Beef cattle, beef cattle, calves or suckler or dairy cows, ruminant nutrition can vary greatly. In any case, on average, cattle feed on grass for 60% of their diet. In addition, feed supplements and manufactured feedstuffs are used to cover the cattle ration. Cattle feed is highly regulated.
Fodder: the staple food of cattle
The food base of cattle is plants, mainly herbs. However, the nutrition of cattle can vary according to breed, age and type of production if it is a cattle for meat or a cow for milk. Afterwards, the breeder has to take into account the breeding region and the season. The natural life cycle of the cattle must be respected for its health. There are two types of raw materials for cattle. First, there is green fodder, which the cattle feed directly on pasture. Green fodder consists of grasses, but also rapeseed and alfalfa… greens that can change from one region to another. However, there is no such thing as greenery in winter. So you have to anticipate this by harvesting and storing fodder for the winter season. This can be dry fodder such as hay (mowed and dried grass) and straw, silage (grass, corn silage or sorghum crushed and preserved by acidification), dried fodder (grass or legumes preserved in airless plastic film). Of course, you can supplement deficiencies or strengthen your cattle with feed supplements . On the website Nanolike you can learn more about feeding your cattle. Finally, the cattle must drink as much water as they want (100 l per day for an adult cattle). Make clean drinking water available to them in the barn or meadow.
What are the specific feeds for cattle?
In addition to the classic herd, cattle need specific feed depending on their age and the type of production they are aiming for. For beef cattle, they first spend their first 8 months on pasture with their mother. For the next 3 years during their fattening period, their feeding is alternated with an exclusive grazing phase in summer, spring and autumn and a building feeding phase in winter. In this case, they are fed with preserved fodder, cake and cereals. Dairy cows also have special needs and must be fed energy-rich feed. Alternate between grass and maize fodder, cereals and protein crops. Finally, make up excellent calf feeds. Calves from dairy cows, i.e. milk collected for human consumption, are fed colostrum at birth. Then they are fed twice a day with vending machines (mixing milk powder, fat, milk products and feed supplements with hot water). Calves from suckler cows suckle their mothers twice a day until the weaning period (around 7-8 months).
What about feed supplements?
The nutritional needs of cattle are not always covered by fodder. Minerals for cattle must be added. As a breeder, you must constantly evaluate your animal’s needs in order to adapt its ration. You can give him boluses, which are easy for cattle to ruminate. Alternatively, you can add mineral supplements such as phosphorus and calcium directly into the forage. Alternatively, you can give them free availability of vitamin blocks, propylene glycol and mineral salts. These are products that you can buy directly from pet shops or veterinarians.