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NellieBelle

10884 Posts


Posted - Jan 05 2016 :  6:17:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't have any issues with milk quantity, I don't feed the amount of grain and alfalfa pellets you feed. I would be afraid Nellie and Sienna would bloat on that much grain and alfalfa pellets. My gals get about 1.25 gal. of feed/alfalfa mixed once in a.m. and once in p.m. And of course their grass/alfalfa hay. Their minerals, kelp etc. added like seasoning. Love learning what others do. Sure would like to have pasture now, but it's a few months off. So grass hay and alfalfa it is.

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

6720 Posts


Posted - Jan 05 2016 :  7:34:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm trying to picture what I feed in terms of gallons. I grab X amount or scoop X amount every day for the most part. I suppose you could say I feed somewhat intuitively with routine adjustments based on weather and availability of pasture. I will pay more attention this week to what I'm feeding. Maybe grab an empty gallon can:) I don't mix the Chaffhaye and grain but could. Like Janet, I feed the minerals as a seasoning. I feed kelp free-choice. I no longer feed the alfalfa pellets because I think the Chaffhaye supplies that and it's probably easier on their teeth. The last truckload of timothy I got wasn't so great--lots of fines in it, so I've upped the amount of Chaffhaye I give.

Can a cow get fat? We know horses can be overfed and I think some cows can. But they're all so different. Miss Daisy can eat and eat and eat and never gets fat. I lock her up in her own shelter every night so I can feed her more. She's an amazing milk producer for her size, plus she's pregnant, due the same day as Sally.

Rosetta had a great metabolism and so does Lacy Lou. No weight issues with them and no food obsessions.

Fanci doesn't get any exercise and likes food too much so I have to meter hers out (she gets locked up separately also every night). Plus I've been giving her a fair amount of baking soda. More on that another time. I'm still struggling with her udder dermatitis. I got most of her original places cleared up but now it's showing up elsewhere on her udder and her back legs.

I felt like there was a time Sally was packing a few too many pounds based on the rolls in the top of her tail and the fat puffs on either side of her tail. But it didn't take long to bring them down in size by cutting back just a tad. Sally has a good metabolism.

The one I worry about is Eliza Belle. In fact, I'm putting up another shelter so I can feed her entirely separately. She's going on a diet here pretty quick. I thought she was putting on too much weight when she was about five months pregnant. I made a trip to WSU just for her. We took stool and blood samples and one of the vets examined her pointing out different places on her body that indicated that she wasn't dangerously overweight--essentially I was told not to worry. But her weight and the extent to which she enjoys/craves food continued. If she doesn't get more food than I think she needs, she starts eating her straw bedding. Even after her delivery, she still has fat puffs on either side of her tail. Her weight is the reason I transferred her to my stock trailer for her delivery because it just didn't feel right. Turns out I was right because the calf probably couldn't get into position for delivery--not enough room to turn itself, even though it only weighed 34 pounds. Like Julie pointed out, "On the one hand, your judgment to bring her in was called into question but in the next breath you were asked to do your first ever vaginal exam and judge whether or not she was good to deliver." That's one of the reasons I'm not going to breed her again anytime soon because I wouldn't feel right putting a pregnant cow on a diet. I want to see her lose some weight, plus I need time to figure her food out. Apparently, I'm talking English and she speaks Spanish. Today I was climbing around beneath Fanci taking a series of photos of her udder and EB was right there totally in my business, giving me kisses pretty much non-stop. She's pure sweetness that girl.

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

10884 Posts


Posted - Jan 05 2016 :  8:02:22 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Just similar to people. We are all different. Just comes with knowing our cows and what they need. Each different. It would be difficult to treat each cow as if they were all the same. Sienna has a tendency to bloat, so I really have to watch her and what she consumes whereas Nellie can eat the same and look under fed. Then add the calves, nursing which requires more from them, and milking, cold weather, it's a balancing act. Just constant vigilance monitoring their body condition. :/ Cow kisses are always good. Makes it all worth it doesn't it?

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

1413 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  05:51:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh my gosh! Did you all just say GALLONS!?!? Now I'm wondering if Elli is getting totally ripped off by the person feeding her. I have to think about how much a gallon is as far as feed goes. Part of what you are feeding is alfalfa pellets, though, right? Elli gets her alfalfa through hay since she despises (that's really not too strong of a word for how she feels) alfalfa pellets. I can occasionally get her to eat a cow cookie, but that is as far as it goes. I think Elli looks pretty good right now, but now I'm going to have to do more research. She is a more finicky eater, though. I know that she's not getting enough food if she eats all her alfalfa stems at milking. That tells me that she's really hungry and so after milking I usually go get her more grass hay. While I milk she usually throws the alfalfa hay around so that the leaves fall off and them pushes the stems out of her way to get the leaves. She'll do the same with grass hay. She throws it around to see if she can get any seeds to fall off then she pushes the stems to the side of the trough and eats them last.

I do know that with a lot of grain Elli will bloat as once she snuck into the chicken coop and helped herself to the chicken feed. I don't remember if it is a 12 or a 15 pound feeder. (Not pointing any fingers as to who left the door of the coop open, but it wasn't me.) In Elli's defense, the chicken food looked like her food since I get it from the same company. It's just a different balance of nutrients. She was happy to help the chickens eat it. I watched her very carefully afterward and made a point to only give her a small amount of grass hay, but it scared me. She definitely bloated some. All cows are definitely different. It's interesting to find out what they need and then adjust from there.
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NellieBelle

10884 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  06:33:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, the cows are different. I have Nellie and Sienna on the same pasture, and Sienna will eat until she looks like Moby Dick, so I have to be sure and get her the sodium bicarbonate. She is just prone to bloat whether it's from feed/alfalfa pellets, alfalfa/grass hay or pasture. She just bears watching. The next time she bloats up I will get a picture and post. It's most alarming, but I'm getting where I don't get quite so concerned. I've never seen it happen to Nellie. And they are fed about the same amounts when I feed them, and the hay/alfalfa, Sienna will eat her share, and will even push Nellie out of the way.

