Creep feeding can be an excellent tool to get calves to grade or gain weight during the winter. Economic studies have found relative to calf gain that it is more cost effective to feed the calf than it is to feed the cow to produce milk. When a calf reaches 3 months of age it's rumen is developed, the cow's milk production begins to wane, and they become more reliant on eating for themselves. If there isn't plenty of good available forage, a gap in the calf's nutrition can occur. Nutrient gaps typically occur during the winter when the cattle are primarily eating hay or in the summer during a drought or when only over mature or weedy grasses are available.
One thing to consider when buying a creep feeder is getting a feeder large enough to hold 3 tons of bulk feed. Bulk feed pricing typically will save a producer $50 per ton. A 150bu creep feeder will hold 3 tons of the most common feeds. Mobile creep feeders can be brought roadside in bad weather when a bulk truck can not travel the field.
More information on the nutrient requirements of cattle, the life stages and nutrient value of forages will be linked to other parts of the website soon.
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