Overweight cows

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black1jack
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:17 pm

Overweight cows

Post by black1jack »

Hello all,
I'm looking for some advise please, I've been trying to get our cows pregnant ( with the help of a bull)! For a couple of years with very limited success.
In two years we have only managed 2 calves from 6 cows and 2 different bulls, the common denominator is our cows 3 of which have calved before ranging from 4 to 9 years old.
As the years have gone by, they have got progressively fatter and fatter!
Has anyone got any advice to get their weights down please?
I have bolused them to eliminate any mineral deficiency and had the vet look at them and she's at a loss.

Many thanks

Michael
Louisa Gidney
Posts: 807
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:00 am
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Re: Overweight cows

Post by Louisa Gidney »

How are you feeding them over winter? Have you a building where they can be penned individually, or tied up with neck chains the old-fashioned way? That way you can determine the ration for each animal so that they cannot over eat on ad lib fodder. There never used to be fat cattle in spring turned out of byres with neck ties. The rapid return to condition once on spring grass used to stimulate conception.
Zanfara Dexters
Tow Law
Co. Durham
black1jack
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:17 pm

Re: Overweight cows

Post by black1jack »

They are in a pole barn with a open yard in front. They have a round feeder for hay.
Unfortunately we don't have facilities to house them individually.
Louisa Gidney
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 11:00 am
Contact:

Re: Overweight cows

Post by Louisa Gidney »

Have you tried feeding straw rather than hay in the round feeder? Alternating one week on hay with no supplements and one week on straw with mineral lick supplement might help. Have you any way of not feeding them ad lib?
Zanfara Dexters
Tow Law
Co. Durham
black1jack
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:17 pm

Re: Overweight cows

Post by black1jack »

Thanks Louisa,
We have separated, the overweight cows and kept them outside on just grass( we have plenty) the steers, cows and calves are in the barn and yard on hay.
I'm hoping as the grass is loosing it's goodness all it will do is fill them up!
Mark S
Posts: 79
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:56 pm

Re: Overweight cows

Post by Mark S »

I am wondering if the condition of the cows and the fact they have got fatter and fatter could be down to management of the herd ?. Not sure what size of holding you have and the total number of stock carried, but as you say there is an abundance of grass. As you have cows and calves etc. housed, maybe now is the time to be looking at the best way to manage the herd in the spring. Could you strip graze to restrict intake, increase stocking rate, also could you rent out ground surplus to requirements during the summer .

Regarding condition of cows at present time, assuming cows with calves are not overfat, when where the calves born and are the cows back in calf, I would feed hay and keep the calves on the cows until 4 to 6 weeks prior to calving. Do not agree with the comment of having the cows tied up by the neck all winter, they need exercise, this won’t help them lose condition. Re the cows that are not in calf, when did they last calve ?. If you do manage to get them in calf due to them being as fat as you say you could have calving difficulties which could affect the possibility of a live calf and implications on the health and well-being of the cow. My advice which you might not like as you will be very fond of your Dexters, is to make a judgement call and cull these animals, especially if they have not calved for a number of years.

Mark S

Brereton Herd
black1jack
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2014 12:17 pm

Re: Overweight cows

Post by black1jack »

Thanks Mark, we are going to see if they loose weight over winter, then put them to the bull, it's been 2-3 years since they last calved. If unsuccessful in the spring then I'm afraid we will have to cull them.

Michael
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