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NellieBelle

11074 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  1:50:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm about to place an order with Modesto Milling and wondered if anyone feeds the organic dairy/livestock feed at all, or just the alfalfa pellets along with their hay to your cows? I know kelp has been mentioned and I've already got the Hi phos organic Premix from Wicks. Just trying to get this all put together.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown

Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  1:54:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you are feeding mineral the content of the mix might be to mineral rich? I think the feed mixes are more stand alone. Could always call and ask. I know I make my own mix using flax pellets some cor and oats and add the mineral and kelp myself.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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NellieBelle

11074 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  2:03:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, I noticed in the feed they have mineral, kelp, DE, etc. in the pellets as well as the grain. So essentially, all I need is the alfalfa pellets, mix the mineral and kelp in myself and feed good hay to balance out their nutritional needs, right? I've fed them a bit of corn and oats here but it wasn't organic. So didn't know if I needed that or not.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  2:27:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm my opinion you are better off doing what you are doing by mixing yourself. Would drop the non organic corn it could be GMO and possibly roundup ready?

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.
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NellieBelle

11074 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  2:30:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, that's what we're trying to do, phase out the bad and replace with the good. But should I be feeding organic corn or just leave corn and oats etc. out all together?

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown

Edited by - NellieBelle on Dec 19 2014 2:33:44 PM
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  3:12:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Janet, I've been giving the organic Modesto alfalfa and/or grain pellets to my herd for close to two years, along with minerals, DE, kelp, baking soda, and vinegar (it's freezes in the winter so they don't get that this time of year and never when I'm offering baking soda). Lately I've been offering free-choice DE mixed with kelp and once they've licked that until it's gone, I offer baking soda mixed in with kelp. They seem to like the DE and baking soda better when it's mixed with kelp but I've decided not to mix the baking soda and DE together. I like to control what I'm doing so I can observe the results.

With the girls that I bring in to milk, I mix their portion of minerals in with a tad of water before I give it to them with some grain/alfalfa pellets (more alfalfa than grain, probably 4 to 1). So with my milkers, I know they get their minerals every day and how much each one gets.

When I give minerals/alfalfa/grain to everyone else, I merely dump the minerals into the scoop and then carefully spread the scoops along the bottom of their feeder (if you dump the scoops they end up inhaling mineral dust). I'm never sure how much each animal gets EXACTLY like with my milkers. I do know it gets consumed because their "bowl" gets licked clean every day. That's why I like the grain pellets, but I don't feel like I give them enough every day to cover their mineral needs. It's just a treat.

I wasn't 100% sure they weren't getting under or over dosed on minerals so that's why I did the blood draw on every one of my animals for a full mineral panel this past fall. The lab report lists all the minerals and trace minerals needed for optimum health. None of my animals went over the recommended range into too little or too much on any mineral. I was so pleased because I just wasn't 100% confident and I worried. Too much, too little? Turns out it was just right. I won't do mineral panels next fall because I feel like I have a pretty good idea from that test that I'm getting their dose right. I also feed them an alfalfa/grass hay that is about 1/3 alfalfa and 2/3 grass.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  3:56:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Also, I might add, the reason I give them some grain pellets is because a while back Maizy's cream content started to decrease. When I asked the state vet about it, he said, give her a bit of grain every day and it'll go back up. Sure enough.

I know that grass-fed is all the rage but I like the way homegrown milk tastes when the cows are getting a supplement of organic grain. While in NYC I was buying quarts of milk for my hotel fridge (Sky Top Farms--organic, grass-fed, non-homogenized, pasteurized whole milk). It tasted great in my daily tea and on breakfast cereal but when I poured a glass to drink, it just didn't taste all that great to me. It was more gamey tasting. Hard to describe but not very sweet/creamy rich.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11074 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:02:10 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Okay, so to get this straight, you do feed some organic dairy livestock grain pellets that has corn, oats, some mineral,kelp,in the pellets, as well as alfalfa pellets, but only as treats like at milking time?

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:05:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I ran across this article published today in Farming Life and thought it might be helpful to the conversation. He talks about forage and concentrate:

Getting the management of the dairy cow right during her dry period is crucially important in terms of easier calving, and also, improving milk yield and fertility during the subsequent lactation.

