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  • 1 Post By G. Seddon
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  #1  
Old 05/22/12, 02:50 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
Posts: 239
Feeding my cows...what?

Hi all, so we supply our couple girls with a round bale, as much grass as will grow/they will eat and occasionally some grain for a treat. Recently we have been building our compost the "extreme" level. We have a tree company that has been delivering a dump load a day of clean, nice chips. Green and brown and all non-toxic to animals. It seems my girls LOVE this stuff way more than grass of hay. I figure, if this keeps working, I may have found the cheapest way to feed my cattle...any problems seen here? They are for beef only, one will be bred.

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  #2  
Old 05/22/12, 03:21 PM
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: VA
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Personally, I wouldn't, but I will defer to the experts here regarding nutritional value. I'd be worried about whether it actually is all non-toxic, in addition to sharp edges on chips. No thanks.

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  #3  
Old 05/22/12, 03:30 PM
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Location: SW Missouri
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All I can say is just *WOW*....
I am at most a cattle wannabe but this just seems wrong.

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  #4  
Old 05/22/12, 05:06 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: missouri
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YES BUT this is all it would take to wipe out entire herd Wilted cherry tree leaves will kill cattle. Hydrogen cyanide (with the historical common name of Prussic acid) is the source of the poison. I doubt that any cattle can survive the consumption of more than a few stressed or wilted leaves.

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  #5  
Old 05/22/12, 05:40 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
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I wouldn't allow them to eat wood chips. Their bodies aren't made for it. What happens if it builds up and can't be pooped out because they can't digest it? They would die. Please don't let them eat more of it until you do some research - real research, not asking people on a forum and talking to a vet.

Do they have a good mineral and salt available? I'm thinking possibly they are missing something that's making them want the wood chips.

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  #6  
Old 05/22/12, 05:57 PM
Dariy Calf Raiser
 
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^^^^ what Cliff said

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  #7  
Old 05/23/12, 07:25 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzyhomemaker09 View Post
All I can say is just *WOW*....
I am at most a cattle wannabe but this just seems wrong.
Thanks for your informative information, glad you found the time to post this for my information. Without it, I would have thought you were an expert cattle farmer, makes me proud to have been born and raised in Central Mo and not SW Mo.


The others:
I have been researching via online and talked to a vet from my parents farm area. Since cattle graze, and often clean my palms and oaks when they wander around the property, I'll keep watching what we have. They don't eat the wood, at least not from what we have seen. They eat the green and palm seed pods.

Will continue researching. Thanks to those with real info response and not just post count builders.
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  #8  
Old 05/23/12, 07:30 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff View Post
I wouldn't allow them to eat wood chips. Their bodies aren't made for it. What happens if it builds up and can't be pooped out because they can't digest it? They would die. Please don't let them eat more of it until you do some research - real research, not asking people on a forum and talking to a vet.

Do they have a good mineral and salt available? I'm thinking possibly they are missing something that's making them want the wood chips.
Hey Cliff< yes, they have free choice of both, along wit hhigh quality round bale, fresh grass and, for a treat, "cattle chow". They are extremely happy and healthy, and we do rotational grazing on 3 areas with a 4th being fenced soon. We rotate all our livestock through the areas, to keep parasite loads down and have not had any health issues, at all. They also use the pile as a playground, and since South Florida has no hills, they think these are mountains....lol
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  #9  
Old 05/23/12, 09:33 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Northern KY
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At first I thought the cows were eating the wood! That seems a little abnormal to me. Cows eating leaves is normal. I will strongly second what myersfarm said about cherry leaves. Other than that, I don't know why it would be a problem. My cows love to eat leaves off trees. I think my one cow actually prefers the roughage of the leaves. I don't really see a problem with it. Many people use wood chips as bedding and it will break down to make some nice top soil over time. I would make sure you keep good grass pasture available or good hay. I don't think the wood pile would make a good total feed ration!

