For those of you that feed grain, how much in late pregnancy?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Maxpowers, Oct 9, 2017.

  1. Maxpowers

    Maxpowers Well-Known Member

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    Not trying to start a grain vs anti-grain debate. Wondering for those that do feed grain how much you give in late pregnancy? Any sort of formula that you follow? Percentage of body weight or anything like that?
     
  2. CIW

    CIW Well-Known Member

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    Brood cows and grain don't work well together. It is usually better to feed a good quality grass hay. As much as they will clean up. Generally brood cows should be slender, on the gain, just before calving. After calving she'll need a feed increase because she has a calf at her side.
    There isn't much of a set formula for how much gets fed. If the thermometer is getting down there they may need a few more forks of hay. If a storm is coming, feed heavy. You can begin with 3% of their body weight daily. My experience is that I'm closer to 5 or 6% as the pregnancy progresses.
    For me, I would have them waste a little hay than have them humped up the next morning when I come to feed.
     

  3. genebo

    genebo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Think about the calf that is growing inside her. The more you feed her in late pregnancy, the more the calf can grow. Then, at calving, you may be faced with a calf that is too large and causes a difficult birth.

    I agree that hay is the best late term feed.
     
  4. hiddensprings

    hiddensprings Well-Known Member

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    We rarely fed grain to our girls at all. With good pasture and good hay, there wasn't a need. I would take a bucket with 3-4 scoops of grain out when I needed to get the girls into the working area. they'd come a running when they heard the jiggle of grain, but with 20-25 of them, each barely got a taste. All were healthy, in good condition, and we didn't have any birthing issues.
     
  5. MO_cows

    MO_cows I calls em like I sees em

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    What is the cows body condition score? If it's adequate, but you want to make friends with her, just give a quart of an 'all stock' type sweet feed. The calf grows rapidly near the end of pregnancy, don't want to over do it. She needs to be in good enough condition to be strong for the delivery and to make milk, but not fat.
     
  6. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It isn't the grain that causes the concerns, it is the fat that results from too much calories. Top quality alfalfa hay will over fatten some cows. A milk cow, with high milk production will need a lot of protein to produce a calf, maintain body score and keep producing milk. It would be difficult to do that without grain, for many dairy cows.
     
  7. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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    If your animal is a young first time freshener she may need a bit more than an older cow that is done growing herself.
    A little more protein will allow her to more efficiently digest a higher fiber diet and produce top quality colostrum. Some good alfalfa will help with that.
    Extra weight and possible complications would be more attributable to an overly abundant, carb heavy diet. Some corn and small grains isn't a bad thing but too much can be.
     
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  8. haypoint

    haypoint Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Many backyard farms are stuck feeding lower quality grass and weed hay. Pure alfalfa hay, harvested at its prime and perfectly cured, baled and stored is just too costly or not available. Balancing daily rations with a protein rich carbohydrate, grain, is an important part of proper nutrition for a bred cow.
    Ideally, you get every bale tested for digestible nutrition and have access to a nutritionalist that can guide your cow's ever changing diet. Realistically, you feed good looking/smelling hay and keep a supply of minerals available and add grain when the cow's body score begins to slip.