It’s such a challenge to take care of your cattle during winter. You need to prepare fully for your cattle to go through the season. Feeding the cattle is one of the challenge you should overcome during winter season. Because if you overfeed the cattle, not only you will spend a lot of money but it wastes the feeds too. It would be such a great loss. But if you underfeed the cattle, it will affect cattle’s health condition which will affect their performance into a poor condition and productivity.
How To Increase Appetite In Cattle would be a great info to get profound knowledge in managing your cattle farm.
During winter season, it will be hard for the cow to gain weight. While it’s easier for them in the warmer temperature. When it is the early winter, your cattle’s body condition will affect its feeding management during winter period. It will effect on the amount and quality of feed it will need throughout the season. However, if your cows are thin, you should give them very high quality feed for them to gain weight so they can endure the season with fit condition. If you can’t provide them with good quality feed the other way for you is to add on supplemental grain or pellets.
Cold weather usually affects the appetite of your cattle. They will consume more quantity of feed to warm their body. If you can’t provide them with enough feed or you feed them with poor quality feed, they will likely to consume more than what they can digest. This behavior will impact their health condition overall. In fact, you should increase the energy component into their feed. Add more grain or pellets into their diet.
For beginners, Things you Should Know Before Starting a Cattle Farm would be a good recommendation to start reading.
We will talk about 7 guides to feed your cattle during winter time
1. Dividing the cattle into different feed groups
- Group 1 for adult cows of good condition
This is the easiest group to handle. You can feed them with average quality feed along with the grains or pellets, vitamins, fortified salt and minerals. This kind of feed has already meet the need of nutrition for this group.
- Group 2 for young adult and pregnant cows
This group, we can call it like teenager group in human’s term. They need a lot of feed and more nutritious feed for their growth and development. This group of cattle need good quality hay and extra grain to gain body weight and to develop the fetus for the pregnant cows.
- Group 3 of thin and old cows
You will need to give extra care for this group. They need more energy to survive during winter. Some older cows may need extra health care besides a lot of nutritional feed for them.
2. Salt and Mineral
Winter Feeding Management for cows always need additional salt and minerals. Cows’ daily requirement for mineral will increase after calving and during their milking period. And if they the cows milking heavily they will need more additional calcium and phosphorus. The minerals you feed should be mixed with grain or concentrate. There is another option which is to feed fortified pellets which contains vitamins, salt, trace minerals and minerals.
Cows don’t care what they eat. That’s why it’s better to mix the feed supplement or mineral into grains or pellets. Make sure that each cow gets their share of vitamins.
There are things to remember about water.
- An adult cow would drink 10 to 15 gallons of water every day during winter
- You should have the water to be analyzed to check if there are dissolved minerals contained
- If there is sulfate in the water, it can cause copper deficiency as it can impair the absorption
- Be careful on nitrates as it will cause problems in production
- If there is a high level of Total Dissolved Solids in the water, it might effect on the weight loss on your cows.
- Be alert on other contaminants in the water
Vitamins will be in the grains, but the content is very little. It’s different with forages and silages, where there are a lot of highly variable levels of vitamins in it. Vitamin will be decreased as storage times increase. Therefore, it’s better to feed the cows with the feed of the shortest times of storage. Don’t keep the feed for too long.
Vitamin A is kept in the liver and fatty tissue and will be used when it’s needed. Vitamin A can be fed or injected in certain time.
Magnesium is one of nutrient needed for the cows. Too bad it can’t be stored in the body. Hence you will have to feed the cows in the form of supplement. Here are some ways how you can feed magnesium to your cattle:
- Pellets and grains with magnesium oxide
- Hay fed with magnesium oxide contains. Usually, this is the one chosen to give to the cattle.
- Magnesium capsules
- Magnesium lick blocks
- A mix with ratio of 1:1:1 of magnesium oxide, lime and salt
- Ethanol syrup treated with magnesium oxide.
6. Feed intake before and after calving
Before calving, you should decrease the amount of roughage feed and increase the amount of grain or pellet. As the fetus develops, rumen capacity decreases especially during last half of third semester. The fetus takes more space in the belly which impacts space for bulky feeds. Pellets or grains take only small room and more nutritious than roughage.
During milking (lactating), cattle will need more energy and nutrients, proteins and minerals. During feeding time, make sure that there is enough room for all cows to get their shares. Aggressive cows will take more share than less aggressive ones and you should consider this possibility so they will get enough feed. It’s better to eliminate straw feeding after calving. As straws don’t give enough energy and protein needed during lactation period.
During winter it is advised to move cows’ location into the house where they will be protected from the wind and snow. The proper housing will reduce the risk of cold stress for the cows. The colder the temperature, the more energy needed for them to survive.
Protection is provided with the construction of wind fences or shelter-belts plants. These wind protections will slow the wind and trap the snow among the trees. Do not let your cows graze on the shelter- belts as it can kill the trees. Hence your cows won’t be protected from the cold.
You may also construct temporary wind fences which is made of bale piles stacked up, or cars park around the cows’ house. However, if your area has storm a lot, consider to construct the permanent protection.
Other than managing your cattle farm, do you have pets in the house? Or you are considering to have pets? Have a look at Methods to Raise and Tame your Siberian Husky’s Puppy and Interesting Facts of the Hamsters and you may be able to decide if you like to adopt them.