Features feeding cows in the winter

The winter diet of cattle is different from the summer one, which is associated with the use of several other types of feed during this period. So that the cow does not feel a deficiency in vitamins and minerals, it is necessary to correctly compose a menu and take into account the basic recommendations for feeding, which will be discussed in this article.

Feed Characterization

Cow nutrition should be varied so that the animal does not feel a lack of trace elements, is healthy and active. The variety of feed types greatly affects the increase in milk yield or weight gain. There are several of their types, the characteristics of which must be considered in more detail.


Coarse foods include vegetation products, with a minimum percentage of moisture and a lot of fiber. The most famous roughage is hay. In addition, straw, branches, haylage are fed to animals in the form of rough food.

Hay in the cow's menu reaches half of all consumed products, sometimes even more (depending on growing technology, as well as on the physiological periods of some individuals). The most nutritious hay for cattle is a dried mixture of leguminous and cereal plants. At least 10 kg of hay is given to one animal per day.

Important! It is noteworthy that legumes and cereals in the form of hay separately are practically not used, but only as a mixture. This situation is due to a minimum% of protein and vitamins in cereals. Bean blanks without impurities of another grass are poorly preserved and often mold. Straw and dried branches are used very rarely in the cattle menu, due to the low nutritional value, the minimum percentage of sugars and proteins, as well as the scarce vitamin and mineral complex. When using these feeds, one has to add additional nutritional supplements to the diet to compensate for the lack of nutrients. One cow should eat no more than 5 kilograms of such food per day.

A profitable harvest of roughage is silting. To prepare haylage, the dried grass is crushed and rammed in containers or trenches, then it is tightly closed to prevent air from entering. Haylage is well preserved, nutritional losses are minimal (no more than 12%). One animal per day should eat about 10 kg of hay.


Juicy foods include plant foods that have a high percentage of moisture (about 90%). They can be prepared independently (silo) or collected from the garden (vegetables, root crops, fruits, fruits of tuberous plants). This food is very nutritious and has a high energy value. One animal per day should consume at least 7 kg of feed.

Due to the technological features in the preparation of silage, it is possible to achieve maximum preservation of the vitamin-mineral complex in the composition. When preparing silage, any green mass is used (various herbs, corn, leguminous and cereal plants), to which beets and carrots are often added in crushed form.

Cattle often produce raw potatoes, excluding rotten, moldy, or greenish ones. To improve nutrition, potato tubers are steamed or silage.

Important! Carrots with beets in the diet are used infrequently, as they contain a lot of sugar, which can provoke the bitterness of milk. It is recommended to add fodder beets to the menu of cows in case of reduction in the diet of hay.


As for feeding green feed to cows, preference is given to mowed cereals, legumes, herbs, vegetable tops, algae. Green fodder in large quantities is consumed by cattle in the summer, due to which it is possible to save significantly on fattening with purchased feed. In the summer, it is very beneficial to keep cattle on pastures, where animals can chew green grass all day in the quantity they need without involving additional labor.

The main advantage of green food is the maximum amount of nutrients in the composition and high nutritional value. Green grass, due to its high humidity, stimulates milk production, increasing milk yield. Green food for animals can be given without restriction; an animal can eat as many green feeds per day as it can.

However, there is a disadvantage of such food. Mowed greens quickly decay, become infected with microbes, therefore it is impossible to harvest them in large quantities, you need to mow fresh greens daily (with stall content).

Important! You should be especially careful, since among herbs can come across plants containing toxic substances that can cause the death of the animal.


Among the popular concentrates for feeding cattle, there are grain, bread crumbs, oilcakes and meal. Grain has a high nutritional value, so it is often used in the diet of dairy animals, so you can increase the number of milk yield. Oats, barley, wheat bran contain a large amount of protein, they are quite dietary.

Concentrated feeds are of high nutritional value and are indispensable in the process of compiling a high-quality daily diet. Such feed is used in the form of compound feed, which consists of 50% crushed grain and 50% bran, meal, grass meal and other impurities. Daily feeding rate - not more than 5 kg.

Waste production

The waste products that can be given to cattle include bran, flour dust, which are rich in phosphorus and fiber. They are offered to animals in quantities of up to 10 kg per day. Raw beetroot cake, bard and beer pellet are mixed with coarse food and fed to a cow up to 10 kg per day.

