Feeding a housecow

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12 years 6 months ago #29452 by JaneF
Feeding a housecow was created by JaneF
Just interested in how much a lactating housecow would need to eat, compared to say yearling cattle, a good-doing pony, or a hard-doing tb horse? (My main yardsticks for comparison!).

I’m thinking of bringing my heifer Ruby home when her calf is weaned (or possibly before) but could only do that if I made the decision to sell one of my arabs. I only have two acres, but it grows good pasture (at the moment two horses and three almost weaned calves can’t keep up with it). Given the hours I work and commute and the trouble keeping two horses fit for endurance was toying with the thought of selling one, and having Ruby at home instead as a companion and pet (she’ll hopefully be in calf to a hereford before she returns).

I strip graze carefully with tape front and back, and would plan to run Ruby ahead of the pony so she’d get a fresh strip daily (pony doesn’t need the grass as gets hay twice daily and hard feed at night). Do you think this might be viable? I’d be prepared to buy in baleage for Ruby, and/or hard feed her daily as well, esp once she’d calved next spring. I’m just not sure her daily nutritional requirements but would be confident she’d need supplementary feed through summer at least as Wairarapa summers can get pretty dry.

The aim would be to retain her calf, and either foster another one or two on (probably two calves would be the maximum she could feed on my small place), or just have the one calf and sharemilk her (which might be easier than fostering without proper yards. I have a good shed with covered yards (set-up for horses) and she’s tame enough to follow me in for milking and/or vet care/tb testing etc and wouldn’t be a problem to halter break). Actually she's the sort of cow I could probably give her a feed in the paddock and milk her loose!

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12 years 6 months ago #400327 by edster951
Replied by edster951 on topic Feeding a housecow
I think you'd have enough grass, hard to say without seeing it though. I have a cow and two yearlings on my place, with about 2 acres or grass. I still need to get in the odd bale full round bale to keep them happy.

Be aware with share milking, if you intend to keep the calf for the freezer for later, tha they never forget where the milkbar is....so next year when you get another calf, the yearling will go for the milk first. We are learning that this year, and it has made it tight for us with grass as we have to have the yearling in the other paddock, and the grass isn't freshening up ahead of the cow. We are now in position of having to find grazing for the yearlings.

It can be done. With strick budgetting of grass as you are doing. Our housecow feeds 6-8 calves a year. I hand milk and give it to the calves now so they donot know about the milkbar under the cow. Hopefully this will help us for next year.

BTW. I also use the yearlings to "mount" the cow so I know when to AI her. Can't do that this year, the yearling drinks the milk. Had to borrow a yearling from next door to do the mounting.

Eddie
Invercargill [8D]
New Zealand

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12 years 6 months ago #400384 by tonic
Replied by tonic on topic Feeding a housecow
in my opinion a house cow would not need more than a tb. it probably depends on the breed of cow and what sort of doer it is but a poor doing tb needs alot! my guess would be the same as an arab.

we have not had any problems with the yearling drinking off the cows. they are put back together once they have been fully weaned and the cow dried off and our cow sorts them out if they try to go back for a drink. they soon realise there is no milk, just a kick in the head available. it certainly must make it trickier if you have to keep them apart all the time.

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12 years 6 months ago #400399 by edster951
Replied by edster951 on topic Feeding a housecow

tonic;395577 wrote:
we have not had any problems with the yearling drinking off the cows.


Lucky you....as soon as they know there is milk there again, they're on...the buggers.

Eddie
Invercargill [8D]
New Zealand

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12 years 6 months ago #400401 by tonic
Replied by tonic on topic Feeding a housecow
i think our luck is that they go back in with the cows whilst they are dried off so learn pretty quick not to mess around with an empty udder...it only gets them a grumpy cow. a few good sort outs and they haven't gone back.

we do not have many paddocks so our cattle generally are together as much as possible.

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12 years 6 months ago #400420 by Anne
Replied by Anne on topic Feeding a housecow
From experience, my house cow, while feeding two or three calves needs at least as much feed as a hard doing TB. The cow will only eat the longer grass and needs "new" grass to produce milk and maintain condition. Horses can eat grass much shorter and do better on older stuff.

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