, the calf will stay in the single chambered milk stomach mode. He said it does not take much. The concept is to provide a creep area the cows cannot raid with some kind of solid feed that is attractive to calves.

Dr. Vanzant said the solids cause the stomach to differentiate much faster than those just picking at pasture forage, thus the calf grows faster and is able to utilize pasture forage much sooner.

If you are retaining heifers, the ones developed on solids early will out perform. I have noticed since using a creep hot wire that my calves grow faster and are healthier.



:nod: :nod:
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Stocker Steve » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:07 am

Bright Raven wrote:Dr. Vanzant said the solids cause the stomach to differentiate much faster than those just picking at pasture forage, thus the calf grows faster and is able to utilize pasture forage much sooner.

If you are retaining heifers, the ones developed on solids early will out perform. I have noticed since using a creep hot wire that my calves grow faster and are healthier.


Does he recommend creep at 2 wks of age, or is that just an extreme example?
What did he provide for pasture forage utilization timeline(s) ?
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Bright Raven » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:57 am

Stocker Steve wrote:
Bright Raven wrote:Dr. Vanzant said the solids cause the stomach to differentiate much faster than those just picking at pasture forage, thus the calf grows faster and is able to utilize pasture forage much sooner.

If you are retaining heifers, the ones developed on solids early will out perform. I have noticed since using a creep hot wire that my calves grow faster and are healthier.


Does he recommend creep at 2 wks of age, or is that just an extreme example?
What did he provide for pasture forage utilization timeline(s) ?


At 2 weeks he recommended a creep feed plan using solids like wafers of high quality square bales containing alfalfa and/or starter feeds. The concept is to entice the calf to include solids in addition to their nursing so the stomach begins to differentiate into the components that process solids.

The timeline for utilization of pasture is accelerated as the calf is managed to take in solids sooner than they otherwise would.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Nesikep » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:38 pm

I do provide a creep feed area with good hay (no concentrated feeds), but I find the calves learn best from momma, they see her eat and will copy her, so they usually hang around the feed bunk.
Sufficient milk early on is really important, If a calf is going to get some set amount of milk in it's life, the one that gets LOTS of milk early will develop better than the one that had that same total amount of milk rationed over a period of time. I have no doubt that the calves from my best cows could be weaned at 4 months with no trouble whatsoever, they're fat and sassy, they eat with gusto, and they're well developed...
It may not even be the total milking ability of the cow, but perhaps cream content plays a large role too.. nothing will do well being fed skim milk no matter how much they drink. You throw a calf on milk that has 6% fat or so and that's going to pack on the weight.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby plumber_greg » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:54 pm

What does that info mean for the ones doing confinement cow calf in barns. Gs
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Bright Raven » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:33 pm

plumber_greg wrote:What does that info mean for the ones doing confinement cow calf in barns. Gs


Greg, it would perhaps be more applicable because the calf might not be exposed to forages that stimulate the timely development of a ruminant stomach. In a situation where the cow and calves are confined, it would require an arrangement where the calves could move into a calf only area where flakes of high quality hay and/or starter grains are available to the calves.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby dun » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:48 pm

Since our calves are typically eating grass by 1 1/2 - 2 weeks I don;t think I'll change my procedures.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Bright Raven » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:58 pm

dun wrote:Since our calves are typically eating grass by 1 1/2 - 2 weeks I don;t think I'll change my procedures.


Dun, I think most do and the Professor stated that. His scenario was that in the pasture calves experiment with various species of forage. Some might try chicory or even spiny pigweed. The bad experiences with vegetation lead to a delay in the advancement of the stomach. Whereas, alfalfa hay or starter feed provide a more positive experience and stomach advancement is more rapid.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:32 pm

I wonder how that works for me with winter calving (Jan-Feb). My calves start eating baleage almost immediately along side their dam. Our baleage is mostly grass hay, but generally high quality - 16% protein.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Bright Raven » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:37 pm

Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:I wonder how that works for me with winter calving (Jan-Feb). My calves start eating baleage almost immediately along side their dam. Our baleage is mostly grass hay, but generally high quality - 16% protein.


That should work to your advantage. The essence of his research is that there is a direct correlation between the advancement of Stomach development and consumption of high quality solids.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby TexasBred » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:35 am

Bright Raven wrote:
Jeanne - Simme Valley wrote:I wonder how that works for me with winter calving (Jan-Feb). My calves start eating baleage almost immediately along side their dam. Our baleage is mostly grass hay, but generally high quality - 16% protein.


That should work to your advantage. The essence of his research is that there is a direct correlation between the advancement of Stomach development and consumption of high quality solids.

Development of the rumen to handle "dry matter". A straight milk diet doesn't contain much dry matter thus no need for development. One reason bottle fed calves should have high quality calf starter made available from day one. Might eat none or very little for a while but eventually will learn that it is good and consumption will increase.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby NonTypicalCPA » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:51 am

Interesting post. I have a calf creep pen and have been giving my calves feed since about 6 weeks - they haven't show much interest before then. It's mostly so I can get them use to me handling them - for the breed and as breeding stock I want them friendly. My cattle neighbor/vet has commented that my calves look large for their age/breed. Maybe there's something to it.
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Re: Nutrition and Development of Stomach

Postby Bright Raven » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:04 am

NonTypicalCPA wrote:Interesting post. I have a calf creep pen and have been giving my calves feed since about 6 weeks - they haven't show much interest before then. It's mostly so I can get them use to me handling them - for the breed and as breeding stock I want them friendly. My cattle neighbor/vet has commented that my calves look large for their age/breed. Maybe there's something to it.


I have calves 2 weeks old already coming under the creep hotwire and picking in the feed. In a month they really start looking for the opportunity to get away from mom and eat sweet feed.
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