switching to pasture fed

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by steff bugielski, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    I will be transporting my calf, 4 months old to a friends pasture this weekend. Can he go to just pasture or does he need to be slowly taken off grain. He now gets about8lbs of grain a day all the hay , water, and pasture he wants. His weight I estimate at 425 lbs. he is for meat this winter. Any advice greatly appriciated.
    Steff
     
  2. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    He sounds like a whopper for four months. If you want to butcher him this winter, I would continue with the grain until slaughter. You could cut out the hay if he is used to getting some grass already. Grass will make them unsafe to stand behind at first, but I haven't seen it cause a problem otherwise. By continuing the grain, he will be a much more beefy heavier calf.
     

  3. Mountain Mom

    Mountain Mom Active Member

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    What breed is he? Our 4 mo.old British White is barely 200#! Maybe we should switch beef breeds!!! Of course, we're not feeding him 8# of grain a day -mostly pasture and free-choice hay, his grain intake is mainly limited to a treat for leading to and from the barn.
     
  4. Razorback21

    Razorback21 Well-Known Member

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    Steff,
    Our bucket calves go from a corral up by the barn with grain and hay straight out to pasture in the Spring with just a little corn to keep them tame every night. It is a fun time for me to watch our new crop go out and instinctively know what to do with that grass! I hope your pasture is good. Sometimes turning them out will set them back a little bit if the forage is not very palatable. If you have gotten rain like we have, that probably will not be a problem. What breed of cattle do you have? My herefords aren't getting the weight gain like you do!

    Razorback21
     
  5. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    He is a holstien . When I got him the farmer was very disappionted that he was not a she. He said he was perfect in every way and that he would probably be very large for his age. I am not weighing him but using the tape measure conversion here http://farmca.com/weight.html
    Steff
     
  6. NRS Farm

    NRS Farm Well-Known Member

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    The important question here is probably how much hay and pasture he eats now. From your post it sounds like he is eating a fairly large amount (all he wants). The point I wanted to make (especially to newbies) is that the "bugs" in his stomach(s) are not the same for grain as the are for roughage. This is one of the reasons you slowly (like over a week or more) switch from all grass to all grain or a similar diet change. In your case it does not sound like this is a problem...but I would still slowly drop his grain levels (if no grain is what you wish to do) to minimize any effects the diet change might have. Normally, I go from all pasture to a grain/hay ration rather than the other way.
     
  7. Steve,
    The chart that you're using for weight measurements is for beef cattle. Your calf is a dairy and I believe that will make a sizable difference (correct me here someone if I'm wrong). Our older steer is a Holstein also, same situation as you, big dairy farmer not interested in the males. Anyway, I compared my records using the chart you were using and found a huge difference. For instance: at 7 mo, by my calculations he weighed about 581 lbs., the chart you using shows him as 1260 lbs, not possible for Norman! This is the formula I've been using (with a regular tape measure)....

    Heart girth X Heart Girth X Body Length divided by 300 = weight in pounds. Body Length is measured from the point of the shoulder to the point of the rump(pinbone). And heart girth you already know.

    I don't know if this approach is better, but the results seem more reasonable for our calf. Let me know what you get.
     
  8. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My main concern would be bloat. Going from dry feed to lush pasture can cause a problem, especially if it contains alfalfa or clover. Watch for a distended abdomen, it can come on very quickly, and will kill the if untreated. Ordinary grass probably won't be a problem.
     
  9. steff bugielski

    steff bugielski Well-Known Member

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    we will go slowly with the switch.
    when i used your method of measuring he comes out to be 442lbs.
    I guess he is just a big boy
    steff
     
  10. phantompark

    phantompark Well-Known Member

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    That poor calf. You are making fat not meat. That can't be good for his health, so much grain and weight gain. Yes, Yes, Yes, get him on pasture, but very very slowly. You should really look into the benefits of going all grass. Better meat. Better health
     
  11. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hey, phantom, why not hang out at an animal rights site where you will look like a right winger?
     
  12. phantompark

    phantompark Well-Known Member

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    tinkna: Don't confuse the whole converstion of how to put a calf on pasture with your own retoric. Nothing in the whole post (except for yours) brings up animal rights. I said fat was being put on the calf not meat. Fat is good if you need it. Grain is Expensive and puts on fat. Grass is cheap and puts on meat. Go hang out with your own wingers and leave the rest of us alone.
     
  13. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    PP, you were the one who started the critisism, I didnt trash their feed program, only offered some advise. You on the otherhand gave only high handed condemnation. Go crawl back in your hole.