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Feeding calves

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AngusCowBoy

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Hi,
What are some reasons to feed your calves when you wean them in the fall, and is there any money in feeding calves, also what do you do with the calves when you are done feeding them?
 

Whitewing

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VB RANCH

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i wean ours to get them away from the market glut, and to put some weight on, but not so mach as getting them into a later market, some times i think we even get paid for it, our calves are april born so i have some room
 

AngusCowBoy

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What do you think 650 pound angus steer calves would gain per day on a ration that is 1lb feed peas, 1lb feed barley, and 1lb oats, mixed with ground hay, and free choice alfalfa and hay barley bales.
 

Northern Rancher

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They'd frame up and not much more-backgrounding calves can make you money or bleed you dry if not done right. Those big calves could stand a hotter ration I would think-some time spent with a nutritionist doing a ration would be well spent.
 

RSL

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For us, the biggest reasons we feed our calves is our land base, production system and marketing flexibility.
We calve later (May/June) and wean early (avg 150 days). That lets us get our cowherd fat on grass prior to the winter and graze through most of the winter with cows. It works out much cheaper to feed 450-550 pound calves (which can graze for the first couple of months post-weaning) than it does to feed 1200# cows.
The added bonus is that it lets us market grass cattle through the spring, or keep the calves and grass them ourselves. If it is dry we can ship calves and keep cows.
We are in a good position where our cash flow needs allow us to do this, although it took a few years to get things set up. Grazing cows as long as we do also means that we could sell small calves in the fall most years and readily cover our production cost if we had to.
This flexibility is a huge risk management tool for our operation.
 

VB RANCH

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AngusCowBoy said:
What do you think 650 pound angus steer calves would gain per day on a ration that is 1lb feed peas, 1lb feed barley, and 1lb oats, mixed with ground hay, and free choice alfalfa and hay barley bales.
i think them big calves need gone
 

Faster horses

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I'm with VB. We think selling them off the cow works best for us.

But if you want to feed them longer, what is your long-term
goal? Do you want to keep them from gaining much or do you
want them to gain well? Like NR said, they will need a hotter feed
to gain well. His advice to have a nutritionist run the numbers
is what I would advise. It will be a real eye-opener and save you
a lot of guesswork.
 

Big Muddy rancher

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I feel 650 wt steers could be moved along to 850 fairly quickly then on to a feedlot. 450- 5 wt calves would probably be better backgrounded fairly green and sold as grassers. Just make sure they are 650's when you start them on feed.
 

littlejoe

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AngusCowBoy said:
What do you think 650 pound angus steer calves would gain per day on a ration that is 1lb feed peas, 1lb feed barley, and 1lb oats, mixed with ground hay, and free choice alfalfa and hay barley bales.

Peas seem to be great in a ration, are supposed to digest more like forage--does put a shine on them. Weaned calves also seem to do well on grain hay, esp if not put up too ripe. Supposedly, if you're feeding grain, you want to do at least 4/10 of 1% of body weight with grain, or it ain't worth it---different bugs in the rumen.

About every time I get alfalfa/grain combo, it ain't good. And I think they need more energy than protein, anyhow. The first X amount of any ration is going to go to maintenance, if you're only going to grow them out a little and not put much weight on, about only way to get your feed money out is if price goes up---which it usually does, if you ain't got them contracted by mid summer.

Last couple of yrs, selling after 1 st of yr has worked well for me. I give good precondition shots, feed grain hay and whatever clean (no weed seeds) screenings I can scrounge--has been lots of pea halves, lately.

I had some true mixed screenings---feed pea halves, oats, wheat, barley, lentils,chaff, dust, straw, that they liked pretty good. Bought some people pea halves that they were sposed to like better, sposed to be sweeter. Had to mix the 'mix' with it to get them to eat it.

I spend about 5$ on preconditioning, including implants and ivomec. Start off in several acre lot and go bigger. Doctor about a calf a yr. Calves eat or waste a lotta hay, fed long. Might try processing it this yr.

Seems like if I don't sell them with the 'baby fat bloom' on them, I gotta keep them at least 60 days.
 

Shortgrass

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Northern Rancher said:
They'd frame up and not much more-backgrounding calves can make you money or bleed you dry if not done right. Those big calves could stand a hotter ration I would think-some time spent with a nutritionist doing a ration would be well spent.

There is some good advice. I have fed my own, and all they do is frame up as you say. Others buy them, and I watch them put a good gain on. Ration is key.
 

gcreekrch

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Size of the pen and how much exercise cattle get has a lot to do with putting flesh on also. If you are wanting them to stay relatively fleshy and grow a 650 wt. calf could be on 6-8 lbs of barley fairly quick. Economics dictate but there is no reason you shouldn't be able to have those calves gaining 2 to 3 lbs a day on hay and that much barley. We've done it here.
 

Clarencen

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I don't know a whole lot about the feedstufs you mention, but it doesn't look like a very hot ration to me. You would most likely get little more gain then if put on grass.

650 lb steers could go to the feedlot or be put out to grass for 3 or 4 months. What you have for feed would change your options.

Here our/my operation we usually weaned at about 500 lbs. We would backgrond and winter the calves I like to figure rations so would try to plan a ration to get some weight gain, a calf has to gain weight to pay for your time and effort. With our winters it took more then just hay to maintain weight alone. When we had the grass we put them to pasture in the spring. This was when ouroperation was at it's peak and the most profitable. Otherwise we would sell them in March or early April. By mid April often the stocker buyers were filled up and the price goes down. Most years the price is a little better in the spring then at weaning time. Calves do not all have the same gain curve so they even out a little by spring and there is a few less cut offs
 

George

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If you have the facilities and feed you can do as good a job as any feedlot . I used to feed out 500 head a year - - - had about 300 head on hand at any given time.

I would feed my own ( about 45 head a year) and buy weaned calves of at least 450#

I tried to keep in groups of about 75 and the smaller calves were on pasture with ground feed twice a day. The next group was still on pasture but fed more. The third group was in about a 2 acre dry lot and full feed then the largest group was on about a 1/4 acre concrete floor and full feed with both groups given access to round bales of poor quality hay or baled corn stalks.

This worked well for several yeas but we had a drought and I depopulated and never started back up. With my system I took 12 to 15 head to the livestock yard in Indianapolis every Sunday evening. Those were good times and I loved the work - - - kind of wish I had started back!
 

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