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Feeding and Management of the Cow-Calf Herd

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1 Feeding and Management of the Cow-Calf Herd
Unit 15

2 Kinds of Feed Cow-calf feeding programs are based on the use of roughages Typical roughages used are Pasture Hay Silage Straw Corncobs Other crop residues Roughages provide the cheapest source of energy for the cow and calf.

3 Forages Graze as much as possible.
If weather does not permit year round grazing then forage should be harvested and stored for later use. Downfall: grazing only recovers 15-30% of what is produced.

4 Pasture & Hay Proper management increases the yield.
Soil should be tested and fertilized Use rotational grazing to increase carrying capacity.

5 Crop Residues Helps reduce feed costs
In Northern areas 2 acres of cornstalks will carry a pregnant cow days Heavy snows will reduce the carrying capacity of cornstalk fields.

6 Feeding Requirements

7 Feeding Dry Pregnant Cows
Feed enough to keep them in good flesh from fall to spring calving Cows of normal weight should not loose less than 10% of their body weight Thin cows should be fed enough to gain some weight during winter

8 Overfeeding Should be avoided. Results in Higher cost Trouble calving
Less milk flow Higher calf losses

9 Feeding Young Cows and Heifers
Require more feed because they are still growing The amount of feed received is more important than the kind of feed.

10 Energy Needs Vary according to
Size Condition Age Weather During cold weather increase feed or energy intake by 1% for each degree of cold stress.

11 Last 30-45 Days of Pregnancy
Generally need a 10-15% increase in protien Especially so if hay is being fed Can be achieved with an extra 2 pound/hd of high quality hay or additional protien supplements

12 Minerals Should be fed free choice Mineral mixes should include
Calcium Phosphorus Salt Any trace minerals that are known to be deficient If grass tetany is a problem then magnesium oxide should be included in the mix A good mixture to use is one part trace mineral salt and one part dicalcium phosphate

13 Protien Blocks, lick tubs and cubes are the most convenient ways to feed Care should be taken to prevent overeating Overeating can be partially controlled by feeding plenty of roughage and supplying plenty of fresh water

14 Protein Supplements

15 Vitamin A Only needed when cattle are fed poor quality roughage
If the cow has been on good summer pasture enough Vitamin A will be stored in the body to get the animal through several months

16 Lactation Rations Depends on how much the milk cow produces
Heavier milk producers have higher requirements than average or low milk producers Protein requirements for lactation are % greater than for dry cows Energy 36-38% Calcium and phosphorous % Vitamin A 18-88% High quality pasture can usually meet lactation needs

17 Lactation Rations Salt and minerals should be provided free choice
If the roughage is limited or poor quality some grain should be fed

18 Lactation Rations for 1st Calf Heifers
Require more feed Heifers are still growing and developing They need to regain weight lost from calving & produce milk for their calf Heifers also need to be in good condition for rebreeding.

19 Creep Feeding

20 Creep Feeding Calves A way of providing calves with extra feed
May be grain, commercial creep feed mix, or roughage Fed in a feeder that cows can not get into

21 Advantages of Creep Feeding
Produces heavier calves at weaning (30-70 lbs) Produces higher grade and more finish at weaning Calves go on feedlot rations better at weaning Creates less feedlot stress Allows cows and calves to stay on poorer quality pasture for a longer time

22 Good Reasons to Creep Feed
Calves are to be sold at weaning Calves are to be fed out on high-energy rations Cows are milking poorly Calves are from 1st calf heifers Calves were born late in the season Calves have above average inherited growth potential Calves were born in the fall Calves are to be weaned early (45-90 days) Calf-feed price ratio is favorable Pastures become dry in late summer Cows and calves are kept in confinement

23 Disadvantages of Creep Feeding
Calves are well fed after weaning, the weight advantage from creep feeding is lost When production testing, it is harder to detect differences in inherited gaining ability Replacement heifers become to fat Non-creep-fed calves usually make faster and more economical gains after weaning compared to calves that were creep fed before weaning

24 Reasons Not To Feed Creep
Calves are to be fed through the winter on roughage Cows are above average milk producers The calf-feed ratio is poor Calves are on good pasture Heifers are to be kept for replacements The milk production of the dam is to be measured

25 Growing Rations

26 Growing Replacement Heifers
British breeds should gain pound/day from weaning to breeding Larger breeds should gain pound/day Heifers should reach puberty at months Generally heifers reach puberty when they have attained 65% of their mature weight English breeds lbs Larger breeds lbs Heifers need to be bred according to weight and not age!

