Hungry cows mean business. Though typically viewed as docile animals, cows have a naturally aggressive feeding drive.
|Hungry cows devour the fresh ration
delivered by this Patz Vertical Mixer.
In his recent Hoard’s Webinar, Rick Grant presented the following as drivers of feeding behavior:
- *Biggest driver is the delivery of a fresh TMR.
- Optimal feeding frequency is twice per day.
- Easy feed accessibility.
- Effective feed push-up strategy.
Also worth noting: mixing older cows and first-calf heifers in a group can be problematic due to natural behavioral differences. Heifers take smaller bites, eat slower, and spend more time feeding than older cows. They are also less dominant making them more easily displaced from the manger, even in the absence of overcrowding. Studies have shown that competition with older cows reduces a heifer’s DMI, resting time, rumination, drinking, and milk production.
This marks the end of our five-post blog series on Rick Grant’s Hoard’s Webinar, “Managing cow behavior for profit and performance.”