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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Oct 06 2015 :  6:06:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
andrea, we just got our first cows last week so we are still working through this. mary jane has given us specific advice, and it is great, but what i mean by "working through" is understanding it. to me it seems so confusing, as none of the ingredients are used in my daily life in their raw form, so i am trying to wrap a "numbers mind" around it.

all that to say i am glad you are asking questions as i am learning the "why" to what i am doing blindly right now!

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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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Oct 06 2015 :  8:15:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Txbikergirl - I am so glad that I'm not the only one who's leaning the ropes when it comes to nutrition! It's definitely been a challenge wrapping my head around it all too. We have a great place to ask questions though...so thankful for that! :)
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Oct 06 2015 :  9:12:09 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
1) On occasion, I mix the kelp in with the minerals but free-choice kelp is best. (I mixed it in this past August/Sept because Michael Wicks said a cow low in iodine will attract more flies and kelp is high in iodine.) I’ve noticed that some animals nibble on it more than others.

2) I think loose minerals are a good thing but if I were you, I'd use up what I already had on hand.

The Redmond rock doesn't replace their need for minerals.

You should make sure your cows will eat the cow cookies on a consistent basis before you commit to it as part of your supplementation program.

Here’s how the food list in my book works for me presently. I don’t have great year-round pasture, nor do I have a consistent source of good hay, hence, my recent conversion to Chaffhaye. Now that I’m using Chaffhaye, I rarely feed my girls alfalfa pellets and once I use up what I do have, I won’t buy them again. I needed the alfalfa pellets as a protein supplement for the not-so-great hay I had access to. That said, alfalfa pellets are also a good behavioral modification treat. The grain pellets serve the same purpose. I think it was Janet who said her girls wouldn’t touch the alfalfa pellets at first.

The organic grain pellets I use as a high-protein feed for my calves once I start weaning them. Plus they’re softer to chew for the little ones and easier on the teeth than the alfalfa pellets for the older girls. If you’re confident your pasture and/or winter hay is of good quality, the only reason you might need alfalfa pellets then are for training treats or treats during milking. I happen to like feeding them the grain pellet treats instead of alfalfa treats, not as a source of food but as a food supplement, because Modesto also mixes in vitamins and minerals and diatomaceous earth for parasite control.

Whenever any of my girls or boys get runny stools, I run for the baking soda to help buffer things and clear it up. When I want to make sure they’re getting a good dose, I mix a ¼ cup in with something I know they’ll eat. Otherwise, free-choice is best.

Don’t go to a lot of expense at first. It’s best to try foods and supplements in small amounts one at a time. Cindy, didn’t you say that Sally is already preferring your grass hay to Timothy?

I hope I’ve answered your questions. If not, let me know!

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

3197 Posts


Posted - Oct 07 2015 :  04:11:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
yes mary jane, sally and elsa are both enjoying the local hay. i keep trying to mix in the remaining timothy but they eat all the hay and not all the timothy. so i am using up timothy now with the chaffhaye during milking and then she eats it all.

thanks for all the info to andrea, every morsel helps me understand a bit more what i am doing here so i just don't follow instructions blindly.

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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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Oct 07 2015 :  07:29:28 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mary Jane, thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

A few follow up questions as I've been thinking this over :)

1) So if our hay supply for the cold months is considered good quality, I won't need to incorporate alfalfa pellets or a grain mix? During the warm months we have great lush pasture for her.

I'm going to post a picture of our hay once we get it this weekend to see what you all think...it's 1st cutting that was never sprayed with anything so essentially it was organically produced. It has a mix of timothy grass, alfalfa and other things since it wasn't sprayed.

2) To get her daily vitamins & minerals in - if I don't end up having to feed alfalfa or grain, what's the best way to daily feed these? Just by themselves in her feed bucket, or could she get enough in her cow cookie (that is, if she ends up liking them!)?

3) If I don't end up doing the cookies, how should I make sure she's getting DE? Is that something she really needs?

We're AI'ing her later this month so once she's bred, would I need to adjust anything in her diet?

Thanks again for all of your help on this...I can't tell you how much it helps me!
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Oct 07 2015 :  07:34:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Your questions are perfect. I love the way you're thinking this through. Let me get back to you when I have more than two shakes of a lamb's tail. BTW, your hay/pasture situation sounds ideal. Can my cows and I come and live at your place:)?

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Oct 07 2015 :  07:46:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That would be fun! haha :) Miss Persimmon would be pretty happy with that arrangement I'm sure! Although our little 1.25 acre pasture may get chowed down rather quickly with that many bovines running around the place ;) haha! It's worked well for us this season with just Percy and our two sheep grazing it. Even this late in the year there's still plenty to go around which I'm thankful for. It's starting to get a little brown on the top though, and has slowed down noticeably in growing, so won't be long until we get the hay out. It will be interesting next year to see if it'll be enough with a calf in the mix!
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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Oct 09 2015 :  3:48:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Andrea,
If your hay/pasture are good, no, you don't need alfalfa pellets, however, you will need to train her to come to milk without any kind of treat. It certainly can be done.