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  #10  
Old 05/23/12, 09:54 AM
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Location: Ohio Valley (Southern Ohio)
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It isn't just cherry leaves that can cause problems. Oak leaves as well as the bark, eaten in enough quantity, can cause similar problems. Willow leaves and bark can cause other problems when eaten in enough quantity as well. Then, there are the ornamentals, like rhododendron, and others, that are quite toxic to livestock. Being in Florida, I don't know how much problem cherry trees are for you, probably not much, however, you do have live oaks, and you just don't know if any toxic ornamentals were chipped up in the mix, so I'd be very careful with it. I do know that manchineels grow there, so as I said, unless I was positive what trees/shrubs were chipped up by the crew in each load, I'd probably avoid it.

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  #11  
Old 05/23/12, 09:55 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
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Ahh I thought they were eating wood chips also. What you are describing doesn't sound bad as long as the trees weren't sprayed for anything. Yay for free food - and delivered at that

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  #12  
Old 05/23/12, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by heavyrebel View Post
Thanks for your informative information, glad you found the time to post this for my information. Without it, I would have thought you were an expert cattle farmer, makes me proud to have been born and raised in Central Mo and not SW Mo.

In Suziehomaker09's defense, you didn't restrict your question to "expert cattle farmers". You asked a question to everyone on this board (you open up with "hi all", and when you do so, you leave yourself open to legitimate responses from all members of it. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that feeding wood chips doesn't sound like a bright idea. YOU left out some key information when you said you were having a "dump load of chips delivered a day" and you intimated that your livestock was eating them. You shouldn't really ridicule someone for giving their opinion when you asked for opinions, and then leave out key information. Your sarcasm (and it wasn't even directed at me) makes me hesitate to answer any further questions you may post.
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  #13  
Old 05/23/12, 10:56 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
Posts: 239

Hey Queen,

Your right, Legitimate responses are welcome. The response I received was not. The question it self would imply someone with information should respond. Why if someone asks a question that may sound odd to me, yet I have no idea if I am right, I woul not respond.

Secondly, I said chips, from a tree company. I said green and brown an specified clean, non-toxic. I did not say Wood chips, although in any tree there is wood. If there is a wooded area in one pasture, the cattle may chew on it. If it is not a toxic tree, and one has fallen, would one assume it might kil them to eat it?

I asked it on this board because it is the CATTLE board, on a homesteading board. This lends itself to unique thoughts, process and ways of farming and therefore feeding.

Have no fear though, I'll be sure to only ask experts questions, so those of you who need something to do, beside manage your own farms, livestock, jobs or family will know that I don't need your sarcastic, snide or admittedly ignorant of the subject comments.

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Last edited by heavyrebel; 05/23/12 at 11:30 AM. Reason: To correct spelling, since my phone typing skills are poor...i'll ask an expert to help me with that.
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  #14  
Old 05/23/12, 12:27 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: TN
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Everybody take a deeeep breath, and be nice

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  #15  
Old 05/23/12, 01:17 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbluegrass View Post
At first I thought the cows were eating the wood! That seems a little abnormal to me. Cows eating leaves is normal. I will strongly second what myersfarm said about cherry leaves. Other than that, I don't know why it would be a problem. My cows love to eat leaves off trees. I think my one cow actually prefers the roughage of the leaves. I don't really see a problem with it. Many people use wood chips as bedding and it will break down to make some nice top soil over time. I would make sure you keep good grass pasture available or good hay. I don't think the wood pile would make a good total feed ration!
Yeah, we are working towards building our soil, since we essentially have sandy soil. Hence the composting efforts. We have not reached the 'Forerunner' lever yet, but it is our dream to do so on the amount of property we have, comparatively. We had no intent of it being our sole feed, but its a heck of a nice addition and they seem to be getting enrichment from it, which we believe is important.
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  #16  
Old 05/23/12, 01:17 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: SW Missouri
Posts: 4,000

Ok....
I'll be the big person here and apologize.
It was not my intent to upset you or hurt your feelings...I was just simply amazed at your suggestion.
I do goats...I have started with cattle and sheep as well...
Having had experience with livestock in the past it occurs to me that just because an animal wants to eat something doesn't mean that it's good for them. Goats...eating too much grain will bloat and kill them in a matter of hours. I've had it happen...was a pure accident but none the less.
I'm sorry if my reply offended you.

