Cattle Feeding: Five Suggestions

When you've bought cattle for the first time, you may be proud of your investment and looking forward to showing or breeding them. Feeding them seems straightforward when you concentrate on a primarily protein-based diet, perhaps from soybeans. However, to keep cows at their best, these feeding suggestions are worth implementing.

Use Mineral Blocks

Protein is not the only thing that cows need, although it is important. Cows, like humans, require many different vitamins and minerals in order to feel good and healthy. Mineral blocks for them to lick can be the best way to ensure they're consuming those essential nutrients. They're typically formulated to be tasty to cows, so just ensure the bars are available regularly.

Rotate Pastures

For exercise and supplementation purposes, you're likely to send your cows "out to pasture" where they can snack on grass or wild growing plants. However, depending on the land and your cattle, sending them out to the same patch of soil can become frustrating to them when the land becomes empty of anything to nibble on. Therefore, you should always be rotating through different areas. While one area is "resting" away from cattle, be certain to be re-seeding and fertilizing the soil.

Take Care With Corn

Corn is sometimes supplemental to the main cattle feed. However, if your cows aren't used to such high-starch foods, this can at times cause an uncomfortable form of acidosis. In rare cases, cows could die. That's why you need to both recognize acidosis symptoms and monitor corn intake. Acidosis signals include loose stools, dull gray stools, or an obviously sickly cow. A veterinarian should be kept on call when your cows begin consuming corn and should monitor their health for some weeks. You may want to start with very low levels of corn and build up to a certain percentage of their diet.

Keep Hay Dry

When it's cold and cows are kept indoors for longer stretches, hay is natural for feeding. However, hay can become moldy and inedible, wasting your money and making your cows hungry. Devise a system where you and field hands keep ventilation a priority to deter mold.

Remember Water

You must monitor cow water intake to prevent exhaustion and dehydration. Keep troughs clean, and avoid temptation to permit stream or pond drinking; bacteria could be consumed, which could cause illness.

You cows should plump up and thrive when you're using feed tips like these. Converse with feed retailers and vets for more specific cow information.