How much hay does a cow need for winter

Good hay is the key to cow health and the quality of its products: meat and milk. In order to make a profit in the future, it is worth taking care of the feed for the winter for cattle in advance.

What grass can be prepared for hay?

Grass is the most popular and easy to harvest cow food. In summer, cattle pick their own grass for food during grazing. But in winter, the animal depends on the choice of a person, so you need to carefully approach the purchase of hay for livestock. Did you know? The best time to collect grass in hay is when the plants begin to bloom. At the time of bud formation in legumes, the amount of nutrients in them is 2 times more than in any other period.


Legumes contain a lot of protein, calcium and other important trace elements. They are dairy and provide good nutrition for agricultural cattle. However, feeding livestock only to legumes is not worth it. An abundance of protein can disrupt the stomach of a cow.

The following crops are used for hay:
  • peas;
  • soybeans;
  • clover;
  • alfalfa;
  • sainfoin.
Important! The cow, which should be calving, is stopped giving hay from legumes about a week before calving.

Cereal plants

Large yields of cereals simplify hay collection for the cow. In addition, cereal plants do not cause poisoning when overfeeding cattle. But their nutritional value is slightly lower than that of legumes.

However, the following cereal plants should form the basis of a cow’s diet:
  • breadcrumbs;
  • wheat grass;
  • clover;
  • timothy
  • bonfire.

In spring, if desired, you can mix stalks of oats, wheat and barley that have not sprouted to spikelets.

Grass Hay

You can pre-grow a mixture of different plants so that there is no need to combine already mowed stems.

The following pairs of plants can be gathered together in hay for cattle:

  • alfalfa and timothy;
  • sainfoin and timothy;
  • timothy and clover;
  • oats and vetch.

If you want to make a supply of hay from meadow grasses, it is advisable to have a good understanding of plants in order to distinguish poisonous when mowing.

Did you know? Bitter grass lowers the appetite of livestock, and this leads to weight loss.

How to store

To prevent hay from rotting, the following rules must be observed:

  1. Before sending hay to the sennik, it is dried in the sun in bales and rolls.
  2. In order for the hay shaft to dry evenly, it is often turned over.
  3. Dry grass can be taken from drying to storage when its moisture level is not more than 18%.
  4. You can transport hay from cereal plants at any time, but legumes do not tolerate the sun, so it is better to move them in the morning or evening hours.

How to calculate cow consumption

Before the winter season, it is important to correctly calculate future food consumption for livestock. The amount of feed is calculated based on the body weight of the animal. 3 kilograms of feed is taken for every 100 grams of animal weight. If you do not know the exact weight of the cattle, hay is calculated approximately. But in this case, there is a danger of overfeeding the cow, which will only harm the animal. Did you know? The weight of the average cow is about 400-600 kg. And the weight of an adult bull reaches more than one and a half tons. There are several methods for calculating the live weight of an animal:

  1. The Trukhanovsky method. Measure the chest circumference behind the shoulder blades and the length of the animal from the reach to the base of the tail (oblique length of the croup). Next, substitute the data in the following formula: Cow Weight = A * B / 100 * K. In this formula, A is the chest circumference, B is the body length, K is the coefficient. The coefficient may vary depending on the breed (if the milk breed is 2, if the meat breed is 2.5).
  2. Calculation of live weight using regression levels. For this calculation, only one measurement is needed - the circumference of the body. Substitute the data in the formula: Y = 5.3 * X-507. Here Y is the body weight, and X is the taken measurement of the body. At the same time, the figure 507 is used for animals with a sternum volume of not more than 180 cm. From 190 cm, the figure will be 486, and for large animals - 465.

How often to feed hay

Cattle must be fed three times a day. It’s important to follow the food delivery schedule and stick to it every day. Thus, the animal will gain mass faster. Most of the feed is laid for the evening. In addition, in the evening it is better to give the cow plants that are heavier for digestion, since by the end of the day a sufficient amount of gastric juice will be formed to digest the cow.

What is needed except hay

Animals need nutritious feed and variety, so that in the end they will benefit from keeping the cow in the stall. In addition to hay, straw is used in the diet of cows. Straw is coarse feed that comes from harvesting winter crops. Straw comes from oats, barley and wheat. To feed the cow and the bull, straw is poured with salty warm water for half an hour before eating. Important! It is very important to provide agricultural cattle with sufficient water. In winter, they can drink about forty liters of water per day.

Sometimes the animals are given straw cutting with compound feed. With a sharp, they do the same as with ordinary straw: pour boiling water and add salt. Food for cows and bulls is left to steam for up to ten hours. Also, cattle are given fir branches (not more than 2 kilograms per day), the collection of branches of maple, poplar, acacia. They have many useful trace elements.

If this is not enough to feed the livestock, add the following products:
  • fodder beets;
  • raw potatoes;
  • carrot;
  • pumpkin.

Large root vegetables are cut into strips so that the animal can chew food. Sprinkle vegetables with concentrates (oilcake, cereals and bran) and compound feed. They enrich the diet with nutrients. Additionally, you can give silage (fermented vegetable tops, cabbage leaves, corn).

Features of animal care in the cold season

To keep the animals healthy in the cold season, it is necessary to properly prepare the barn and create all the necessary conditions for wintering:

  1. Before the winter season, the stall is repaired and disinfected.
  2. Windows do not clog for the winter, they must open to ventilate the room. Windows should be placed above the head of the animals so that they do not hurt.
  3. The cow should freely reach the feeder, so the leash length is calculated.
  4. The feeder must be at least one serving of food.
  5. Cleaning, feeding and milking animals is necessary at the same time. It is very important for cattle to maintain a daily routine.

With a competent approach to preparing for the winter, you will slowly prepare enough food for your animals during the spring and summer. This means that in winter they will not have to starve, they will remain healthy and will not reduce their productivity.

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