Cows....What are they telling me?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by BJ, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    We feed our cows a small amount of sweet grain every afternoon...just to keep them coming to the corral so we can check them and their calves every day. Last week we bought several bags of our usual Double Grain Sweet Feed by Cargill. On a normal day they would nearly trample me and each other getting to their grain. On Friday I started feeding from the new bags of grain...they smelled it and then start changing places around the feeder. I've never seen anything like it! :eek: They turned around and mooed at me and really didn't want to eat it. Eventually they did start picking at it and did clean it up. Makes me think something is wrong with the grain although to my nose and eyes it appears ok. I haven't fed any more since the first time last Friday. Should I return this grain to the feed store for exchange? Has anyone else ever had an experience like this? I have 4 nursing cows and don't want to run the risk of the calves getting sick. What do you think? :confused:
     
  2. myersfarm

    myersfarm Dariy Calf Raiser

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    sounds like they didn't like it.....i would just call the dealer ask if anyone else has complained about the feed tell him the store see what he says if you buy alot feed the same kind of feed and then the cows just jump around...dealer should tell you to bring it back......i had that one time dealer told me to feed the rest of it and he also would replace it......i knew a friend of his so i gave him some my feed and his cows did the same thing...i knew it would get back to the dealer i was not trying to pull one......
     

  3. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    They didn't like it and wanted the food they usually eat. Try mixing the new feed with some of the old feed for a while before switching rations next time. Their digestion needs to adjust to new diets too if there is more or different grains in the new ration. Sometimes they can bloat if they make too big a switch all at once.
     
  4. SmokedCow

    SmokedCow Well-Known Member

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    WE have found that our cows wont lick stray salt, they will only lick the block. I notice it when we switch feeds too that they are so use to the other that they dont want this.
    AJ
     
  5. unioncreek

    unioncreek Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I missread the post originally. I would take the feed back also. It's hard to tell why they will not eat it. My cows will eat anything I put in front of them.

    The didn't like it because it was a change in their regular feed ration. They will start eating it when they find out they will not be getting the old stuff.


    BobG
     
  6. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    It sounds like it was their usual ration, not a new kind of feed!

    I'd guess that it's moldy or otherwise tainted in some way that isn't visible. Definitely try to take it back or exchange it if the dealer will let you.
     
  7. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Confused,

    There are two types of feed formulations: Fixed formula and non fixed. In fixed formula, the ingredients are always the same. The ingredients will be listed on the tag, such as wheat, barley, corn, etc.

    I non fixed formula, the ingredients can change according to what's cheapest at the time. The tag will show the amount of protein and other nutrients, but may not list specific ingredients.

    It sounds like you got a new formulation of the feed, with some of the ingredients substituted.

    If your cows don't adapt to the changes, try finding a fixed formula feed that they like and stay with it. Be prepared to pay a little more.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  8. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    Oh, very observant willow girl. My bad. (I should sleep instead of read when I'm tired)

    Now that I realize what you actually said, yeah, something maybe amiss with that feed. Find out if anybody else that got that feed had the same observances. It may be tainted, cattle don't like moldy foodstuffs, and they can get sick from it too. Or, it could be something else that got in the feed as well. We've never fed our cattle sweet feed. We just use range cubes for growing out steers. I do know that the feed manufacturer says that the feed will have in it the nutrients listed on the label and that none of those nutrients come from animal byproducts. Howeverm the protein may come from any number of grains. They change the composition of the ration according the whatever grain they can purchase with the least expense. Now it may be corn, some other time it may be cotton seed hulls, or soybean. As long as the nutrients on the label are the same, and there are no animal byproducts, they can do that, and it holds down the cost of the feed for us as well. The local feed store does that with my chicken scratch too. It may have a lot of cornin it one time, and the next time it will be mostly wheat. Do they do that with sweet feeds?
     
  9. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Ok Genebo..could be this is the problem. I have the tag in front of me and it just shows generic ingredients "grain products, plant protein products, processed grain by-products, roughage products and a big list of nutrients. So I gather this is a non-fixed formula feed blend using varying amounts of grain based on what is surplus at the time. Therefore, even though we buy the same Double Grain Sweet Feed....it's going to be a different blend of products every time. I'm just surprised that with molassas on the mixture the cows would care. We did notice the oats had a greenish tint..but truthfully we've never paid too much attention until this time and that was due to the fact the cows turned their noses up at it.

    DH was to return 4 bags of the grain to the dealer today...so we'll see what they have to say. But..from now on we'd better look for a fixed formula of feed. We just want something tasty to use a "bait" to get them to come to the corral where we can run them through the squeeze chute and alley if we need to. Maybe we should feed something else....someone recommeded creep feed. What do you folks use to entice your cows to come when you call?
     
  10. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    .......What do you folks use to entice your cows to come when you call?

    The two most powerful attractants I use are corn gluten pellets and alfalfa cubes. My cows will run to get either one. The corn gluten pellets are cheaper by far and the cattle like them the best.

    Genebo
    Paradise Farm
     
  11. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    DH returned the feed to the dealer this afternoon....dealer exchanged it for new bags of feed with no comment as to whether others had returned theirs. DH took the fresh feed directly to the cows and they ate it like it was candy....with no hesitation. Animals...they are amazing aren't they? :rolleyes: They definately know when food is bad....and just refuse to eat it! DH said that he did notice that the other bags were dirty so perhaps in transport or storage they got wet and the feed soured. Anyway...now we know that if the cows won't eat the feed....they ARE telling you something! ;)

    Thanks to everyone for their help!
     
  12. shorty'smom

    shorty'smom Well-Known Member

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    we just give them 14%creep feed. We begin by sitting in the truck and blowing the horn while they eat now and again. After a week or so they get to know that the horn means food. We go out to the pasture and honk and they follow. After a whle the sight of the truck means food to them, and with the horn, it's irresistalbe, unless they are not hungry. If they aren't hungry, we don't need them to come in unless we need to doctor them. We don't milk any cattle. If we need to get them in and they don't come for food we become cowboys and herd them.
     
  13. JeffNY

    JeffNY Seeking Type

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    If you change feed, they will react differently to it. We began feeding grain from a different source. Initially they looked at it, smelled it, tasted it then looked at us. After a day or two, they ate it and now devour it. I doubt the grain is bad, it likely is different than the other stuff.


    Jeff
     
  14. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

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    I raise Highlands, so I don't feed any grain, but they do like a treat now and then. Western Washington soil is deficient in Selenium so we like to give them treats that contain it as well as their mineral block. Bread is a great treat, cheap and readily available. For regular treats they get kitchen scraps, they especially love banana skins and orange peels. Onion skins too, but only a few at a time as they are a bit gassy. Old potatoes are a favorite but the ones they really love are pumpkins and winter squash. We raise some just for them. Of course, all the weeds and gleanings from the vegie garden during the growing season. Just try to get rid of them when you're working in the garden!