The cow cookies are an excellent way to get them their minerals and DE. As an alternate to thinking you may or may not need those things, you can always have a vet do a blood draw and test for minerals (and also trace minerals) and also collect a stool sample and test for parasites. If all that looks good, then parasites aren't a problem and your hay/pasture is providing the minerals your cow needs.

When I tested for minerals, several of my animals were low in different minerals plus our area tends to be low in selenium. I've done pretty good on parasites overall and have never had to resort to chemicals. That said, I've always supplied them with DE.

Hope that makes sense and that I've answered your questions.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Oct 14 2015 :  08:57:54 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the reply Mary Jane :)

That's good to know about having a vet do a test for mineral levels. I just had her fecal done yesterday (along with our sheep who were the main concern), and everyone came back clear. That always makes me happy :) I've never wormed her with any conventional wormers yet, and my vet actually recommended not using them if we can avoid it, so all the more reason to go natural route with DE. Thinking I'll be whipping up a batch of those cow cookies soon.

I meant to post a picture of our winter hay supply that we got this past weekend...so what do you guys think, does it look like I'll need to add alfalfa into her diet for winter? It's 1st cutting, mix of alfalfa and timothy grass, among other weeds since it hadn't been sprayed. I walked the field where it was cut when we loaded the hay, and it looked pretty good to me.

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maryjane

6942 Posts


Posted - Oct 14 2015 :  10:12:55 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Gosh, I think it sounds fabulous. Does it have much dust when you handle it? You can always get a forage test done on a sampling of it. I think cow cookies are the way to go for you. I'm about to make a fresh batch and make some much smaller (like little balls) for my calves.

Great job on the parasite control. I know the feeling when you hear that all are clear!

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Oct 14 2015 :  1:03:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's not dusty at all, and smells wonderful. I kept saying all day as we unloaded the bales "I just LOVE how good this hay smells!" and I don't think anybody shared my sheer joy in the matter. haha! It's strange that there are no air fresheners or candles with this scent for sale ;)

Well that's good to know that alfalfa aren't 100% needed at this point. I may still buy a bag to keep around to give a handful for a treat like you'd mentioned.

Thanks again for your words of wisdom in all of this! :)

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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Nov 08 2015 :  4:03:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
To follow up from previous posts on this thread; I got my feed order in this week!

I originally wanted to place an order with Modesto Milling, but since I'm in Michigan, the shipping was going to be approximately $300...so that option was out. I called our local feed mill thinking I wouldn't be able to find everything there, but to my surprise they could order everything on my list; DE, alfalfa pellets, sodium bicarb, and Kelp :) Best part was the kelp because it's the same organic Kelp Modesto offers. Excited to get feeding all these goodies to Miss Persimmon!






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txbikergirl

3197 Posts


Posted - Nov 08 2015 :  4:15:50 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
thanks for the info debbie. i am in a similar boat, being in Texas and half way across the USA modesto milling shipping costs makes my order impractical. the funny thing is that until 10 years ago i lived just a hop, skip and a jump from modest milling ;>

i found a short-term supplier for everything i need but we are still searching for long-term sources as the costs on certain things are extremely high, and it took three suppliers to give us everything we want... which means every 8 weeks we have to truck around to three different places to gather feed stuff.

we are quite rural, and NO ONE less than an hour away is interested in stocking or special ordering anything that is organic or GMO free. i honestly didn't think it would be this hard when planning for the cows, and everything else with the cows but this is pretty effortless!

for anyone else rural, try "azure standard" which is an internet co-op. they are like a family owned whole foods based out of the northwest, and they ship all over the world. they have everything - seeds, livestock feed, fresh produce, frozen products, toiletries, etc. everything but coffee, so assuming that is a religious preference for them.

you order over the internet, but first you have to call to ask about your nearest delivery location, and then call that delivery organizer to join their group ;> then when you order you can tell them the delivery location #. then on the appointed day/time once a month a truck pulls into that location and everyone else in the co-op helps unload the truck and you pick up your order and go. it actually made "scratch and peck feeds" affordable to me for my chickens, and was a very convenient thing for me until i reduced my work hours to milk the cow... now the pickup is smack dab in the middle of milking. so i need to find another avenue. but they do have organize gmo free alfalfa pellets and other stuff to make rural livestock feeding easier.

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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Andrea0509

155 Posts


Posted - Nov 08 2015 :  4:55:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Cindy,

Good to know about Azure Standard. I'd heard about that before but didn't realize they shipped everywhere. My local mill didn't have a large selection of organic/non gmo products, so I'll check Azure if I ever need to!

The things we do for our animals...but I wouldn't do it any other way! I love knowing we're taking the best care of them possible, they're living happy lives, and in return we get so much. :)

Thanks for the info!
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