Cattle food

Productive indicators of cattle depend on proper nutrition. The norms and types of feed required are determined by the scientific departments of agricultural holdings. Every farmer should know how to feed cattle, taking into account accepted standards. How, when compiling a diet, to adjust it to the characteristics of the livestock and goals, will be discussed in this review.

What are the feeds

When compiling a diet, several important parameters are usually taken into account. Among them, the type of feeding, breed, productivity, physical condition of animals. So, in the summer green feeds are of great importance, and in winter, roughage and concentrates take on their function.

The main diet of cattle includes the following types of feed:
  • coarse - hay;
  • juicy - root crops;
  • concentrates;
  • green grasses.


Concentrated feeds are substances that contain a dry mixture of nutrients. Their task is to improve the nutritional value of the diet and provide high productive indicators. Any mixture (feed) is enriched with vitamin and mineral supplements. The elemental composition and how to give them to animals is indicated on the packaging. Did you know? Cows - owners of 1 stomach with 4 different digestive compartments. Concentrates are usually made in the form of granules. They are very nutritious, so their amount in the diet does not exceed 50 g. Combined feed and premixes are included in this category.

Compound feed

Compound feed is a mixture of cereals with a high content of nutrients. The peculiarity of the compound feed is that it can completely replace the entire diet, and then we are talking about a complete replacement of all other feeds. If it only supplements the main diet, then it is a concentrate. The third group includes various feed additives: yeast, protein and vitamin complexes.

The composition of the feed depends on the purpose of raising animals: to get meat, milk (or both at the same time). Full-fledged feed allows you to get an increase in productive indicators by 10-15%. If it is added to the main diet, then with the same increase in feed consumption will be higher.

The composition of the feed includes:

  • cereals - wheat, oats, barley, corn;
  • legumes - fodder beans;
  • Pancake week crops - a sunflower.
Additionally, the composition includes:
  • vitamins A, C, E, K, D, a group of vitamins B;
  • trace elements - iron, copper, manganese, iodine, zinc, cobalt;
  • meal and cake;
  • a piece of chalk;
  • table salt.


Premix is ​​a mixture of biologically active elements (vitamins and minerals). This is a powdery mass, which is added to the wet mixes, enriching their composition.

Typical premix composition:

  • a set of vitamins A, B, C, D, E;
  • minerals: magnesium, iodine, selenium, calcium, zinc, copper, sulfur, iron;
  • filler.
Learn more about the composition and methods of applying premixes for cattle.


The composition of roughage includes:

  • hay;
  • straw;
  • young branches of trees.

The micronutrient composition of roughage depends on which herbs or branches are included in it. Hay is harvested in the summer and included in the winter diet. Straw is obtained from cereal stalks after threshing. It is not as nutritious as hay, but it is necessary to maintain a healthy intestinal microflora. In grazing, cows often eat tree branches, so they are also taken into account in nutrition. The branches of conifers are processed into flour and added to the mash in winter.

Did you know? Cows spend 8 hours a day eating, 8 hours chewing gum and 8 hours sleeping.

Daily rate of hay

The rate of hay is calculated per 100 kg of live weight. On the day it needs about 30 kg with a ratio of 2-6 kg of hay per 100 kg of weight. Hay is involved in the regulation of milk formation. So, during the dry season, hay is 50% of the diet, and during lactation - only 25%.

Why do not eat hay

Hay has different nutritional values. Spring, mowed in the budding phase, contains the maximum amount of nutrients. By autumn, grass will lose most of its nutrients. Such hay is called “poor, ” and cows can refuse to use it (especially if there are more delicious ingredients in their diet).

In order not to happen that the hay was purchased, and the animals refuse to eat it, pay attention to the appearance of the goods. If there are no peduncles, many stems and not enough leafy greens, then this is “poor hay”, and your animals will definitely refuse to use it.

It is useful to know how much hay a cow needs per day.


Juicy foods include:

  • silage;
  • haylage;
  • root crops, tubers and melons.

Did you know? The average cow consumes about 45 kg of feed per day. Silage is harvested from green mass by fermentation in special silage pits. Due to its nutritional properties, it improves digestion and helps the absorption of other feeds. Mowed grasses are also used for haylage. They are dried and after 2-3 days, when the degree of drying reaches 50%, they are rolled up.


Green feeds are grasses that grow in the grazing zone. It can be meadow herbs, garden weeds - almost any kind of plant.

Do not be afraid that cows will eat a poisonous plant. It is ruminants that are considered experts on the quality of vegetation. If on a pasture they bypass some kind of grass, then it is toxic to the body.

Seasonally Feeding

Determining what feed cattle in one or another period of the year, take into account the absence of green feed in the winter. The winter diet should be more nutritious than the summer one, because the animal needs not only to gain weight, but also to maintain body temperature. Therefore, cereals and concentrates are required.

In winter

In winter, food should contain a sufficient amount of energy and protein, as well as mineral and vitamin supplements. In very cold weather, additional food is provided for feeding, which maintains the state of the body and allows you to gain weight. Animals are fed twice a day - in the morning and in the evening.

Get to know the features of cow feeding in winter.

A cow in excellent condition should receive (per day per 100 kg of live weight):

  • 3-4 kg of grass (hay);
  • 7-8 kg of silage;
  • 5 kg of straw;
  • 45 g of concentrates.

