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Prepping Cows For Calving
Are your cows ready for calving? Most of them handle pregnancy pretty well. Content animals will have access to proper feed, good water, and a reasonable space with wind protection. If they’re thin, hunched up, standing in the corner and bellowing, your feeding program may be to blame.
Kris Ringwall is an Extension beef specialist at North Dakota State University. He says the third trimester has a large impact on the cows as they approach their due date. There are no shortcuts because pregnant cows have nutrition requirements.
"The basic ration balancing is going to involve energy and protein. If we’re low on energy, then we need to start looking at how are we going to get that brought up," says Ringwall. "Basically, you take a 1300-pound cow, she needs about 54% of her daily total digestible nutrients in that dry matter, and it takes a high-quality hay to do that."
Each cow should have five-to-seven-pounds of excellent green grass hay or alfalfa in addition to the basic hay ration. As winter wears on, the better hays aren’t always available, so talk to a nutritionist and make a trip to the feed dealer. And keep an eye on your cows.
"Even one, when one or two if there’s a mineral issue they get weak. Calcium, anything that affects their ability to move, it’s going to show up in this late-pregnant cow," he says. "So, when you start seeing that, actually you’re a little late at that point. But, that tells you that something’s not right."
When your animals are fed right, the results will be evident at calving time.
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