Cattle fattening: what and how to feed

When breeding cattle, the farmer wants to get meat and dairy products. For livestock to be highly productive, it must be properly fed. If, if you want to get large milk yields, it is enough to correctly calculate the diet, then to get a carcass with a good slaughter yield, it is important not only the menu, but also the amount of food consumed by the animal. This is already fattening.

The concept of fattening

Fattening is the dense feeding of livestock, aimed at a rapid increase in its mass and fatness. Its duration depends on the breed of livestock, age and physiological characteristics of each individual.

Usually, 2.5-3 months are spent on fattening adults, young animals who have not reached the age of one year are six to seven months, and young animals are older than one and a half years, but younger than two, three or four months.

Fattening Goals

Farmers who begin to fatten their animals have the following goals:

  • increase carcass slaughter weight and minimize fat;
  • change the chemical composition of the carcass (reduce the amount of water and protein);
  • maximize the quality of each part of the carcass in order to minimize the percentage of "waste".

Factors Affecting Success

The success of the feeding will be affected by:

  1. Livestock age. The quality of meat, the duration of fattening, and how the fattening pays off depends on this parameter. Young animals consume less food per kilogram of weight, and their weight gain is more intense due to physiological characteristics (the mass is gained due to protein tissue). At the output, meat products are tender, low-calorie, watery. From an economic point of view, such products are very expensive. Adult individuals gain weight intensively only in the first 1–1.5 months of fattening. Their meat is fatty, fibrous and of lower nutritional value.
  2. Breed and type. An animal of any type and breed can be fed for fattening, but it is most advisable to use British meat breeds. They are famous for the largest mass gain per day. Meat-oriented animals produce marbled meat, which is highly regarded. Moreover, products obtained from large meat individuals are more suitable for a person than meat of dairy animals.
  3. The conditions under which livestock is raised. Maximum feeding efficiency is achieved with intensive feeding. For this, livestock must be properly fed from birth until the time of slaughter. It is desirable that at the age of one year the fattening individual weighs about 350 kg. If there is a shortage in weight, then you need to grow, which will lead to a decrease in meat quality and an increase in feed costs.
  4. The condition of the cattle before fattening. The animal must be well-fed before being sent for fattening. This will reduce the duration of fattening, and therefore reduce the cost of obtaining meat products. With good fatness, young animals can be fed in 80-110 days. If fatness is average or lower, then the process will take about 4-5 months. Individuals with low weight will still have to grow. Cows with average fatness and below can be fattened for 75–90 days, and if fatness is above average, then 30–40 days.
  5. Care and maintenance. Good fattening requires a serious approach. A regular supply of food, cleaning of feeders, drinking bowls, so as not to infect the animal with an infection, and cleaning of manure, so that the bulls and cows feel comfortable, is necessary.
  6. The sex of the animal. This characteristic affects the quality of meat products and the rate of weight gain. In heifers and castrated bulls, meat turns out to be greasy and soft-fibrous, but at the same time, food costs are significant. Bulls give greater output at lower cost.

Types of cattle fattening

There are several options for dividing cattle fattening into species according to different characteristics. We give an example of the simplest separation.

Find out which feed is suitable for cattle.

In a quick way

Fast, or rather intensive, fattening of bulls and cows is usually practiced if it is necessary to obtain rapid weight gain in young animals. On such a "diet", as a rule, they put meat bulls, young cows and calves from the first calving, which were born from a meat bull and a dairy cow.

In general, this method is applicable for meat, dairy and dairy animals. At the output, meat products are of excellent quality, with a slightly higher percentage of fat content than beef from meat breeds.

In order to achieve such production indicators, calves begin to fatten when the lactation ends in the cows. Their menu is based on high-quality corn silage (the higher its quality, the better the mass gain).

If it is not possible to build a diet on corn silage, then it is replaced by an analogue of whole grains. True, feed consumption will then increase significantly, since analogues are less caloric.

An additional product is concentrated feed. They saturate the body of the animal with the missing elements. It is very important that the feed contains about 22-24% protein. Rich in protein: rapeseed meal, soybean, wheat, fodder beans, peas.

A growing body needs phosphorus, calcium, sodium. For this, young animals are given mineral feed, vitamin premixes.

Important! Feed the animal only with quality food. Do not give food affected by fungus or mold.


In this way, cattle of any age are fed. Using this technique, cattle menus are made from molasses, bard, beet pulp, potato pulp, and potato pulp. Coarse and concentrated feeds are also added to the calf’s menu.