For lean cows, the diet is changed:
  • 5 kg of grass (hay);
  • 9 kg of silage;
  • 2.3 kg of oat or barley straw;
  • 1.8 kg of cereals (barley).
Six weeks before calving, the amount of feed fed is increased by about 15% to meet the increased needs of the animals. After calving, food intake is increased by 10%. A cow that produces 10 liters of milk should receive 25% more energy, and this should be provided for in a typical diet. At the same time, part of the roughage is removed and replaced with grain.

Did you know? The term "cattle" comes from the old French "chattel" ( " as in a cage ") . In many regions of the world, cattle remain an indicator of economic wealth.

Summer feeding

The objectives of the summer diet are aimed at the daily intake of the required number of feed units, as well as supporting the digestion process. Cows also need more water in the summer. For 1 animal, at least 200 liters of water are needed in hot weather.

The composition of the summer diet:
  • grass and green feed - 45 kg;
  • hay –1 kg;
  • salt - 50 g.

Diet depending on the direction

For dairy cows, juicy feed is added to the diet to maintain lactation. For cattle in the meat sector, the optimal type of feeding is chosen, the feeding scheme and be sure to add concentrates rich in protein and energy to increase muscle mass.


To enhance lactation, dairy cows need to consume a lot of vegetables, fresh herbs and root crops. Water also has milk-producing properties - it needs at least 40 liters.

Read more about choosing a diet for dairy cows.

Daily rate:

  • fodder beets - 5 kg;
  • carrots - 7 kg;
  • gourds - 8 kg;
  • greens - 30 kg;
  • hay - 1 kg.
The total diet should take into account that for every 1 kg of milk produced, at least 350 g of feed should be spent. The norm implies a cow weighing 500 kg and a milk volume of 30 liters.

Important! To produce more milk, the cow needs to lie a lot. At this time, blood rushes to the udder, which enhances lactation.


Meat cows can be fed using several technologies. The whole diet is based on:

  • full feed;
  • summer grazing of cows;
  • stall maintenance.
When compiling a diet based on compound feed, you should be guided by the information on the package about the daily allowance for animals of different age groups.

Fattening cows must be grazed in summer. Grazing time - at least 13 hours a day. At the same time, cattle eats as much food as necessary. The daily gain is 1-2 kg. Necessarily need access to water at the rate of 30 liters per day. Additionally, animals need to provide mineral supplements of 12-15 g:
  • calcium;
  • phosphorus;
  • salt.
In conditions of stall keeping, the animal should receive:
  • green mass - 60%;
  • concentrates - 40%.
Did you know? Cows are descendants of wild bulls. They were first domesticated in southeast Turkey about 10, 500 years ago.

Meat and dairy

Cows of meat and dairy type should be provided with root crops, silage, succulent fodder to support lactation and additives for building muscle mass, including squirrels. Protein is necessary for both lactation and growth. On average, a dairy cow will need 2.8-3.2 kg of dry food per 100 kg of live weight. The value of 1 kg of dry matter will be 0.85 energy feed units, each of which should have at least 80% protein.

Period-specific feeding

In feeding cows secrete:

  • rest period - dead wood;
  • dough;
  • lactation
  • launch.
The dead period is also divided into 2 parts. The first - from the moment of launch and up to 20 days before calving. At this time, there should be little water in the diet, there should be no green and succulent feed, so that the animal passes from the productive period to rest and the accumulation of nutrients for calving. Over the next 3 weeks before the calf is born, the cow is returned to intensive feeding. Milk production will begin with calving.

The next 100 days will last for an interruption in order to achieve maximum milk production in the subsequent lactation period.

Hearing and Lactation

The first 3 months after calving is called a dairy. During this period, the cow gives the maximum amount of milk. It is necessary to increase the amount of feed gradually, by 2 energy feed units per day, until optimal indicators are achieved. For this, feed is added to the diet.

The dry matter rate at the beginning of the period is 15 kg. The ratio will be:

  • bulk feed - 60%;
  • concentrates - 40%.
From the second lactation period, the amount of feed depends on productivity.

For cows with a milk yield of 8-10 kg of milk per day, it is necessary (feed):

  • rough - 14 kg (hay and straw);
  • juicy - 4 kg;
  • green - 5 kg;
  • concentrates - 1 kg;
  • minerals - 45 g.
If the animal brings 2 times more milk, then the amount of feed increases by 50%. Particular attention is paid to saturating the diet with proteins of plant and animal origin. For highly productive animals, it is important to avoid obesity and give compound feed strictly according to the standards.

Running and dead wood

Stopping milking before the next calving is called a launch. It will last for a week - for cows with medium milk yields or two - for highly productive animals. During this time, the cow is stopped milking and transferred to a dormant state - dead wood.

Important! If the stoppage of lactation was performed medically, then you should not drink the milk of this cow for 48 hours. At this time, the animal receives roughage with a low content of nutrients. The amount of silage should not exceed 8 kg per day. Hay is given according to the needs of the animal. It is very important to exclude juicy foods, as well as calcium from the diet. Water is limited to 1 bucket per day.

Three weeks before calving, you will need to start preparatory feeding, including feed for 25 energy units. Daily nutritional value of the diet is increased by 2 energy units.

When compiling a cattle diet, always consider the direction of productivity, the state of the cow and those parameters (goals) that you would like to achieve. Keep track of indicators, and then you can create an effective feeding scheme for your animals by changing the ratio of parts of the diet.

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