Find out what to do if the cow does not eat hay.

Daily diet

The daily menu of cattle and the number of products that are given to cows depend on the breed (meat or dairy). Special periods in the life of females (dead and pregnant) are also taken into account.


The female who bears the fetus should receive the necessary vitamin-mineral complex with food, which would be enough to maintain her body and develop the calf. The diet should contain foods that have high nutritional value, but at the same time be easily digestible.

Here is a sample diet for pregnant (weight 500 kg):

  • 15 kg of silage mixture;
  • 6 kg of hay;
  • 2 kg of spring straw;
  • 700 g of sunflower meal;
  • 1.5 kg of wheat waste (bran);
  • 1 kg of coniferous flour.
Important! It is very useful for pregnant females to enrich the diet with sugar beets, it is able to prevent diseases of the udder after calving . In the morning, the cow is given concentrates with a minimal admixture of roughage; in the afternoon, they are given juicy food, slightly mixing in the roughage. Evening meal - only roughage.


Dry cows should gain about 900 g per day in weight. It can sometimes be difficult to achieve such a result, since the physiological needs of dry individuals regularly change. Often, to make it easier to cope with the task, this period is divided into several stages, and feeding planning is carried out exclusively on them.

At the beginning of deadwood, until the 6th week, the menu of individuals (weighing 500 kg) is as follows:

  • haylage - 15 kg;
  • silo - 8 kg;
  • vegetables, any root vegetables or tubers - 3 kg.
Concentrates and products containing calcium are not given to dead individuals. In the morning they offer vegetables and root crops with an admixture of haylage, in the afternoon - silage and a little haylage, in the evening - only haylage.

3 weeks before birth, the diet is changed. At this time, the animal (600 kg of weight) is fed:

  • haylage - 15 kg;
  • silage - 12 kg;
  • concentrated feed (any) - 3 kg;
  • root vegetables, vegetables - 2 kg.

We recommend that you know how many liters of water per day you need to give a cow.

Calcium-containing products are introduced (in the required dosages), so that 1 g of food accounts for 8 g of calcium. In the morning - concentrates + haylage, at lunch - root crops, silage, haylage, in the evening - haylage.


Milking individuals should eat in sufficient quantities so that the milk yield is constantly increasing.

The feeding rate is calculated individually for each animal:

  • hay - 3 kg per 100 kg of weight;
  • root crops and tubers - 3 kg per 1 kg of milk yield;
  • any concentrates - 150 g per 1 kg of milk yield;
  • salt - 5 g per 100 kg of weight.
In the morning they give concentrate with hay, at lunch - juicy + hay, in the evening - rough.

Did you know? Cows have a well-developed sense of time, therefore, having milked a cow later than usual (even by 20 minutes), milk yield will decrease, and the fat content of the product will decrease by 0.2-0.4%.


Meat-raised individuals should eat well for fast weight gain. The winter diet of such animals (600 kg individual) is as follows:

  • bean and cereal hay - 15 kg;
  • silo - 8 kg;
  • grain - 2 kg;
  • root crops - 6 kg;
  • wheat bran - 2 kg;
  • meat and bone meal - 1 kg.
In the morning - concentrates, hay, in the afternoon - succulent, hay, in the evening - hay.

Common winter feeding mistakes

The main mistakes that livestock breeders make when organizing the process of feeding cattle in winter are:

  • the content in the diet of a large number of concentrates, which increases acidity and violates the intestinal microflora (this entails a deterioration in the processes of assimilation of vitamins and leads to fermentation of food in the body);
  • exclusion from the diet of purchased vitamin-mineral complexes;
  • non-compliance with the feeding schedule: on different days the same meal for the cow is carried out at different times;
  • a sharp transfer of cattle from one food to another (this applies to the transition from winter to spring diet). When a cow is immediately grazed in the meadows, the animal begins to consume a large amount of grass, and such a sharp transition is very harmful to the stomach;
  • lack of regular walking of animals, which provokes a strong decrease in appetite. Immunity drops.
Did you know? Cows are environmental pollutants. The fact is that cattle in the process of life emits a huge amount of methane, which is several times higher than the performance of airplanes and cars. Thus, a properly organized feeding process is an integral part of quality cow care. In compiling the winter diet, not only the weight of the individual should be taken into account, but also its physiological state, which requires special attention.

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