How much grain to feed daily?

Kettle Creek Cattle

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Hello all! Hope everyone had a good holiday season!

My question to the group is...to those who feed grain to their cows, how much do you feed daily? I'm not looking to push any steers or anything, just a good daily maintenance amount (free choice hay 24/7 of course).
I have 5 cows total, one is currently 6 months pregnant. Does her being pregnant require her to have more grain? I'm currently feed the 5 cows a total of 2 five gallon buckets of a 14% grower ration daily. Is this too much, too little? Again, they also have 24/7 access to hay. Thanks gang!
 

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Hello all! Hope everyone had a good holiday season!

My question to the group is...to those who feed grain to their cows, how much do you feed daily? I'm not looking to push any steers or anything, just a good daily maintenance amount (free choice hay 24/7 of course).
I have 5 cows total, one is currently 6 months pregnant. Does her being pregnant require her to have more grain? I'm currently feed the 5 cows a total of 2 five gallon buckets of a 14% grower ration daily. Is this too much, too little? Again, they also have 24/7 access to hay. Thanks gang!
Are you wanting to slaughter them?

Do they have no range? So, dry lot cattle?

Are they all full grown?

I would think the only reason to feed cattle grain is if you want to fatten them for slaughter...

A pregnant cow can benefit from some feed/ cubes to make sure she is getting good nutrition.
 

farmerjan

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You are feeding more than plenty for the animals you have., Really, they could probably do with half of that as just a maintenance ration. Growing animals need a little more as they do not process the hay as efficiently. Plus, they naturally need more of a protein intake for growth.
Do not feed too much to the pregnant cow or her calf will get too big as more of her nutritional intake will go to the fetus. We only feed the "old cow" group grain when they are pregnant.... and only about one 5 gal bucket per 4-5 cows....
You want to feed less than 1% of their weight if it is a maintenance ration. Growing calves and yearlings can be fed up to 2-4 % of their weight.
Rule of thumb for us is to feed 1 , 5 gallon bucket per 6-10 head with free choice hay available. A bucket holds 20-25 lbs grain... so that is less than 5 lbs feed to each animal. It depends on the quality of the hay and the condition of the animals.
Obviously the idea situation is to be able to feed separately for the different age/nutritional needs. the bull doesn't need it.... the pregnant dry cow does not need much if any. Yearling and growing animals need a little more. The pictures of your animals in one of the other threads shows me that they are in very good condition.... too much feed will also get them to put more fat/finish on and if they are breeding animals, they don't need too much fat.

You take "very good" care of your animals..... I think many of mine would like to live at your house....:hide:lol::clap
 

Kettle Creek Cattle

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Farmerjan, as always you came through again! I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions so throughly! I take a lot of pride in raising my animals and always appreciate it when someone stops at my place or sees me in the store and says "hey, your cows look good". I am glad to hear that I can cut back on the grower rations tho because the cost of feed this year is crazy!

I of course have another question tho (imagine that right)...being as tho my cow is in her last 3 months of pregnancy, is there anything I should be giving her? I read somewhere that you should up her protien during this time. I'm very excited to have a calf born at my place and I want to make sure I'm doing everything I have to do. Thanks again for all your help!
 

farmerjan

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Since you are supplementing the cows, no, do not give her anymore protein. Most beef cows, ours included, get little if any extra above the free choice hay, in the last 2-3 months of pregnancy. Too much/too hot of a ration will actually be worse than skimping. The calf does it's most growth of size/weight etc in the last 60-90 days. You don't want a 150 lb calf... you want the cow to be drawing on her body reserves to help the calf develop those last couple of months so she is not feeding it "too well". Granted, you don;t want them thin or drawing on body reserves to the point that they get out of balance and get milk fever.... and yes beef cows can get it. It is the body pulling too much calcium from the bones into the bloodstream and mostly happens to dairy cows but also to cows that have an unbalanced ration. Gets the calcium/mag/potassium out of balance. With your supplementation, she ought to be fine. You do not want her to be too fat or she could have calving problems, and you do not want her to have a fatty udder, again from too much "good food" which puts fat into the cells. Many times a beef heifer will get a fatty udder at a younger age if she is being fed too well. Fat cells in the udder can reduce the milk producing ability.
It just goes to say that you want them to look good, but not be roly poly.....

Just like women are encouraged to be fit and healthy..... not sit around and eat for 2 (or 3 or 4) so to speak.

After she calves you do not want to up her feed either for a bit. She does not need to start out producing 5 gallons a day.... a beeffwill drink frequently and small amounts.... a pint or 2 at a time for the first few days.... but they might nurse every hour or 2 or so.........This way they stay full, the 1st stomach (true stomach that digests the milk) will be stimulated to work without flooding it. That is why it is better with bottle calves to keep them a little bit hungry for the first few days.... smaller amounts more often will help prevent alot of the scours in calves. I want them to be wanting more milk than to seem full.... The more we mimic nature, the better off the calf is. It seems to be a hard lesson to learn and apply.

I think you will be just fine. Cut back their feed... do it over a week or so, just a little at a time. If you really want to feed twice a day, then in a week or 10 days they should be getting half.... but if possible you might want to get the younger ones separate and let them have a little more and the mature ones less....

You also need to get the bull out when she is ready to calve. Since you have just a few cows, he is going to want to be right there and the calving hormones/smells will cause him to worry the cow when she wants to be bonding with the calf. Most cattleman that don't take their bulls out, will usually find that the cows that are calving go off and find a quiet hidden place to calve and will stay there for a day or 2 so they don;t have the distraction of other animals. Helps the calf bond with their own momma. I have had some cows that are such good mommas, that when they are waiting to calve, they will try to take over a calf that is not their own and it can cause problems for the calf to figure out who is really it's momma. Not something you need to worry with right now... but the others may be more in the way than not, if she cannot get off by herself to calve.
 

Kettle Creek Cattle

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Wow! You are worth your weight in gold! I'm glad I found this site and I'm grateful for all of your information. Soon I will basically have a digital bovine encyclopedia that I can read back on!!

As for my bull...I had an offer that I can't refuse. My cousin offered to buy him from me at a decent price and also said I could use him whenever I wanted and he'd even deliver him. I really hate to let him go but I think I might take him up on the offer. What would you do?
 

farmerjan

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Honestly, if you have future use of him, even if you had to pay for it or do the transporting yourself, sell him. You can put the money into some cross fencing, buy another cow or just sit on it for a future emergency. If you have a head chute/catch of some sort, you could maybe get some AI work done.... or get in contact with Select Sire Power, see if there is a course near you, learn to do it. Buy a nitrogen semen tank and maybe do it on the side like I have done over the years.
There is no point in paying for a bull to eat 10-11 months of the year for him to only breed one or 2 cows. Besides, if you want to raise a heifer or 2 you know you are courting danger for him to breed them too young. What you would save in feed costs, you could afford to pay for his use for a 30-45 day period.

Just my opinion.
 
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