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creep feed

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ross

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Who here uses creep feed? Do you notice bigger calves, mommas not as drawn down? How old are the calves before you put out creep?
 

Faster horses

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Never used it. Our theory is "take care of the cow and she will take care of her calf." So if we creep anything, we give the cows a soybean supplement called Forage Pro. It increases body condition and helps the cow keep milking, which does a lot for the calf. We supplement that during drought and start in mid-August or September. This year we haven't fed anything.

OK, that said, we know someone who does creep feed. He says it takes awhile to get them on it. He says you need to buy a good quality creep feed. Some of the cheap stuff doesn't work very well. He says you need to watch for bloat. He says it works for him in drought conditions. He fed it last year and his April calves weighed 650 the middle of October. So I would say it did work for him, although he did have some bloating problems. Some of the creep feed around here has a corn-cob base and it doesn't amount to much.

I'm sure someone will know a lot more than me on this subject.
 

Red Barn Angus

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My experience with creep feed was not positive. Yes, the calves grew bigger and weighed more but they sold for less because they got kind of pudgy. Buyers want calves that are thinner and will gain better for them. By the time you took less per pound for the calves and paid for the creep feed it was a losing proposition even if they did weigh more.
 

Faster horses

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One thing I DO know about creep feed that I forgot to mention is that if you creep feed heifers during August and September, their bag is apt to fill up with fat and those heifers will never milk to their potential.

That is documented information, not just an idea I have.
 

Liberty Belle

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We used creep feed on our calves for the first, and last, time this year. The calves are big and beautiful, but there are at least six dead ones - the biggest and best of the bunch. It sure doesn't pencil out.
 

the_jersey_lilly_2000

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When we start feedin the daughters heifers , there's some stuff we call anti bloat mineral, I'm not sure what the brand of it is, I only hafta buy one bag of it a year, add 1/4 cup into each heifers ration and it keeps em from bloating. After that one bag is gone they are on full feed and no need to keep adding it. I've told the feedstore to get it in for me since we will start feeding them in the next few days. I'll see if I can get more info on it. well worth the 16.00 for that bag to prevent bloat.
 

Faster horses

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LB, what do you think happened to them? What was in your creep feed?

Some folks try to use straight oats and the calves get entertoxemia (overeating disease) from straight oats. And that happens to the biggest and the best calves because they have the biggest appetites.

In the feedlots, I understand cattle get 7-way once each month to protect against overeating. There are two vaccines that work really well, Vision 7 and Alpha 7. The rest are kind of chanchy. That is not someplace to skimp on vaccine costs.

Gosh, I hope you have no more trouble! Sure is fustrating when you try to do something good and it turns sour. :mad:
 

Liberty Belle

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FH - We think it is probably overeating, but we don't know for sure because we haven't had any of them posted. We've just decided that for the extra money the creep costs, the extra pounds doesn't pencil out when you start losing them. They are worth too much money to take the chance.
 

Faster horses

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Jersey Lily, I'm thinking the ingredient in that mineral is Proxolene. But it needs to be fed for several days. In the instance of grazing alfalfa, it should be fed every day for quite awhile. That is probably what you are doing with one bag of mineral to 3 head. If they need 8 oz./day, which is what is recommended with our mineral, 50# would last 3 head 30 days or a little longer and that should be plenty of time.

If you put cattle on feed slowly, they shouldn't bloat. Cattle need to have feed changed slowly, whether building them up on feed or taking them down. It is when changes are made rapidly that there are problems. Remember, it is all about keeping the rumen healthy.

We would all do well to remember: "we aren't in the cattle feeding business, we are in the RUMEN feeding business."
 

George

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My experence is this year I am creep feeding - - - my cows will do better and a good feed mixed just for this purpose cost about $0.09 per pound and you should get about 1 pound of gain for each 3 to 4 pounds of feed - - thus with calves bringing well over $1.00 a pound it will pay - - - I do not use a "home blend" of feed in an effort to avoid many of the problems you have described.
 

