How much cow does hay need per day

When keeping cattle, the correct and balanced diet of cows plays a large role in the volume of milk yield, therefore, each farmer must understand how much hay should be per individual and which is best used when feeding animals.

Which hay is best for cows

There are several varieties of this product, and each of the species has its own nutritional value and vitamin composition, which is definitely worth considering when compiling a diet of burenki.


Hay made from legumes is an excellent source of protein for a cow, not to mention the fact that it is a good storehouse of vitamins and minerals. Clovers, soybeans, alfalfa, peas and chickpeas are mainly used to prepare this variant of food reserves.

Regular use of bean hay in the diet allows you to increase the protein part of the milk received from the cow and increase the weight gain of the animals themselves, but a shortage of carbohydrates should be prevented.

Violation of the balance of BZHU can lead to pathologies of the digestive tract, contribute to an increase in acetone bodies in the blood and upset the balance of fatty acids.

Typically, the proportion of leguminous hay is reduced in the dry period, and a week before the expected date of delivery of the cow, it is generally excluded from the diet. Among the main disadvantages of this variety is the complexity of the procurement and further safety.

Clovers, soybeans, peas and other legumes are often affected by mold and quickly deteriorate at the slightest humidity in the store. This is largely due to the high moisture content in the green mass, a thick stem and a large number of leaves.

Did you know? Clover is not only a valuable food component, but also an excellent defender that can repel snakes from your territory. Reptiles try to avoid areas with plantings of this plant.


To harvest cereal hay, the following herbs are sown in advance:

  • Timothy
  • wheat grass;
  • boneless bonfire;
  • clover;
  • breadcrumbs.

Compared to legumes, they all have less nutritional value, but with the same unit of area the yield will be larger, and it will be easier to harvest it: plants are not so demanding on the conditions of cultivation and further storage.

In addition, in the process of drying the green mass, the loss of existing nutrient components is minimized, which makes cereals the main component of the diet of cattle.

From forbs

To get the most benefit for a cow, you can harvest hay from picking different herbs by adding the same healthy legumes to less nutritious cereals. The most famous and often used mixes today are mixtures of vetch and oats, clover and timothy, alfalfa and timothy.

True, this only applies to cultural plantings, but poisonous plants can also be found in meadow and mountain hay, so it is advisable to collect vegetation only in proven areas as far as possible.

The simultaneous cultivation of cereals and legumes contributes to their mutual positive influence: the nutritional value of the feed increases, the likelihood of spoilage and loss of useful components decreases, the storage process is simplified, and the quality of hay by mineral composition is improved.

Important! If the harvested hay is characterized by relatively low quality and does not have a high nutritional value, you will have to add more prepared feed to the winter diet of animals.

Hay storage rules

The quality of the finished product depends not only on the type of herbs collected, but also on the timing of their harvest, as well as the correctness of this process. At the beginning of their vegetation, plants contain the maximum amount of nutrients, vitamins and trace elements.

First of all, this can be explained by the enriched composition of leaflets, which at this stage contain two to three times more protein and 10 times more vitamins than in the stem part. In particular, this should be taken into account when harvesting forbs, as it consists of plants with different life cycles.

As for cultural planting, the optimal time for collecting and harvesting will be:

  • for cereals - the beginning of heading;
  • for beans - the appearance of buds (near the end of flowering, the amount of vitamins and protein in such plants is halved).

However, even the hay harvested on time does not yet guarantee the high quality of the feed mixture for cattle. An equally important condition for obtaining a good product is the correct drying of the green mass.

The simplest and most frequently used method is natural drying in direct sunlight, for which mowed grass is simply left on the field until 17-18% moisture is obtained.

In the future, the finished hay is collected in stacks or briquettes and rolls are formed, however, in the latter case, it will be better to dry the grass to a moisture content of 20-22% (when pressed, this will reduce nutrient loss).

How to calculate the amount of hay per cow per day

In order not to overfeed the animals and at the same time provide them with all the necessary nutrients, it is important to be able to correctly calculate the optimal amount of feed per day. In the case of hay, there are several popular formulas, according to which the calculation is carried out in many farms.

In the simplest version, 100 kg of cow weight should account for three kilograms of the harvested product, but this is only an average value, and depending on the individual characteristics of each individual, this value can be increased (no more than 1 kg).

To increase the growth rate, it is worth increasing the diet by using special feed additives and easily digestible products:

  • root crops;
  • silo;
  • legumes.

For an approximate calculation of the weight of the animal, and then the required amount of food, you can use the following methods:

Option 1 (Trukhanovsky’s technique). To obtain approximate data on the weight characteristics of the cows in this case, two main parameters are used: the value of the chest circumference (behind the shoulder blades) and the oblique length of the body (measured from the shoulder to the beginning of the tail).

Measurements are carried out only after fixing the cow in one position and using a measuring tape and a measuring stick. So that the animal does not get scared and does not injure the person, one should not perform sudden movements.

Try to calm your nurse and let her get used to the objects in your hands.

The obtained values ​​are simply substituted into the formula:

Live weight = AhB / 100hK:

  • A is the value of the chest circumference;
  • In - the value of the oblique length of the body;
  • K is a coefficient depending on the breed of the cow: for dairy animals it is 2, for meat animals - 2.5.

Option 2. Based on the calculation of weight using regressive equations, and as the initial data you will need only the value of the circumference of the cow’s body.

Calculation of weight is carried out according to simple formulas (X - taken measurements):

  • Y = 5.3 • X - 507 (suitable for individuals with a chest girth up to 180 cm);
  • Y = 5.3 • X - 486 (for animals with a sternum up to 190 cm);
  • Y = 5.3 • X - 465 (for cows with a girth of more than 190 cm).

On average, the final result (hay volume) varies between 10-14 kg per cow, that is, about 3-4 kg per 100 kg of live weight. Having such data, it is much easier to determine how much hay a single burenka will need throughout the winter.

However, when calculating, one should not forget about other important indicators: for example, the characteristics of the diet of various breeds. For animals of meat breeds, hay occupies, on average, about 50% of the total amount of food, and for dairy cows this indicator ranges from 25-30%.

For pregnant cows, the rate of hay output per day must be increased by 15–20%, although if possible it can be replaced with easily digestible feed.

Important! Always make preparations with a margin, since not all food is eaten by the animal, a certain part of it is always trampled into the floor and becomes unsuitable for eating. A properly organized feeder will help save hay.

On average, one adult animal needs about six tons of hay for the winter (this is with a margin), but more specific figures depend on the characteristics of the diet of cattle and its condition. In any case, the responsible owner should be well prepared for the cold season.

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