Vitamins, Minerals and Protein and Fly Control in Cattle Nutrition


Hi I’m Mike. The day to day requirements for cows aren’t
many. They need food, they need water, but that
doesn’t mean that as the one in charge of them, that’s where it ends. My job is to make sure the cows have what
they don’t even know they need, and much like a toddler you sometimes have to tell
them eat their vitamins on Our Wyoming Life. Welcome to Our Wyoming Life a few years ago
my wife Erin and I quit our corporate jobs in radio to come back and help on the family
ranch. The learning curve has been huge and now that
is just our family left here along with Erin’s Mom. That curve has gotten tighter and tighter. Before we came here, our meat came on a Styrofoam
tray from the grocery store, now we raise our own. Veggies were purchased in the produce section,
now if we need broccoli, we go out and pick it. Our entire life was turned upside down, it’s
now hectic, stress filled and sometimes no matter what decision you make, you know its
going to be the wrong one. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Please take a second and subscribe, join us
as we explore the ranch life and escape the ordinary. You wouldn’t think that cow would be high
maintenance but like your teenage girlfriend they are hard to please. The grass on the other side of the fence is
always greener, or sweeter and the more time I spend with them, I am convinced that I am
the adult in our Mike – Cow relationship. I guess that’s the way it should be, having
any animal make it your responsibility, whether it’s a single goldfish or hundreds of cows. Heck, even that guy from Jurassic Park had
to take care of those dinosaurs, although he didn’t do that good of a job of it, but
I guess if a cow gets loose its not going to eat ya. As with any animal, the first step in taking
care of them usually lies with nutrition and that’s where we start today. With the youngest cows on the ranch, the bottle
calves. The bottle calves are the delinquents of the
ranch. Each of these 4 calves were taken from their
mom for one reason or another and became my responsibility. 3 of their 4 were the second calf in a set
of twins. Mom cows have a tough time keeping track of
two calves and sometimes even feeding them, so we adopted them and promised mom we would
raise them right. Although I do get a lot of the “you’re
not my mom” vibe from them. Each day they require attention, food and
water to start. Today they are getting just a little bit of
grain to mix in with their regular diet of food pellets they receive. They are now on average 4 months old, they
are weaned from the bottle and now it’s time for them to grow. The pellet they receive is called range and
grow. It contains everything they need including
vitamins and minerals that their moms may not be getting on the pasture. More on that later though. Just know, they may be secluded from the rest
of the herd, but they have each other and are the best fed cows on the ranch. Their water tub is also cleaned and refilled
daily. You may have noticed flies, with livestock
come flies. Some years are worse than others and this
is the second bad fly year we have had in a row. The increase in moisture this summer has led
to increased breeding and, if you remember your biology, that leads to more flies. With the calves, we combat flies with a spray
on fly control and each calf gets a dose. With our work done for now with the calves,
its now time to head out to the moms in the pasture. Today we are going to be adding supplemental
vitamins and minerals to their diets. The grass on pasture is what it is and I know
its low in protein and other trace minerals cows need to be healthy. There are 7 trace minerals cows require, Cobalt,
copper, iodine, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc. Some areas of the country are known to be
lacking one or several of these minerals. In the great plains, selenium is almost absent
from the soil, as can be copper and cobalt so feeding trace mineral blocks is a great
way to combat these deficiencies. In addition, we are going to be putting out
lick barrels, 250-pound tubs of crude protein to supplement the cows forage, it also contains
trace minerals and when fed on a free choice program the cows may move toward blocks or
tubs but either way they are getting what they need. Currently the cows are spread out over about
400-500 acres, soon they will be moving to a new pasture that measures over two thousand
acres where they will finish up their summer, when they get down there they will get spread
out but even now, they are spread pretty thin, some are here, some are there and some are
everywhere. This is a good thing, because when start putting
out supplement the word will spread and cows will be here soon, so we better get to work. Choosing where to feed supplements can work
two ways. Usually we feed where we want cows to move,
new pasture or areas where they haven’t grazed. Today we are using these treats, which is
what cows treat them as, to move them back into an area that they have already eaten. This may not make much sense. But what this are needs is fertilization,
and rather than have me, move and spread manure in this area, I’m letting the cows do it
for me. As they move across the pasture to get to
their treat, they help me out, saving fuel and time. Watch your toes, these 250 lb barrels are
heavy and somewhat awkward, rolling them off the bed of the truck is the fastest way for
me to feed them. The cover comes off and the cows that are
early for the party are already getting to work on them. And it is a party, remember I said word would
spread. Well its doing that now and although not all
the cows will head this way right away, a number of them will and will rush to be first,
second or even third in line. Some cant even be bothered to go to the gate
and cross the fence in their own special way. Remind me to keep an eye on her. A cow that jumps fences, is always a headache. With the last of 1000 pounds of supplemental
protein going out, now the lick blocks can go out also, trace minerals including natural
salt blocks that the cows just love. As with the calves, fly control is in these
guys future as well but because we can’t spray every single cow and calf out here we
have a couple of different methods. At branding, each calf received a fly tag
to keep the flies away. In addition to protecting the calves from
flies, the tags also rub off on their moms and give them some relief from biting flies. In addition, we are going to be filling up
fly bags today. Fly bags hang from a frame, and now this isn’t
a swing set for cows, it’s just a large frame that I repurpose to hold a fly bag. Its filled with and insecticide powder that
will come out of the bottom on the bag as cows move underneath it. Coating herself in the powder is another free
choice activity that a cow can do. Those that do figure it out, receive the benefit,
those that don’t, well don’t. Here’s a hint, figure out which direction
the wind is blowing before you fill a fly bag. Or wait for a calm day, which around here
might leave you waiting a while. It is surprising that even lush pastures that
look green may still only contain 6 to 8 percent protein and a mature beef cow requires at
least 10 so having a way to make sure that your cows are taken care of nutritionally
is right up there with making sure they have that food itself. As with most things in ranching, there are
different trains of though on this, some say lick barrels are too expensive and a waste
of money and although we don’t have them out all the time, when we do it offers cows
many ways to get the vitamins and minerals they need. Like a giant flintstones vitamin, without
the food coloring. A few years ago, I didn’t know and really
didn’t care about cattle nutrition. Cows ate grass and that was it, but now I
have crammed my mind so full of it that I probably over think it, but at least I think
about it, and now so do you. Thanks for watching, be sure to subscribe
and check us out on Facebook for more that never makes it to YouTube. The next project on the list is the new pig
area, as new baby pigs are arriving very soon and they need a place to live. We will tackle that on the project list on
Tuesday. So until then, have a great week and thanks
for joining us in our Wyoming life.

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