bizarre actions of heifers

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by lilsassafrass, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. lilsassafrass

    lilsassafrass Well-Known Member

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    Ok .

    so after 30 years of keeping cattle I have had a new one come up for me

    I muck out box stalls every day , this year those consist of 2 stalls for saddle horses , adn the loafing pens for the different age groups of heifers and bull calves.
    I keep teh spreader at the end of the barn out side the overhang , and when I get a barrow load I take it through the large loafing pen of the two year olds and dump it under the overhang , and then fork it into the spreader .. hey it works for me ...

    So today I was stripping out the horse boxes we use straw for bedding ...
    And was going through teh usual routine , and today I had to fight the heifers for the horse urine soaked bedding to pitch it in the spreader .. mind you they had full hay bunkers , and their corn chop in the creep , and certainly wernt particulary hungry ... but I literally had to battle them to get the soiled bedding into the spreader , and when I would fork what I could get into the spreader , they ran around to the other side to reach in and eat it out of the spreader !!!!

    I have never had this happen before , and it was pretty much the horse urine that they were going after the best that I could see...
    I thought first of some kind of mineral deficiancy .. but sheesh they have free choice loose mineral , as well as a selenium block and a magnesium block
    available at all times , and I keep a protein tank in each loafing pen for good measure .... sigh , has any one ever had something similar happen ?

    jeese , I ended up fighting off 10 two year old heifers with a pitchfork everytime I brought in another barrow load of manure !!!! made for a long time getting two box stalls stripped out ...they had no interest in the bedding from the other loafing pens , just the stuff from the horses ....

    Paula
    Hyde Park Farm
     
  2. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There salt in your mineral?
     

  3. lilsassafrass

    lilsassafrass Well-Known Member

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    yes .

    as well as in the mag block , and the selenium block , and the white salt block that is always there ... ( I got a deal on white blocks about 10 years ago .. got a pallet of cracked ones for free ,when my other half was hauling salt to aldi...)
    salt itself is definatley not defiecient ... i am wondering if the horses are putting out an excessive amount of sugar in urine and Actually have to look to teh horses themselves for the problem , both are very aged horses and could be spilling sugar ...
    I dont know it is a puzzlement ....
    I was thinking first though if I am short of some mineral ... in the free choice mix ....
     
  4. Wanda

    Wanda Well-Known Member

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    Try putting out plain loose salt, cattle have to really work to get enough salt from a block! They probably found the urine a quick and easy salt fix :D T he mineral mix may not have enough salt content to satisfy there craving. I have noticed my cattle are using a lot more mineral and salt the last 3 weeks or so, it may be seasonal or just normal cycle it is hard to say.
    Mr Wanda
    Mike
     
  5. evermoor

    evermoor Well-Known Member

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    If I remeber this right it could be a protein defiency. Cows will drink the urine for the urea. Sound unusual to me, watch and see if they keep it up or if it is just a fluke.
     
  6. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    Try adding a protien block and see if that deters them. Ours love the stuff.
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Muck one horses stall in one wheel barrow and see if the heifers want to eat it then muck the other horses stall and see if the heifers are equally interested in the straw. If the heifers only want the straw from one of the stalls the horse has a sugar problem. If the heifers want the straw equally from both stalls then they are not getting enough salt and minerals from the blocks. I feed loose salt and minerals to prevent my cattle from getting too little due to the difficulty in consuming from blocks.
     
  8. lilsassafrass

    lilsassafrass Well-Known Member

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    Well ..

    non of the heifers was intested in the horse bedding yesterday , nor this morning either .. so for a while i will keep my eyes on them to watch , but i think it might really be the horses .. they are both over twenty , and it is a good bet they might be spilling sugar
    I do have loose mineral /w salt available to all the paddocks as well as the blocks , and I keep a protein tank in each paddock/ pen, especially this year as the quality of the corn , and hay was so down due to the wet weather
    we produce our own , and sell to the local feed mill and they have it tested for their benifit and then let me see the results especially the hay
    so for now i will keep watch
    I was basically wondering if there might be a trace mineral that the comercial mixes might have been short on that the heifers were finding in the horse bedding ...
     
  9. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Could be it was just something different and once one started taking some they all had to try it.

    I have notice my cattle going over to soiled hay, where a round bale was fed out, and sometimes preferring it to a fresh bale. I've always figured there was something in it they craved.

    A bull sampling a cows urine to see if she is coming in heat is common.