But in response to an accusation of post padding !?!?!

not even close to being a post padder might wanna check into that before accusing especially as I'm over 3k and you aren't even to 250.....

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Last edited by suzyhomemaker09; 05/23/12 at 03:27 PM. Reason: added info
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  #17  
Old 05/23/12, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by heavyrebel View Post
Thanks for your informative information, glad you found the time to post this for my information. Without it, I would have thought you were an expert cattle farmer, makes me proud to have been born and raised in Central Mo and not SW Mo.


The others:
I have been researching via online and talked to a vet from my parents farm area. Since cattle graze, and often clean my palms and oaks when they wander around the property, I'll keep watching what we have. They don't eat the wood, at least not from what we have seen. They eat the green and palm seed pods.

Will continue researching. Thanks to those with real info response and not just post count builders.
You can bet that I will not be responding to any posts of yours in the future.
There is no reason for this kind of response. I have lots of cattle experience, in your area too.
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  #18  
Old 05/23/12, 03:54 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
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  #19  
Old 05/23/12, 06:47 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Possum Belly View Post
You can bet that I will not be responding to any posts of yours in the future.
There is no reason for this kind of response. I have lots of cattle experience, in your area too.
hmm..ok. It nice that the person who asked the question, then gets treated like an idiot, then responds is the person you deem as having a poor attitude. No matter.

Im sorry Suzy, I just can't imagine why you would post such a response to a question, I guess I'm wired differently. I'm sorry about your goat experience. We raise Alpines for our milk and keep a very close watch on all their intake, but of course accidents can and do and will happen. SO far we have been successful in keeping them safe..less successful in dis-budding 100 percent, but that too is a learning curve I suppose.

If for some reason my OP wasn't clear or seems ridiculous, well, sorry, I felt it an honest and interesting question.

Best of luck to you all in your cattle....
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  #20  
Old 05/26/12, 06:17 PM
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Maine
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Typically when cattle (or sheep) start chewing wood chips or going after the bark on our cedar fence pots, we check the mineral feeder. Over the years I have found that when cows or sheep need some mineral, they go after wood chips or bark. It is not just salt though, its a mineral deficiency...I just not sure which mineral.

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  #21  
Old 05/26/12, 06:22 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
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Its not the bark, really. Its the greenery in the piles. They forage for it. They climb on it.

Been over two weeks and all is healthy happy and well.

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  #22  
Old 05/28/12, 07:45 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: North Alabama
Posts: 2,105

I thought it said they were eating the tree bark too.
Maybe you should consider that when comunicating in this fashion almost all inflection is lost, so misunderstandings are easy. The content of your original post was misunderstood by some...and I'm gonna go with some of your later posts may be misunderstood...they may be interpretted as really rude and snide...but maybe you were just pleased to have someone very quickly help you make the point that the cows were eating LEAVES cut from the trees and not CHIPS of wood from shredded trees.

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  #23  
Old 05/29/12, 08:05 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: South Ky Zone 7
Posts: 288

I got into the woodchip scene a few years ago, getting a few loads delivered from the utility company. I was going to compost it and spread it all over my farm. The problem is...is that it takes so long for it to compost. The carbon to nitrogen ratio is very very high.
As for the cattle eating it I really never paid much attention to it although they would mull thru it and eat mostly the leaves, the leaves have a lot of tannic acid in them, which probably makes it not on the same palatable level as grass, but it may help worm them(IMO) somewhat.
Old rotten hay makes compost much better and easier than wood chips if you have some access to any. Another problem with wood chips that I had was....most chippers chop it too big, I guess because its easier. If you could get it shredded really fine it would compost a lot quicker by reducing the surface area. Today I couldn't tell you where I spread it at. At the time I had a continuous grazing operation(Beef cattle) and that is the worst thing for soil fertility. Now I do intensive rotational grazing, the best way to build soil organic matter is to graze then give sufficient rest then graze again let rest etc. each time that happens you are pruning the roots and they become organic matter for the soil life. The plant grows new roots and starts the process all over again.