In fact, the dry cow period should be regarded as the ‘official start’ of every lactation. Getting the management wrong at this stage can lead to many health-related issues including milk fever, ketosis, retained placenta and metritis.

“In order for a high-producing cow to produce to her genetic potential, she must have adequate body stores from which to draw on during early lactation. Ideally, a cow should be calving down at a body condition score (BCS) between 2.75 and 3.25,” explains Alltech’s Richard Dudgeon.

“Cows calving down below a BCS of 2.75 tend to lose a lot of condition post-calving and have poorer conception rates and fertility.”

Dudgeon went on to point out that at dry off, cows should be separated from the lactating herd and ideally grouped into two groups; the far-off group and the close-up group and they should be given plenty of room within the housing that is made available to them.

“Research has shown that a 60-day dry period appears to be the optimal length for dry cows in terms of health, reproduction and milk production,” added Mr Dudgeon.

The nutrition and feeding of the dry cow is probably the most important aspect of pre-calving management. The objective is to provide a feed that meets the cows’ energy, protein and dry matter intake (DMI) requirements for the far-off dry period and the close-up dry period.

Mr Dudgeon explained that the diet can be divided into two components, the forage and the concentrate. The forage should form the basis of the diet with the concentrate portion added to compensate for inadequacies of the forage in order to meet the other nutritional needs of the dry cow. Feeding good quality, long-stemmed silage is ideal for filling the rumen and maintaining proper rumen function. It is important to realise that a cow will consume 12-13 kgs of DMI at dry-off but will only be able to consume 10-11 kgs DMI in the final 21 days before calving due to the increasing size of the calf. Her energy and protein needs also increase in these final 21 days before calving and unless they are met, the cow will go into a negative energy balance.

It’s important to increase the level of concentrates being fed to cows in the final 21 days before calving as it will increase the energy content of the diet and it will help the rumen to adapt to higher concentrate levels that will be fed post-calving.

Mr Dudgeon also points out that it is very important to carry out a mineral analysis on the silage that farmers intend to feed to their dry cows.

“Silages high in potassium and with a high cation/anion balance have been proven to increase the risk of milk fever and other metabolic issues at calving. Forages that received slurry or a lot of potassium from fertilisers are high risk and shouldn’t be fed to dry cows,” continued Mr Dudgeon.

“It’s also very important to feed a well-balanced mineral to dry cows, as deficiencies in Selenium, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Copper and Zinc can weaken the immune system and leave the cow susceptible to metabolic diseases particularly during the stressful calving period.

“Research has proven that feeding these trace minerals in their organic form such as Bioplex® Copper and Zinc and Sel-Plex®, organic form of Selenium, leads to these minerals being better absorbed, stored and utilised by the animal.

“This builds up the cow’s immune system and offers her greater protection from metabolic diseases at this stressful period,” Mr Dudgeon added.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:08:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, Janet, only as a treat. We were typing at the same time.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11074 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:08:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So I'm trying to get my order ready. If I order some Dairy livestock feed 15% protein, some alfalfa pellets, DE, Kelp meal and the Redmond salt rocks, that should cover it, and I have the mineral from Wicks, Side Kick for summer. Sodium Bicarbonate, summer. Right now they all get about 2-4 cups alfalfa pellets at milking time and I have sprinkled the mineral on like I would a little seasoning on my food, dampen the alfalfa pellets first. And they get their hay alfalfa/grass hay. I give Pumpkin the same and he eats it right up.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:10:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's what I do Janet. The difference would be the variables in our hay but other than that, we'd be doing the same thing.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11074 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:14:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Okay, thanks so much MaryJane. You are all so helpful. Thank you, I would really like to get this right so that they get the best possible balance they can. Perhaps I should have vet do a mineral panel on my girls after I've been feeding them this way a while.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:20:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It was a nice piece of mind for me. Your vet could send a blood sample directly to WADDL (address and details in my book under the discussion about parasites). I wanted to give them supplements but I didn't want to overdo it. That can be just as bad.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:34:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This is a great discussion and helped me too! Thanks.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:38:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I do have a question regarding the minerals from Wicks Livestock nutrition. Which dairy minerals do you get and why? It looks like there is a High Phos Dairy premix or a dry cow mineral or a dairy mineral o?

