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Donna Davis

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Hello! I have had much trouble finding any information on raising cattle as pets. I bought them to breed but it was getting too dangerous to have a bull as a pet, so we have a steer. The only information I can find is how to fatten them up for beef/dairy. The first year they were grass fed only until the grass was gone and then we moved to a first year grower feed. I called my local feed store where I get my horse food delivered and they said that they carry a general feed for winter, but to honest it’s mostly corn and molasses …I was told that they need the calories for warmth but it doesn’t seem like a very healthy diet. Could I mix the two? The original grower was a tan pellet. I give about 1.5 3Qt scoops twice a day for the 2 cows. The horse is an old guy that we rescued…he’s on Tribute Kalm Ultra but to be honest the 3 of them share all of the food.
 

Mini Horses

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You say grass is gone...no mention of hay. Cattle must have the roughage. Please tell us that's being fed. The old horse can use a "complete" feed -- pellets that have his roughage. Cattle need more. An adult cow about 50# hay a day. You don't say ages or breed 🫤 but, correctly, bulls are not "pets". Advice will be coming. 🙂 Welcome to the forum.

@farmerjan ... Input please
 
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Donna Davis

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Oh yes, sorry…they have free feed hay that is always stuffed to capacity! They are Jersey minis so about 500 pounds.
 

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farmerjan

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Looking at the picture, they are getting more than enough feed. If you plan to keep them as pets, they can maintain on about half of that amount of grain. There is no reason for them to get that much feed if they are not doing anything but just sitting there eating. Cattle do not make very good "pets". Bulls exceptionally should never be pets. I am glad he has been steered.
Corn provides the calories, the hay is what they live on. You did not say where you are located. The amount of feed they get will depend on the temperatures.
You can feed a lower quality feed to them since their rumen does the converting into usable calories for their body. With no demands made on their system, breeding or milking or anything, there is no reason to feed any grain at all...
Our cattle maintain on a diet of hay 90% of the time. That is what nature intended them to do. Their rumen is designed to convert the hay into nourishment. Many head of cattle never see any type of concentrates unless they are put on feed for fattening or the forage is scarce or poor, due to weather conditions.
Jerseys are a dairy breed. Jersey bulls are notorious for their aggressive temperament and known to be fine one day, and then turn rogue. They are considered to be the most unpredictable of all the dairy breed bulls.
Jerseys, being a dairy breed, also should not look round as a barrel. They are more angular than a beef breed of cattle.
If you are going to keep them as pets then I would suggest you cut back on their feed/grain, or cut it out totally, so they do not get obese.. That shortens their life span also.
 

canesisters

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Hi & welcome to the forum.
@farmerjan has given great advice.
I have a pet jersey/angus & her (grown) calf and can only offer what I've learned with my limited experience.
Hay is #1 - both as their main feed AND to keep them busy.
A healthy jersey does not look like the average beef breed. Look online at some of the pictures of the top breeding bulls & cows from AI sites. Those are animals in peak condition. For my girl, I expect to see her hips & sometimes those last couple of 'short ribs'.
This time of year she will always look a bit underweight because there isn't yet any real grass but they'd rather nibble at the blush of green on the ground than eat hay... until they actually get Hungry.
Water & quality minerals are also important. Plenty of clean water at all times. If you can manage it & have access to it, give them access to both loose salt and a separate loose mineral.
If you are convinced that they MUST have additional feed, soaked beet pulp is good. Cattle Cubes (giant pellets the size of small potatoes) are a good source of extra protein - 16% I think.
If you have the ability to improve your pasture, your first step should be to get the soil tested & correct/amend as needed. In addition to that, if you can cross-fence long enough to let it grow, shallow tilling & sowing beans, melons, pumpkins & turnips will be more beneficial than a single species of grass. Keep in mind too that cows can't efficiently eat short grass. No top teeth. They have to be able to grasp it with their tongue. I was told 3"-4" minimum.
 
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