Find four tips to remember for feeding cattle during cold weather.
Cold weather has moved through the Southeast for the past few days bringing snow, ice, and freezing temperatures. Even parts of Florida have seen the occasional flurry of snow. Freezing temperatures can occur anytime during the winter months, so it’s important for even Florida cattle ranchers to how to help cattle during cold weather. See four tips from a SoutheastFarmPress.com article below.
Looking to Feed to Help Cattle During Cold Weather
For most of the Southeast, truly freezing temperatures are not a long-term issue. However, even short-term cold snaps can affect a herd’s health and well-being. Cattle can use help during cold weather staying warm, and this is best achieved by altering cattle feed. Four tips for changing feed to help cattle during cold weather include:
- “Cold weather can increase intake of cattle up to 30% because of increased maintenance energy requirements. In other words, cattle are trying to stay warm, which requires increased amounts of energy in their diet to do so.”
- “Cows may not be able to consume enough energy to account for their changing needs, especially if low quality forages are part of the diet (less than 52% TDN and 7% CP). Offering cattle more low-quality forage will not meet energy demands – cattle cannot physically consume enough of this forage because of the high fiber content and “gut fill factor” that occurs during the digestion process. Cattle feel full when consuming fibrous, over-mature forage, which reduces their intake potential. Avoid supplemental feed products designed to improve intake of low-quality forage to decrease potential animal health and digestive tract compaction risks during cold weather.”
- “Provide higher quality forage during periods of cold weather and a daily energy supplement (example: up to 0.5% of animal body weight per day of a digestible fiber-based supplement like soybean hulls) to help meet increased demands.”
- “Feed cattle in the late afternoon or early evening. This can help cattle better maintain their body temperature as ambient temperatures begin to drop from heat produced during the digestion process.”
Following the above steps during cold weather can help your herd to remain warm, healthy, and strong during the winter months.
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