Stall fattening is divided into three stages:

  • initial, lasting a month;
  • intermediate, lasting 40 days;
  • finish, lasting 20 days.

A menu is developed for each stage. So, from the very beginning of fattening to the 70th day, livestock can eat cheap feeds, but at the end of its diet should be significantly enriched with concentrated feeds. The transition to a new diet is gradual. It is advisable that it takes a week.

The daily food intake should be divided into 3-4 meals. Water should be freely available.

At the initial stage, livestock is gaining weight very actively. The body intensively accumulates fat, water and protein. Then the value of the mass gain decreases. The formation of body fat occurs. At the last stage, in the presence of high-quality food in the diet, the mass gain will again be intense, but lower than at the beginning.

Animals should get enough protein, fats, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins. Therefore, chalk, salt, bone meal should be given.

Varieties of feed

According to the composition of food products are divided into: basic, combined and mineral. We will talk about each of these types below.

It will also be useful for you to find out how much hay a cow needs per day, how much hay a cow needs for the winter, and what to do if the cow does not eat hay.


The entire diet of the animal is based on it. Corn silage is best used.

It should have the following characteristics:

  • have 32–35% dry matter;
  • assimilated by the body by more than 73%;
  • contain crude fiber up to 200 g / kg, crude protein 70–90 g / kg;
  • have an exchange energy above 10.5 MJ / kg.

Corn silage can be replaced by a cereal silo, but its energy value is 10-15% less. It is better not to give grassy silage, since it weakly replenishes energy costs and requires the inclusion of a lot of concentrated feed in the diet, and also significantly delays the feeding process.


Such feeds are intended to supplement the diet of livestock and saturate the body with the necessary substances. The main task of concentrated feed is to provide the right amount of protein. Therefore, feed should be given with a fraction of crude protein of 22-24%. High energy feeds are also used.

Protein feedEnergy feed
Soybean mealCorn grain
Rapeseed mealWheat
Sunflower mealBarley
Fodder beansDry pulp

In the daily menu of the animal should be present 2-3 kg of concentrated feed. Moreover, in different periods of fattening, its share should be different. Until the livestock weight has exceeded 4 centners, concentrated fodders account for 40% of the total dry food in its menu. When the weight is in the range of 4-6.5 centners, 28-30% of the feed is needed.


Mineral supplements should enrich the daily diet of cows and bulls. Their body really needs calcium and phosphorus (the first element needs two times more than the second). Sodium is also needed, which can be obtained from salt.

To saturate the body with vitamins, special additives are used. Such an addition of one individual per day needs 60-80 grams.

Did you know? Evolution has made cows ruminants. Due to the lack of claws, sharp teeth and high speed of movement, the ability to maintain satiety for a long time was needed. Therefore, cows try to first swallow as much food as possible, and then chew it calmly.

Fattening young meat breeds at home

When breeding young meat in the meat industry at home, you must adhere to certain rules and know some of the subtleties of fattening, which will allow you to get an increase of 700 or more grams per day.

Feeding Periods

The technology of feeding young animals includes three stages:

  1. Elementary. It has two phases: dairy and post-dairy. The total duration of this stage is 120-160 days. In the first phase, calves are reared 15-30 days old and weighing 40-60 kg. They are first fed milk, then gradually transferred to adult food. When they gain 65 kg, milk is completely excluded from their diet. In the second phase, easily digestible food is replaced by voluminous. Animals are kept at a temperature of 15-17 ° C and a humidity of 70%. 1.3-1.5 square meters should fall on one head.
  2. Intermediate. At this stage, the young grow up. Calves are accustomed to bulk food. The duration of the stage depends on how much weight the animal had when switching to rearing. Usually takes about six months (the calf should gain 290-320 kg). Animals are already kept at 8–16 ° C and 1.7–1.8 square meters per individual.
  3. The final one. It is fattening itself. Livestock usually gets on it at the age of one year and stays until it reaches 15-18 months and weighs 400-450 kg. Young animals are kept in a room where 2–2.3 square meters per individual.

Where to begin

If you are going to breed young animals, then it is advisable to make sure that their appearance coincides with the beginning of the warm season, when there will be a lot of juicy feed, which means that the cost of food will be minimal.

If you do not have animals from which you can get offspring, then calves should be bought at dairy farms. There is always a large selection of breeds, and animals are well looked after. It is advisable to give preference to the breed popular in your region, so that acclimatization does not become the main obstacle to cattle breeding.

