03-09-2021 - Sarah Metcalfe BVetMed(Hons) MRCVS - 0 comments
Feeding cows

Feeding cows - September newsletter - click left to view the full newsletter

Feeding cattle indoors is a fine art and it is often discussed that there 3 possible diets a cow might be eating:

  • The diet on paper- this is the diet formulated by the farmer or nutritionist which should contain the optimal ingredients for the cow/ system.
  • The diet mixed- this is the diet mixed by whoever is doing the feeding; hopefully it resembles that on the ration sheet!
  • The diet fed/ accessible to the cow- this is what we will focus on in this month's newsletter. However well put together a diet is, there are various factors which can affect a cow's dry matter intake.

Often, problems with poor feed intake are as simple as looking at the feed face.

Three of the most common issues found when feeding cows are:

  • Insufficient feed space
  • Rough surfaces for feeding
  • Fresh food being placed onto of stale/ rotten food

The easiest way to assess suitability of a feed face is to watch cattle feeding.

Are smaller animals being pushed out of the way or hanging back rather than coming up to eat? The best time to assess this is straight after milking, or when fresh food has been placed out as this is when there demand on space. Check the animals' necks for signs of rub marks/ sores which may indicate the neck rail is too low, or animals are reaching forward to feed, perhaps because the feed isn't being pushed up often enough.

You can read the full newsletter here by clicking this link

 

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