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Feeding in a building versus feeding in the open

livestock feeding

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#1 downtownjr

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 08:36 PM

Does anyone have information in a study on feeding in a building versus feeding in the open. Cattle, sheep, goats, any livestock. I more interested in Cattle for myself, but curious in all others. Will there be a better rate of gain feeding in a building? What are pro and cons do you folks see? Thanks.

#2 Vol

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 07:34 PM

The worst con is having to clean cattle manure and wasted hay out of the building and spread it in the spring. Much easier to keep the crap out in the fields where it belongs. Not cold enough in Indiana to warrant a feed building....maybe some of the Canadian bordering states, but not for many others.

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#3 mlappin

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 07:41 PM

During the summer I feed in the barn. If it's wet and I feed in one of the lots, I have a mudhole, if ti's dry and I do the same all the dust once they kill the grass results in coughing cows from said dust. In the winter I feed out in the winter pastures

#4 Nitram

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 07:40 AM

I have been feeding in a mudhole but putting down rr ties. Had two cows pull there hip out if place. Thats my diagnoses any way. That or blame the bull. Martin

#5 Vol

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 08:25 AM

Martin, I would be more inclined to think it was probably the bull, I have had them break cows down before....is he a heavyweight?

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#6 mlappin

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:17 AM

Reasoning here is the only shade the cows have in the summer pastures is the barn, and it already has head gates anyways from our dairy days. Feed em inside so the cows have to get used to sticking their head thru a opening to eat. Makes em a lot easier to get in the working chute later.

We also live right across from the state park on the main highway. All kinds of city people going by, some idjit would call the humane society sooner or later because of the mud. When Dad had his girlfriends horse's visible from the road, people would call the humane society because we had a horse laying down. Horse's do just lay down once in awhile for a roll in the dust or whatever. Doesn't mean a thing.

Besides, when I clean the barns it gets composted then spread on any hard hill tops we may have. The pastures more than get their fare share.

#7 Nitram

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:45 AM

Not that big yet. Prob 1800 + trading in this fall

#8 CockrellHillFarms

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 10:25 AM

I might be a little remove from this topic but figured I would throw in my thoughts as we have talked about this in the past at our place. I think it depends on what time of year you are talking about. We haven't ever fed in a barn in the winter when its real cold due to the chances of pneumonia. When you have them inside where it is warmer, then they go back out. They can build up moisture in their lungs going from warm to cold. So to me, the most important thing is to have some type of shelter for them. By shelter, I usually mean trees and some type of wind block. When the ground is hard, I feed in rings. When its soft I unroll hay over all parts of the field I'm feeding in to keep them out of the mud. Then I drag it in the springs to spread out the manure and loosen the remaining hay up so the grass grows in. The worse thing to do is have a live calf get stuck in the mud of get stepped on. That always makes my stomach sink.

#9 Nitram

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 12:05 PM

Marty there is nothing wrong with your method or reasoning. Good idea with the head stall. I also put the salt/minerial blocks in the coral and hang a fly rub across the gate to funnel them in but I don't need to feed when on grass. Martin

#10 mlappin

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 04:32 PM

I might be a little remove from this topic but figured I would throw in my thoughts as we have talked about this in the past at our place. I think it depends on what time of year you are talking about. We haven't ever fed in a barn in the winter when its real cold due to the chances of pneumonia. When you have them inside where it is warmer, then they go back out. They can build up moisture in their lungs going from warm to cold. So to me, the most important thing is to have some type of shelter for them. By shelter, I usually mean trees and some type of wind block. When the ground is hard, I feed in rings. When its soft I unroll hay over all parts of the field I'm feeding in to keep them out of the mud. Then I drag it in the springs to spread out the manure and loosen the remaining hay up so the grass grows in. The worse thing to do is have a live calf get stuck in the mud of get stepped on. That always makes my stomach sink.


Absolutely, our cows spend the majority of their time in the barn during the summer for the shade and water, in the winter we put up temporary fence around two fields directly south of our summer pastures and overwinter the cows on the bean stubble and corn stalks. Best thing I ever did was move the wire a few hundred yards into the woods so they can get out of the winter wind.

#11 kyfred

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 08:33 PM

We used to feed in loafing sheds. One year we lost several calves due to what the Vet. said was the calves were laying in manure as well as their mothers and when the calves would go to nurse the mothers teats were covered with manure. We tried to keep the cows bedding good. Our Vet. said to get the cows and calves out of the barns feed outside. We have a lot of ceder trees near where we feed and our Vet. said the cows and calves would have enough protection from the weather in the cedars and would stay clean also. Since we have been feeding outside and the cows staying outside very seldom due we have any problems with scours or sick cows and calves.
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#12 Tim/South

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:46 PM

We built a hay feeder on the side of the hay barn, extended the roof to cover it. We added this once we got cows, before then the barn was just for hay.
The feeder is the angled slat kind with a trough to catch any loose hay. It holds about 60 small squares. Squares are all we did back then. We filled the feeder from inside the barn.

I have been thinking of a way to adapt the feeder for round bales. I could widen the trough to 4.5 feet, make the slats upright and hopefully have enough space to hold round bales. I would have to load it from the ends.
Going to round bales has been great except for the mud around the hay rings.
If I can adapt the square bale feeder then they will be standing in the dry.
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#13 aawhite

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 02:32 PM

If your feeding silage, you will definitely see an increase in feed, depending on style of bunk. For our dairy herd, when we switched from outside bunks to feeding straight on the confrete, we saw a noticable difference. Cattle at the bunk with their head down will eat longer.

For the summertime in Iowa, to keep feed intake up, we mounted misters all along the feed areas, rana fine spray ona timer. Got the cows out of the stalls and eating, while staying cooler. Of course, a dairy can afford to do things a little differentluy than a beef grower, but it does work.

The earlier psot about wintertime was spot on. Building has to be very well ventilated is you keep them in winter. Our cattle barns had curtained sidewalls, and an open peak with a ridge cap. Kept out drafts, but air was dry. Tall roofs helped.





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