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What is a good feed for feeder calves? Our county fair is the third week of August.
If you are purchasing a calf, find out what and how much feed was being fed prior to you owning the calf, and mix that feed with your new feed over a three or four day period. Feeder calves are ruminants and require forages as well so hay and/or pasture are essential to maintain a healthy, growing calf. Typically if they are on fresh green grass they won't eat as much feed as they would if they are on grass that is going dormant or grass hay so remember that when you are trying to make them go to creep or to actually eat there feed. In our area we have noticed that during the middle of summer when our native is green and lush that the calves hardly go to creep at all but as the grass becomes less nutritious in the later months of summer they will start going to feed. Water is very critical so make sure to provide fresh water daily and have available at all times.
To answer your question as to what type of feed should the calves get there are many answers. There are many sources of excellent formulated feed rations that can be purchased from feed dealers, coops, and supply stores. Depending on how much money you are willing to spend will determine the different feeds to feed. If your calf is still on the cow a basic creep ration from your coop will suffice. Once weaned you can purchase a developer/grower ration from your local coop that comes in bulk or bag that would be sufficient and not as expensive as a show feed. If you want more bloom and them to get fatter quicker and it be more palatable, a sweeter feed like Showmaster, Showrite, Purina or High Noon are common in our area, just make sure to buy the grower formula. However when you look into a bigger name brand feed there is more expense per bag and your project can become pretty costly. Just remember that they willl bloom up faster on a blended feed rather than a basic coop ration.
When determining how much grain to feed them typically a full feed type situation works best as long as you can monitor how much they are eating and it is not too hot of a ration. If you want to monitor how much they eat then for instance a 300-400 lb calf would need a ration that is 15-20% Crude Protein and to expect 3 to 4 lbs of gain a day they need to be eating 3% of there body weight in feed on a dry matter basis. You can expect more gain when they eat more. I hope this clears up any question you may have.
Hi my name is Ashley. I really want to raise steers
for the fair. but I don't know what the judges are
looking for. Do you know? How much do they eat a
day? What techniques do you haave for showing your
steers? Please E-mail me back it would really
mean a lot
Coming from a young man
that judges several different levels of shows all
across the nation there are several different things
that judges look for and not many judges are exactly
the same. Typically at a county fair they look
for compositionally correct steers that have the
right combination of muscle and fat. Heavier
muscled steers are better than light muscled steers
and in terms of fat they just want enough to make
sure they can grade choice (between .3 and
.6 back-fat is a range i like to see). They also
want cattle that balance up and look nice from the
profile and when you put them in motion they walk
relaxed and there back feet move into the same hole
there front foot left from or close to it. If you
put all those pieces together and add a little hair
and fine tuning then you have a nice steer. They
typically eat anywhere from 15#'s in the beginning
to up to 40#'s a day depending on how much there
appetite can handle and how much gain you want to
get out of them. A good endpoint on a market steer
for me would be from 1240-1340. There is really
only one way to show the steer; A show halter, show
stick and a comb in the back pocket. If
you Google "beef showmanship" there are several
links on the how toos of showing and a couple videos
you can watch to help improve showing your steer.
Thanks Brigham Stewart
How do start a new calf on feed?
The first few weeks when your new calf arrives are
typically the most crucial to giving it a good
start. We always make sure they have fresh water
and a good hay source all the time. Find a good
grower or developer ration whether you are using a
show type feed or a complete feed from the local
coop. It is nice to know how the calf was fed prior
to you receiving them so that you can try to match a
similar feed so that it doesn't have too
much inconsistency with what they were getting fed.
It is always good to play it safe so we recommend
feeding them in small portions in the first day or
so and just keep building up the amount of feed you
give the calf over a 10 day to 2 week period so that
you don't founder, bloat, or hurt the calf in any
way. Feeding smaller portions at first also keeps
them more aggressive to coming to feed and gets them
used to you hand feeding them which will help you in
the long run. Keep a close eye on health on your
new calf and make sure he doesn't overeat.
Can you use ultra saber on show calves or will it
take out the hair?
You can use Ultra Saber fly spray on show cattle but
I would recommend putting it in an area where if it
mildly burns them it won't affect them too much.
Much like any pour-on a side affect is skin
irritation and can slightly burn the hide so we
recommend 24 hours after you pour them to shampoo
and wash the area you poured them because the longer
it stays on the hide the higher chance you will burn
Q: A good friend of ours has
suggested we feed our show steer one time a day
instead of 2. We are 2 months away from the major.
He had no real explanation. Our first show steer; is
this a common practice?
Thank you so much
This is a tough question to answer because there are
several different variables that can go into it.
If you keep the calf on full feed it doesn't matter
whether you feed once or twice a day. One advantage
of feeding once a day is it saves time and you don't
spend as much time because you only have to feed
them once. If you decide to only feed once a day
then we would recommend feeding at night because the
calf will typically eat until its full in the
evening and leave the rest and when the sun starts
to come up they will go back to the bunk that
We prefer to feed twice a day because you can manage
intake a little better, they stay more aggressive at
the bunk, and typically will intake a little more
feed as well, which for us is an advantage because
we are wanting to maximize gain. This is also an
advantage because it teaches your calf to expect
feed twice a day so that when you go to the show
they stay on the same regimen and stay full and on
feed prior to hitting the show ring. A lot of our
steer customers will get a weight on their calf once
a week to figure how much they are gaining. It
helps them to target that calf to their endpoint;
know if the feed they are using is working; and
whether or not they should step them up on feed or
back them down to get them to the right weight in
As a whole we use both methods when feeding our show
cattle and get along with both. However, most of
the time we try to keep them on full feed and feed
them twice a day if possible.