27 Feed For Growing Replacement Heifers
Must be palatable In areas of cold weather nutrient needs increase 1% for each degree of temperature below freezing Feed must be increased as heifers grow Vitamins and minerals should be fed free choice

28 Feeding Bulls

29 Growing Young Bulls Wean at 6-8 months of age
Feed high energy rations for about 5 months Avoid fattening Allow full feed until spring then put on pasture to complete growth. Bulls will continue to grow slowly until about 4 years of age

30 Feeds Hay Grain Minerals free choice
Amount depends on type and quality Minerals free choice Feed Vitamin A if ration is mostly corn silage or limited hay May be self fed or hand fed When self feeding use plenty of roughage to keep bulls from getting to fat or going off their feed.

31 Rate of Growth & Needs Yearling bulls should be fed to gain lbs/day 2-4 yr old bulls need more energy and protein in the winter than cows and should be fed accordingly Mature bulls in good condition may be fed the same as the cow herd

32 After the Breeding Season
Loose weight Must be fed to regain that weight Give additional feed 6-8 weeks before the start of the next breeding season Bulls that are too fat or too thin have poor fertility They should be in medium flesh and have plenty of exercise

33 After the Breeding Season
Keep bulls separate from cows If no place to keep bulls it is safe to run them with steers

34 Before the Breeding Season
If necessary trim hoofs several weeks before breeding season begins Test semen for fertility and disease

35 Management of the Herd During Breeding Season

36 Goal 100% calf crop Observe the herd closely
Check for injured or diseased cows or bulls Watch to ensure bulls are servicing cows

37 Number of Bulls to Run Young bulls can easily service 20-25 cows
Mature bulls Estrus-synchronized cows-25 Non synchronized cows Range conditions 4 bulls per 100 cows I have 300 cows. How many bulls do I need? If a high number of cows remain inbred then the bull should be replaced.

38 Breeding No more than 60 days to maintain a short calving season (40-60 days) Begin breeding days after half the calves are born This allows for a 2nd and even third heat cycle for cows that do not settle the first time. Breed yearling heifers 20 days before older cows

39 Conception Rates Higher for cows that are gaining weight before and during the breeding season Cows that are too fat or too thin are poor breeders Pregnancy check days after breeding Sell any open cows Conception Rates can be lowered by Hot weather Injuries

40 Artificial Insemination (AI)
Placing the sperm in the female reproductive tract by other than natural means Breeder uses an inseminating tube to deposit sperm into the cervix and uterus of the cow

41 Disadvantages of AIing
Need a trained inseminator Requires more time and supervision of the herd Sterile equipment Special handling facilities

42 Breeding Heifers

43 Size Most important when breeding yearling heifers
Should weigh pounds Weight should be from growth, not fattening

44 Age Goal is to breed the heifer so she calves at 2 years of age
When achieved the result is 1 more calf produced during a cow’s lifetime

45 2 year old Calving Lowers production cost
Keeps a higher percent of cows in the herd in production Fewer replacement heifers are needed each year to maintain a stable herd size

46 Conception Rates for Heifers
Lower for yearling heifers than older cows Longer calving season Possibly need more help in calving

47 Breeding Heifers Breed to calve 20-30 days before older cows
Require more feed and should be kept separate from older cows Breed for days Pregnancy check days later Sell any heifers that are not pregnant

48 Calving

49 After the Calf is Born Make sure it breathes
May be necessary to clean the mucus from the mouth and nose Calf should nurse shortly after birth The cows first milk, called colostrums, is very important as it contains nutrients, such as Vitamins A & E, and antibodies the calf needs Cow should expel the afterbirth within hours after giving birth Keep cows with calves separate from cows that haven’t calved Identify the calf with an ear tag or tattoo Record the calf’s birth weight, calving problems and birth date for performance records

50 Castration and Dehorning

51 Castration Can be done at birth Several methods Knife
Burdizzo (fig. 15-6) Elastor bands

52 Knife Castration Most widely used
Should only be done during a time of year when flies are not a problem Calves should not be more than 3-4 months old Results in an open wound This increase the danger of infection and bleeding Wound should be treated with iodine Calves should be check several days after castration to check for swelling, continued bleeding and stiffness