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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Ron

4666 Posts
Ronnie
Peever SD
USA

Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:40:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know the guy where I purchased my cows even has a nutritionist that they work closely with.

With a moo moo here and a moo moo there, here a moo, there a moo, everywhere a moo moo.

Edited by - Ron on Dec 19 2014 4:41:22 PM
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NellieBelle

11074 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:55:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
When I called to order my mineral from Wicks I just asked him what I should get and he asked where I lived and he suggested the Hi Phos Organic Premix, so that's what I ordered. Got a couple of bags of it and the Salt Sidekick for later.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Dec 19 2014 :  4:56:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks, Janet.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Dec 20 2014 :  05:36:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Charlene, I started with the Wick's Dairy but upon his recommendation I switched to Hi Phos Organic more than a year ago like Janet said.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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CloversMum

3486 Posts


Posted - Dec 20 2014 :  10:06:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Okay, so the Hi Phos Organic Wicks mineral has the vote! Good to know...

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; A few Jersey cows; a few alpacas; a few more goats, and even more ducks and chickens
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - May 06 2015 :  7:49:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So I came back and reread this topic now that I'm trying to add alfalfa pellets and/or alfalfa hay into Elli's diet. My dairy grain mix is a little different from the one you are feeding from Modesto. Here's the label.


Hopefully it is readable.

This is what the grain mix looks like.

As you can see it's not a pellet at all. When I put this in the stanchion for milking, Elli will lick the tub and pick it up to make sure she has it all. If alfalfa pellets are mixed in she doesn't touch it. I'm starting to wonder if it is a texture thing, though. We gave her some alfalfa hay last night and this morning and somehow she seems to be taking the leaves off the stems and leaving the stems. Janet mentioned wetting down the alfalfa pellets. I wonder if that would help make them more appetizing to Elli. It's still a mystery.
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - May 06 2015 :  9:14:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Keeley, I would assume there are different ways in which alfalfa pellets are manufactured. I'm not sure how to answer your question just yet. Where or who are you getting your alfalfa pellets from? I zoomed in on the feed you're using and it looks great. Can you go to the Chaffhaye web site and see if anyone near you sells Chaffhaye? It's 20% protein--pure alfalfa silage. Because it's moist, none of the leaves can fall out and it's harvested before it ever gets stemmy like hay does. My girls are loving it. You can read more about it on their website. I'm with you on this one, let's figure out what's going on. It doesn't make sense unless it's just that she needs more time adapting to it. I wonder how long it took before Nellie would eat the pellets?

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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NellieBelle

11074 Posts


Posted - May 07 2015 :  04:33:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't remember where the thread is with Nellie and her objection for the alfalfa pellets, but I know she was having a "cow" about it. If I remember I just let her pout, have her tantrum, (and I mean she did have tantrum, storming out of the barn), and she went without for a day or two until she got hungry enough to eat it. Now she goes right in and eats the alfalfa pellets/dairy livestock pellets without a fuss or care in the world. It was night and day here. Like a kid going from candy to greens. LOL.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - May 07 2015 :  3:45:11 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I get all of my feed from a local business, however, not all of it comes from MT. My alfalfa pellets are from Grain Place Foods in Nebraska. The label doesn't say anything except 100% Organic Alfalfa Pellets. I found a website for them, but it only has their food for people on it, not livestock. They are a bigger sized pellet, but I think they are good quality. When Elli wouldn't eat them I put them out for our beef cows and they inhaled them. I think it's an Elli quirk. I'll try hiding a few underneath her grain again to see if we can't work our way up.
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - May 07 2015 :  7:00:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tell Elli that the folks on the cow chatroom urge her to get going on that good quality alfalfa protein, organic none-the-less.

I was initially wondering if maybe they used a weird binder to make them but if they're certified, they can't be adding weirdness to them. Just an Elli thing it seems. New mom privilege I guess:)

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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