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

6720 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  06:43:31 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Moby Dick made me laugh out loud. And a beached whale when laying down.

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

10884 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  07:04:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yes, and if that gas doesn't find a release it's a dead beached whale.

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

1413 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  07:46:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Elli has had a few days where she came in from summer pasture having eaten herself Moby Dick like too, Janet. Nellie sounds like the perfect cow. She gives lots of milk and is super healthy and sweet to boot. Oh, and her calves are stunning!
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NellieBelle

10884 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  08:07:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I know and it's a bit unnerving when you see your cow that huge. I've only had the one incident where Sienna got down and had labored breathing, thought I would probably lose her. I called the vet, but that's the time I started pushing on her and trying to get her to get up, anyway, when the vet got here she was better and back up on her feet, and looked like nothing happened. Made me look the fool, but that's okay, I'd do it again. Yes, I'm happy with both my cows. Thank you Keeley, I think all of our cows are quite special. I enjoy seeing photos and updates of everyone's cows. It's a good and satisfying feeling.

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

3473 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  09:10:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Oh great ... now I've just read about all of your cows and their bloat which means I'll get to experience it too with my own cows. :-) Isn't that just the way? You start reading about something or learning something new and, voila!, it then happens to you?? Knock on wood, it won't happen. But at least I'll know some things to do. I'm sure Ethan will be learning so much information when he's working on MJ's farm, that he'll come home and fine-tune our own cow care which makes me happy.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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txbikergirl

3191 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  3:54:32 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ok, maybe i am feeding too much ;> i know the morning amounts about mirror what i fed at mary jane's when there, but i know one difference is that my "grain" is actually a whole seed/kernel dairy ration thing as opposed to just grain pellets - so she is getting minerals and other stuff in there.

she doesn't have the tail fat rolls that mary jane showed us so i feel good about that. and i too have been thinking about cutting back on alfalfa pellets like mary jane as the chaffhaye is a better alfalfa delivery system.

i'll sit back and process this and see what i think. we are feeding about twice as much supplemental feed now as we were when they arrived, and it made sense to me because they aren't getting the same nutrition in the winter pasture as they did the fall pasture... but i really need to run this by someone local and see what they think.... hummmm

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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farmlife

1413 Posts


Posted - Jan 06 2016 :  9:18:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I may be underfeeding, Cindy, so we're both learning.
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CloversMum

3473 Posts


Posted - Jan 07 2016 :  09:52:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
After all this talk and laughing outloud when Keeley said "GALLONS?!" we are upping Clover's dairy pellets. We currently do not feed alfalfa pellets as all the cows get Chaffhaye which they love and I think they are getting enough of it at the moment.

Loving life and family on our Idaho farm, Meadowlark Heritage Farm; 1 Jersey cow; 1 Guernsey cow; 1 Guernsey steer calf; Oberhasli & Guernsey goats, ducks and chickens
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maryjane

6720 Posts


Posted - Jan 07 2016 :  10:53:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'll continue to pay attention to the grain amounts I feed. Yesterday, my girls that are producing milk got grain pellets in the a.m., usually as a function of milking. So Lacy Lou (pregnant with her first calf) doesn't get them every day but only when she's brought into the parlor for training. When that happens, she gets about 3 quarts (1 scoop).

Yesterday, Miss Daisy gobbled up about 3 scoops while being milked (2 gallons + 1 quart). She's a mini.

Fanci (full-size cow) has been struggling lately with some udder health issues and consequently I try to add things to her grain that I think might help her (Vit. C, baking soda, minerals) but then she gets picky, even if I sneak it into her Chaffhaye. At any rate, she ended up eating 3 scoops during milking, same as Miss Daisy. If nothing is put on it, she'll eat more.

Eliza Belle (mini) gets the same amount of grain pellets as Miss Daisy during her morning milking.

The "kids" (Ester Lily, Finnegan, Sweet William) get grain pellets morning, noon, and night (one scoop for the bigger kids, 1/2 for Finn) along with their regular serving of Chaffhaye and Timothy (usually Chaffhaye in the a.m./timothy for lunch, Chaffhaye for dinner).

Everyone gets either Chaffhaye or timothy for the three meals (they aren't fed free-choice), I meter it out somewhat according to their weight. When you have several cows of different ages, regulating who gets what gets a bit more tricky, the reason I'm not very exacting about it.

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

3191 Posts


Posted - Jan 07 2016 :  5:12:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks for the specific details, it helps me compare them all.

in the end i think i need to cut out the alfalfa pellets except for as a milking treat as sally really comes and goes with her love affair of them... and then i think i might be ok. i am going to talk to another local farmer next week and get their opinion on what i am doing given they also have cows on pasture right down the road.

i only think about it in gallons when i start adding it up as our feed buckets have quarts indicated. today i started experimenting and realized when you take a small chunk of chaffhaye and drop it in the bucket it is almost two gallons - it is fluffy and such. so what sounds like a large amount, once you start handling it really isn't.

i'll try not to obsess over this ;> you too keeley!!

Firefly Hollow Farm , our little farmstead. Farmgirl living in the green piney woods of East Texas on 23 acres with a few jerseys, too many chickens, a pair of pugs and my Texan hubby (aka "lover boy")
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