Another Feed Question

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sme.misfit.farms
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Another Feed Question

Post by sme.misfit.farms » Fri Sep 13, 2019 11:38 am

I know there's a billion of these subjects, but I couldn't find what I was looking in the search (really productive morning at work :lol: )

First - what does it mean when a feed ration is too hot? The post about the longer toes brought this to my attenion.

Second - This year we will have our heifers (this year's heifer calf and first timer calvers) separated from our seasoned cows. I assumed that this group could be on a similar ration, am I right on this? They'll have free choice grass hay round bales, free choice vitaferm 8s mineral, and 3.5 lbs of 16% protein grain every other day (per cow).

Is there something different a non pregnant heifer should have versus bred while being grown out?



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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by TexasBred » Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:53 pm

"Hot" is really more of a slang word many of us use in discussing feed. Has more to do with the energy content than the crude protein level. There are times cattle need a higher energy feed while at other times a more mellow feed will suffice depending on what your situation is and what you're trying to do with the cattle. A "finisher" type feed is hot....a "grower" feed more mellow. Most dairy rations will be very high in energy as well. When we speak of feeding range cubes these are relatively high in crude protein but reduced energy content. The long toes are the result of acidosis which is often caused by slug feeding and excessive starches (grain) in the ration.
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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by sme.misfit.farms » Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:22 pm

Okay that makes a lot more sense, thank you. I looked up slug feeding but that was much easier to google haha!

I'm more versed in diets for horses, so this may not even apply here. Aside from the obvious grass/hay, is there an ingredient that's better for cattle guts/rumens? Like beet pulp ferments better in the hind gut of a horse vs all the cereal grains and starches.
Or is it more having proteins available to break down hay/feed that's not as high in quality?

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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:48 am

I will let TB answer your nutrition questions. He is "our" expert. But, you are right about having to balance proteins to utilize your hay properly. I generally have high quality baleage (usually about 15-16% protein), so I wouldn't think about feeding anything to my cows other than the hay.
"IF" you have the ability to have 3 groups, it is best to have your replacement heifers separate from the others and have your coming 2 and 3 year olds separate from the mature cows. People forget about the coming 3 yr olds and they are probably the most "needie" group we have. They are usually needing more help than the yearlings & two year olds.
How good is your hay? I don't feed anything grain other than my weaned replacement heifers. Again, I have good hay.
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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:49 am

If you can only have 2 groups, you might include your coming 3 year olds.
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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by TexasBred » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:30 pm

sme.misfit.farms wrote:
Fri Sep 13, 2019 1:22 pm
Okay that makes a lot more sense, thank you. I looked up slug feeding but that was much easier to google haha!

I'm more versed in diets for horses, so this may not even apply here. Aside from the obvious grass/hay, is there an ingredient that's better for cattle guts/rumens? Like beet pulp ferments better in the hind gut of a horse vs all the cereal grains and starches.
Or is it more having proteins available to break down hay/feed that's not as high in quality?
I notice many companies now making what they call "Low Starch" or "reduced Starch" feeds for horses. These will usually have little or almost no grain in them and will use soybean hulls as the primary ingredient. Hulls are very digestible, have about 85% of the energy of corn and an al most no starches. Nutrena makes one called "Safechoice" I believe. All the major companies have one, I just can't think of them names at this time. Horses do utilize beet pulp very well and it is an excellent filler, high in fiber with a moderate level of energy but very safe for horses. I understand some horse owners actually cook it or at least soak it before feeding. Cost might make it infeasible.
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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by sme.misfit.farms » Wed Sep 18, 2019 10:29 am

I have a gelding with a soy intolerance - so he's strictly alfalfa pellets and beet pulp but yes a light soak for that stuff. It is super pricey to make any type of ration with it.

Interesting about the three year olds. Is there a reasoning you see to this or just their growth stages?

I haven't had it tested, it's dry hay and only one of the fields is heavily clovered. I plan on investing in a probe next year to look deeper in the operation and see where we need to focus on.

Thank you for answering my questions. Learning cattle feed seems to not sink in as well as horse feed for me.

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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Wed Sep 18, 2019 6:12 pm

If you calve your heifers out at 2 years old and re-breed them to calve at 3, they are really working.
They are still cutting teeth, growing, milking and rebreeding. By fall, even if they were in great condition when they calved at 2 yrs old, they are usually drawn down (pregnant & nursing). So, in my herd, and evidently in most herds according to what I read, my 3 yr olds are my most stressed animals. I always keep the coming 2 & 3 yrs olds together during the winter and also keep separated from mature cows after they calve until all go out on grass.
I generally don't have as much trouble getting the 2 yr olds re-bred as I do with the 3 yr olds.
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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by Silver » Wed Sep 18, 2019 9:36 pm

We used to always keep first and second calvers separate over the winter, and I will again if I am at all short of feed. The reason I put them together now is that I have developed only one source of winter water at this point, so I find it better to feed them all well and let them all have water. Perhaps next year I will have another winter water source and will go back to splitting them up.
Of course, this is just me feeling sorry for them. It used to be that only our replacements had water during the winter, and everyone else had to graze snow.

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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:26 am

I have seen "research" saying you can winter dry cows on snow, but you are the first to say you have done it.
I have a lot of snow (relatively - average 120"), but it crusts over way too much for them to be able to lick it. And, my cows start calving in January, so that is not feasible for me.
misfit - if you can provide enough bunk space and more than adequate feed, you can run them together, but that is wasting feed. 2 and 3 year olds get bullied away from the feed, and they need more nutrition than a mature cow.
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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by sme.misfit.farms » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:24 am

Fortunately there will only be four in the group for second calvers and mature cows and have plenty of bunk space for that group.
Two first timers, three replacements, and a couple of the smaller steers will be kept separate.

When they go to calve, I'll put them on clean pasture.

I really was struggling with understanding what cows needed protein/feed wise or if there was a specific thing that was extremely helpful for their rumen/health.

I know I'm way over thinking this. It's a bad habit.

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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by Dirt Farmer » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:10 pm

The best feed for cattle is grass or hay. It may need to be supplemented with protein depending on the quality of the grass or hay. Minerals are also important but that is another topic that you can read about by searching. Google is your friend on these issues. I found these two pages in a matter of minutes:

http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare ... 974web.pdf

https://extension.msstate.edu/sites/def ... pr2009.pdf

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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by sim.-ang.king » Thu Sep 19, 2019 3:53 pm

A pretty growing heifer ration is oats with SBM, or soy hulls, for your supplement. Oats will slick them up nice without having to worry about over-conditioning.
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Re: Another Feed Question

Post by Jeanne - Simme Valley » Thu Sep 19, 2019 5:54 pm

As mentioned - cows (mature) only need grass or hay - and a good mineral program.
You can tell if the cow is getting enough protein (which most grass and most hay is high enough) - just LOOK at their manure. If it is hard turds like a horse, they are definitely needing more protein. If it is shooting out the back end like water - too much protein. Cattle's manure tells you a lot about your animals. Ideal is you want it to slightly "stack up". Sort of soft enough to spread out, but firm enough to build up a pile, not splatter all over.
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