sw

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I have been creep feeding for years. The benefits are there. Documented data, creep fed calves will finish with a higher marbling score, once a fat cell is created it stays, only changes in size. Yes you can have heifers deposit fat in their mammaries which can influence milk production later in life, if they are that fat they sure do not need to have creep feed in front of them. FH, I have a different view, I think of the cow as the calf factory, the calf is way more efficient converting feed to meat than the cow, I choose to feed the calf, the cow is more of a companion after a couple of months, in my feeding trials at MSU, the correlation of milk production to weaning weight is very weak, the calves eat more than people believe and rumen cannulated calves proved this. Weaning weight was more correlated to sires and the amount of forage consumed by the calf than milk production of the dam. The calves that learned to eat forage and therefore ate forage earlier were the heaviest at weaning.These calves tended to come from cows who did not milk that well.
Since we fall calve, the creep feeders are filled at about 2 months of age, the calves are eating right away. They learn how to eat and what to eat, then the cows can get by on less feed and not lose condition. We wean early, average age 170 days, the calves know how to eat, therefore wean easy, the cows don't. To get past the bloat problems with creep feeding, we add Poloxalene to the feed at the feed mill, for a cost of about $10 per ton. We do not use rumensin in the creep feed because it is bitter and tends to keep the calves from eating. If they are eating too much of the creep feed, shut the gates on the creep feeder down so it is harder to get the pellets out into the tray. I would never creep feed whole grains, there is an effect where grains decrease the breakdown of fiber in the forage which in effect gives you a substitution, not a supplementation. Wheat mids make a good ingredient in creep feeds as they are a highly digestible fiber, not a starch.
We also give Alpha 7 at birth, have not had a case of overeating for about 10 years doing this. Our calves get another at weaning, and one when they get to the feedlot, one half way through and that is it. Our calves come off the truck at the feedlot looking for the feed bunk and our death loss is usually 0.
 

feeder

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Interesting info,sw. Are your calves fleshy when you put them in the feedlot?
 

sw

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feeder,
no they aren't, we run them on grass through the summer, they go into the feedlot at about a year of age (September 1), they are coming off of range with no supplement so they are green. Last year they gained 4.5 lbs per day for the first 3 months in lot, then slowed down and ended with 3.75 for the whole time. This year they are almost 50 lbs heavier than last year so the first gain will probably not be as good.
 

Northern Rancher

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When I used to fall calve I crept fed too-when it got -40 here those little guys needed a bit more than momma had to give. When doing the economics of creep feeding you have to charge thge cost of the feed against the extra gain not the total gain-for instance if your cakves will do 2 lbs/day without creep feeding and 2 1/2 with it-you charge the extra costs against the half pound a day.
 

Jason

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Others have made some good points. Just my 2 cents here.

Oats used to be good as a whole feed, back in the days they weighed 30 pounds per bushel. They had enough trash to be a good mixed roughage option. Newer oats are just about like barley in feed value and weight.

Calves are indeed more efficient at making beef than feeding the cows extra to milk it into the calves. However creep feeding needs to be consistant and planned. If you have big open pastures like many in Mt and SD Wy etc. forget it. Early weaning of calves can be a better option, especially those that background their calves before selling or run yearlings etc.

The fat in the udder is way over rated. A heifer has to be so grossly overfed to reduce her milking it never happens in the real world. But I agree it is a documented fact it can happen, so good to be aware.

Drought years break all the ordinary rules, feed is usually higher so the return is questionable, except for the pressure it takes off the grass.

Basically each operation is different and what works for 1 won't always work for another.
 

Faster horses

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I can understand some of what you are saying, BUT--
how do you know what your cow is doing for you if you creep feed for an extended period of time?

Seems to me that creep feed can cover up a cow that isn't producing well. I do not agree with you on the milk theory. Our calves gain over 3#/day on grass and you can see the milk on their face even late in the fall. I can tell you this with certainty: if the cow doesn't milk well, the calf doesn't do well. I don't think cows should be milk cows because that comes at great cost; but I do think cows need to milk adequately so that the genetic potential of the calf is realized.

Another thing you didn't touch on, is that calves don't have much of a rumen until they are older.

Now that said, I think in your situation where you are fall calving and keeping the calves on the cow during the Montana winter, you are wise in creep feeding. It is very hard, perhaps impossible, to meet the cows requirements when lactating during the Montana winters. That is why creep feeding could really be an asset at that time.

As for the rest of us who calve in the spring; it is my thought that creep feeding is not necessary unless the year warrants it. So far, we have never had to creep feed calves and we have seen some pretty dry conditions.
 

Jason

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Faster horses said:
I can understand some of what you are saying, BUT--
how do you know what your cow is doing for you if you creep feed for an extended period of time?

Seems to me that creep feed can cover up a cow that isn't producing well. I do not agree with you on the milk theory. Our calves gain over 3#/day on grass and you can see the milk on their face even late in the fall. I can tell you this with certainty: if the cow doesn't milk well, the calf doesn't do well. I don't think cows should be milk cows because that comes at great cost; but I do think cows need to milk adequately so that the genetic potential of the calf is realized.

Another thing you didn't touch on, is that calves don't have much of a rumen until they are older.

Now that said, I think in your situation where you are fall calving and keeping the calves on the cow during the Montana winter, you are wise in creep feeding. It is very hard, perhaps impossible, to meet the cows requirements when lactating during the Montana winters. That is why creep feeding could really be an asset at that time.