53 Burdizzo Castration Bloodless Crushes the cords of the testicles
However if the pincers are not applied correctly the cord may not be crushed completely resulting in a staggy steer later on No open wound Good choice in areas where screw worms are a problem

54 Elastrator Band Castration
Special instrument that places a tight rubber band around the scrotum above the testicles Cuts of the blood supply to the testicle This causes the testicle to waste away due to lack of blood No open wound

55 Dehorning Several reason for dehorning
Horned calves bring less Dehorned calves require less space at the feed bunk and on trucks Less risk of injury with dehorned calves Calves should be dehorned at a young age If possible do not dehorn during fly season

56 Methods of Dehorning Chemical Spoons Gouges Tubes Hot irons
Liquids Caustic sticks Paste Spoons Gouges Tubes Hot irons Barnes-Type Clippers Saws

57 Branding and Marking (X)

58 Branding and Marking Common in larger herds
Required by law in some western states W. SD requires, E. SD does not. Brands recorded by county and state Governments SD State Brand Board-located in Pierre

59 Common Branding Methods
Hot Irons Cold Irons Freeze Branding Hot Freeze

60 Hot Iron Brand Oldest Most commonly used

61 Branding in SD, 1888

62 Freeze Branding Becoming more common
Uses liquid nitrogen, brass irons and rubbing alcohol Not a legal method of cattle branding in SD

63 Branding OR Calves can be thrown to the ground
Calves can be branded in a chute using a “table” OR

64 Ear Cutting Almost as common as branding Recorded in brand records
Protected by law One or both ears may be cut Cutting is done so that it may be seen from the front or behind


66 Ear Tattooing Well adapted as a method of marking purebred cattle
More permanent than ear cutting Special instrument is used Mark is made with indelible ink No open wound is left

67 Ear Tags Widely used Identification number is on the tag

68 Ear Tagging and Tattooing

69 Neck Chains Used when herd owners do not want to use permanent identification Usually used by purebred breeders Not a good choice for cows on brushy range

70 Brisket Tags Tag is placed in the brisket Hard to Read
Often ripped out because they catch on things

71 Selling, Growing and Finishing

72 Selling feeder calves Calves are born in the spring
Weigh about pounds Heifer calves will weigh about 5% less than steers Calves are sold in the fall as feeder calves

73 Selling Yearling Feeders
Calves weigh pounds Use mostly roughage as feed If calves are born in fall they are weaned in spring and fed on pasture for the summer then sold as yearling feeders in the fall

74 Growing and Finishing Grow calve on roughage
Finish for 4-6 months in the feedlot Corn silage or grain and roughage are used for the wintering ration When the animals are on pasture no or little grain is fed Animals then go to the feedlot and grain feeding begins.

75 Preconditioning The process of preparing calves for the stress of being moved to the feedlot Most procedures involved in preconditioning are accepted as good management practices Accomplished before the calves leave the farm or ranch

76 Practices Castration, dehorning, identification by tattooing or branding Maintaining health records Vaccinations Weaning 4-6 weeks before sale Training to eat solid feed from a bunk and to drink water from a water tank Worming and treatment for lice, grubs and mange (if necessary)

77 Preconditioning adds costs to production but is well worth it!

78 Backgrounding Growing and feeding calves from weaning until they are ready to enter the feedlot Done primarily with roughage ration Calves are fed days Expected daily gains of pounds Calves must be kept from getting too fat, as overly fat calves bring less when going to the feedlot for finishing.

79 Summary Feeding programs are based on roughages
Summer pasture and fall/winter silage and hay is common The types of pasture, silage and hay is going to be dependant on where you are in the U.S. Dry, pregnant cows and bulls are fed to prevent them from becoming too fat or too thin Younger cows and heifers and young bulls that will be kept for breeding require more feed So do cows nursing calves All should be fed salt and minerals free choice Creep feeding may or may not be profitable

80 Summary Performance records should be used to replace herd cows
Replacement heifers should be bred based on weight not age Use fertility testing at the beginning of the breeding season to achieve a 100% calf crop 4 bulls to 100 cows Preconditioning of calves should occur when they are young Backgrounding calves is growing calves on roughages from weaning until they are ready for the feedlot

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