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  #24  
Old 05/30/12, 08:23 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
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Hi ycanchu2,

I considered the time to break down the materials, and figured the time it sits cost me nothing, especially considering the cost of importing soil in my area. I have checked it a couple times, including last night the temp is always hot inside from 6 inches down, which should be a good sign. We are adding manure and green to the mix, too. And its great, the cows spend so much time standing on it, they are like built in manure depositors...or something like that. lol.

We will be getting another 13-16 loads soon, which we will start a new pile with, adding more bedding and manure to this new, future, pile. We do use all our old hay and bedding now, of course, and are always looking for neighbors who have it for free to give. Our largest problem is moving it, since we have yet to acquire a tractor since we bought the place. Its a daily search, but it will be a few months still.

As for the size of chips, this guy is great. I am not kidding. He gave me two loads of med/small chips, then, he called me and said "im sorry man, those chips were a little larger than most guys like, so I put new blades on and told my guys to chip slower". True to his word, the rest of the piles are so fine we couldn't even use the wood parts a mulch on trees and such. There are of course some larger parts, but mostly its a nice small chip. The cows have taken care of the palm frans which is great, because they take forever to break down. They brown well, but they are so fibrous.

Well, we shall see how it all goes over the next 8 months.

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  #25  
Old 05/30/12, 06:03 PM
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
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Originally Posted by heavyrebel View Post
hmm..ok. It nice that the person who asked the question, then gets treated like an idiot, then responds is the person you deem as having a poor attitude. No matter.

Im sorry Suzy, I just can't imagine why you would post such a response to a question, I guess I'm wired differently. I'm sorry about your goat experience. We raise Alpines for our milk and keep a very close watch on all their intake, but of course accidents can and do and will happen. SO far we have been successful in keeping them safe..less successful in dis-budding 100 percent, but that too is a learning curve I suppose.

If for some reason my OP wasn't clear or seems ridiculous, well, sorry, I felt it an honest and interesting question.

Best of luck to you all in your cattle....
She posted that response because she thought you were feeding wood chips as most of us ,or all(see all posts) thought UNTIL you clarified!
Can you not understand that someone would give that response if they understood you were feeding wood chips???
Sorry,just don't see how you bash her when you are the one who should have explained better what you were feeding .
Again, look at the responses, most of us understood wood chips........
You should have apologized, not Suzy (my hat's off to you Suzy!)
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  #26  
Old 05/31/12, 11:17 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: South East Florida
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Hey UFO, I'm sure you have a dog in the fight somehow, and good for you and your dog. Maltese it may be, but good for you.

I'm sorry if, to you, a friendly question warrants a smart remark, when a simple clarification question could have been asked. I have never believed one person could change another persons lifelong views on etiquette or politeness, so I won't bother thinking you may be the first, and therefore, wasting much more time. Hopefully you will have other things to do as well, and feel the same.

Sorry to anyone else who feel sarcasm is an important part of their homesteading experience, on a message board. I, too, in my more immature days, and maybe even in my less immature days, have fallen victim to the ease of internet black/white Knight syndrome, as my younger brother calls it.

And yes, I could have been more clear, and would have been happy to, as I was in my first response.

So, congrats, after 2 years of reading and some posting, I'll be moving on. I'll troll for info I need. Thanks

Oh, and yeah, the are still alive and kicking...literally and figuratively.

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  #27  
Old 05/31/12, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by ufo_chris View Post
She posted that response because she thought you were feeding wood chips as most of us ,or all(see all posts) thought UNTIL you clarified!
Can you not understand that someone would give that response if they understood you were feeding wood chips???
Sorry,just don't see how you bash her when you are the one who should have explained better what you were feeding .
Again, look at the responses, most of us understood wood chips........
You should have apologized, not Suzy (my hat's off to you Suzy!)
I dunno, I have to say depending on how you read the response, and am sure Suzy didn't mean it that way, but it kinda of implied "wow, that is pretty dumb and I am not even a cow person, what kind of idiot are you" so I see why HR got a bit testy myself...not sure I would have framed my response that way even if I did not have all the information...I gotta say I am with HR on this one as far as feeling a bit like he took the first salvo
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