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Creep Feeding

Jul 06, 2020

There are many factors to consider when deciding about starting a creep feeder ration for your calves. Some things to consider are time of calving, the cost of the creep feed, does it benefit your marketing strategy, what benefits does the calf get and forage quality is also a common factor.

The crude protein tends to drop in your lower level forages especially in your native grasses, after they have matured or gone dormant during the fall and winter months.  If your forages drop below five percent crude protein you will want to make sure you consider delivering extra nutrients to your calves. The best way to achieve those nutrients is by developing a creep feed ration with your Mid-Iowa nutritionist.

You can start a calf on creep feed ration at a very early age. One thing to note is that a calf’s rumen is not fully developed until it is two months old. Staring your calf on creep feed at three to four months old with a 30-day weaning period factored in will give them 80-120 days on creep feed before your weaning date.

Having your calves on creep feed will greatly reduce their weaning-time stress levels. As a producer you will see a much healthier calf and better weaning weights.  Even if you only start creep feeding 30-days before weaning your calves you will see a less stressful calf.

A creep feeding program that lasts 80-120 days can add an additional 50-80 pounds of gain. You will also see carcass improvements from creep feeding.

If you look at current calf prices, feed prices and a calf’s weight gain from using a creep feed ration, this would be a great opportunity to increase calf net dollars. Most of the time the weight that the calf will gain outweighs the feed costs.

Sometimes a grower will avoid creep feeding due to concerns with overconsumption that can lead to a loose stool or bloating in extreme cases. Starting your calves on Purina’s RangeLand creep feed for 30 days and then transitioning them to an Accuration creep feed will help limit the calf’s intake. The self-limiting technology will help the calf from overindulging on the high-energy creep feed. This technology will also help keep your costs in check by maximizing feed efficiency. Ideally you want your calves to consume about one percent of their body weight per day.

If you have any questions on which creep feed product is best for your operation give a member of the Mid-Iowa Feed Team a call at 641-366-3504

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