As for the rest of us who calve in the spring; it is my thought that creep feeding is not necessary unless the year warrants it. So far, we have never had to creep feed calves and we have seen some pretty dry conditions.

Points well taken FH you can mask a cow with low milk with enough feed.

And I believe you that calves will gain more with more milk. But, you say it is too expensive to have 'milkcows' running the pastures, which agrees with the efficiency in putting the feed into the calves not the cow.

2 issues to think about, how many purebred outfits creep feed and don't report it? And how many feed the crap out of their cows and call them milk epds? Both are issues in my opinion.

Part of big strapping calves from short grass country is that the calves eat a lot of grass, and process it. They will still get milk from their mothers, but a beef cow peaks in her milk production at 90 days. At that age a calf on pasture has a rumen developed and grass is the best food source for calves to develop their rumens on.

I have calved at different times of the year and agree that fall calving in Northern climes makes some kind of feed mandatory for calves. I have seen this accomplished by producers feeding the cows some grain/cake whatever and rolling out a bale of second cut alfalfa for the calves to start on. The cows come finish that alfalfa but the calves get enough. Others use panels in a circle and the calves learn to go in and eat the chopped hay, TMR whatever they are getting and the cows are fed outside at the same time so they don't break the panels down. The panels are moved every so often to keep the ground clean.

I haven't ever got on the creep feeding wagon, but it doesn't mean it wouldn't pay on dry years. Doesn't mean it would either for that matter. Like I said every situation is slightly different.
 

Hanta Yo

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I can understand some of what you are saying, BUT--
how do you know what your cow is doing for you if you creep feed for an extended period of time?

Seems to me that creep feed can cover up a cow that isn't producing well. I do not agree with you on the milk theory. Our calves gain over 3#/day on grass and you can see the milk on their face even late in the fall. I can tell you this with certainty: if the cow doesn't milk well, the calf doesn't do well. I don't think cows should be milk cows because that comes at great cost; but I do think cows need to milk adequately so that the genetic potential of the calf is realized.

Another thing you didn't touch on, is that calves don't have much of a rumen until they are older.

Now that said, I think in your situation where you are fall calving and keeping the calves on the cow during the Montana winter, you are wise in creep feeding. It is very hard, perhaps impossible, to meet the cows requirements when lactating during the Montana winters. That is why creep feeding could really be an asset at that time.

As for the rest of us who calve in the spring; it is my thought that creep feeding is not necessary unless the year warrants it. So far, we have never had to creep feed calves and we have seen some pretty dry conditions.

FH,

If calves don't have much of a rumen then why, when we were going through the cows today, tagging calves, looking through everybody, there were calves already chewing their cud???? They were no older than 1 month old.

I never noticed how much calves grazed when we spring calved. We surely did notice it when we fall calved! I don't think it is different with the calves no matter when they are born. They learn to graze alot earlier than we think!

Yes, we see "milk faces" all the time. Glad to see that. The calves still graze, they just like their "nursing time" to feel connected with their moms.

FH, do you have a BS degree in Animal Nutrition? From whom did you learn what you know? I'm just curious. Thanks.
 

PPRM

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My 2 cents


This year I did the creep feeding thing. I also took some calves and tried the 90 day weaning thing. I will creep feed, I won't do the 90 day weaning thing again. My calves just didn't do well on the early wean thing. Smaller Frame, pot bellied.

The other calves that were fed creep and kept on momma's are really looking great. Even if you are against it, I would consider it on my heifers as the heifers calves look very much like the calves from the older cows. Helped the calf and the heifer.

Two other things. I give 7-way twice a year to my cows and 3 times to my calves. I used to do cows once a year, and calves at branding and weaning. In two years two 2-month old calves died (I wasn't crrep feeding) and one great cow. All were strong as oxes and then boom, it was over. Vet autopsies found nothing. He suggested hitting with 7-way twice on the cows, no problems since,

On my creep, I fed daily rather than free choice. Creep was alfalfa and Grain, for most calves they were hitting it from 1 month to three months, didn't continue when on green grass. Calves are big strapping calves. Not pudgy, but thick. I retain so, it's more a matter of not putting weight on that will be lost than whether they'll be discounted. Will be interesting to see how they grade.

Just my obserations from year one of doing it.

Also, I have seen nursed twin smaller than bottle fed/creep fed on a purina creep. I used pellets that I use to start calves on feed rather than creep as it is bought bulk and less expensive. The feed guy at my farm store steered me this wa as it is only a little less ideal and about 1/2 price of bagged creep.


Another thot, I can lose money forever seeing how much stress a cow can take before she quits producing or spend a few dollars to ensure she does. I won't go cheap mineral, vaccine (by cheap I mean inneffective and therefore less money, not less price for the same value) or feed, or poor bulls,


PPRM
 

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