It is best if the calf is 3-4 months old and weighs about a hundred kilograms.

Cattle is not very demanding on the conditions of detention, so there will be no problems with the arrangement of the barn. And young food is also unpretentious in food. The main thing is to properly feed him.

Important! It should be remembered: if you are not going to limit yourself to a couple of goals and plan to increase the number to a dozen, or even more, you will need documents that allow you to call yourself a private entrepreneur. Livestock assistants will also be needed.

Diet depending on the period

We provide you with a brief description of fattening periods and menus for each of them.

Initial (weight gain 650-700 g / day)28-34 kg of regenerated milk; 38-45 kg of compound feed; 12-22 kg of soft hay.
Intermediate (the feed is spent a lot and the mass gain is large)high-quality corn silo in unlimited quantities; 500-1000 g of hay or grass haylage of the highest quality; 800-1000 g of protein food; 1000-1200 g of high-energy food; vitamin and mineral supplements.
Final (feed costs are reduced along with a decrease in mass gain, fat deposits accumulate)high-quality corn silo in unlimited quantities; 500 g of the highest quality hay; 600-1000 g of protein food; 1500-2000 g of high-energy food; vitamin and mineral supplements.

Feeding Features

Depending on what kind of feed prevails in the diet of cows, fattening happens: on residues from technical production (pulp, bard), on local feed (silage, haylage, root crops), on pasture.


If the diet is based on pulp, then you need to remember that it does not have enough fiber, fat, carotene, but a lot of calcium, potassium, carbohydrates. Usually this is the menu for cattle bred in areas where beets are intensively grown.

To ensure that the food is nutritious, coarse fodder (1-1.5 kg / c), fodder fat, mineral phosphate top dressing, salt and nitrogen-containing additives are added to the pulp. Protein feed and bone meal should also be given. Switch to this menu in a week.

A mature individual needs 65–80 kg of pulp per day, and young animals need 40–50 kg. From coarse feed, hay is suitable for young and fresh straw with hay for mature individuals.

Did you know? In 1965, in the Krasnodar Territory, 12, 000 heads of cattle were able to feed on beet pulp and additives. The mass gain was obtained at 700 g / day, and food waste amounted to 8 ke / kg gain.

On the bard

Usually bard is the basis of the diet in farms located near distilleries. Although barda and liquid (94% water), but it is rich in fiber, carbohydrates, proteins and trace elements, so it is quite nutritious.

Fresh product is rarely used, as it is poorly stored, therefore it is usually used in a processed form. Processing is carried out by distilleries.

To feed cattle on a bard, it must be mixed with straw chopped or crushed corn stalks (100 parts to 6-8 parts). For greater efficiency and attractiveness of the product, they use a hot bard for soaking hay.

During the day, the animal should eat 15-20 kg / kg of fresh bard, and hay and straw - 7-8 kg (mature individual), 4-6 kg (young individual). As a concentrated feed, barley and corn ground are suitable. It needs 1.5-2.5 kg for one individual.

Of the mineral additives used chalk - 0.1 kg for a mature individual and 0.7-0.8 kg for a young.

Important! So that cows do not develop barda mokhetka, they need to give more than a kilogram of rough food per 10 liters of barda and control the dryness of the litter.

Cotton production waste

This method of fattening is popular in farms near cotton production. The food is husk (4-5 kg), meal / cake (2-5 kg), hay (2.5-3 kg), corn or barley (0.6-1 kg). A dietary variety of carbohydrate-containing foods is acceptable.


Silo feed cattle in the cold season. Used corn, vetch-oat, sunflower, grass silage. Additives are straw, hay, beets, concentrates, fodder cabbage, potatoes. Urea deficiency is compensated by introducing it into the diet with animal feed and silage.

Do not mix with water. The norm of urea is 50 g of young animals and 80 g of mature animals.

When silage is the basis of the ration, then feed should be 20-30% of the total amount of food consumed per day. Young animals need up to 30 kg of silage per day, and a mature animal needs 35–40 kg. You also need to give chalk (10-15 g) and salt (40-50 g).

With the help of fattening it is possible to achieve not only high rates of weight gain, but also to obtain meat of different quality. Depending on what breed and what age you put on fattening, as well as how you will feed the animal, at the output you can get products of various categories.

Therefore, it is very important to follow all the rules of fattening, so that the costs are minimal and productivity is maximum.

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