Post by waltzingmatilda on May 16, 2008 18:32:07 GMT -5
Does anyone know approx. how much hay Dexters need? And approx. how much 3 y.o. heifers will average for weight?
I am trying to estimate how much hay I'll need to buy for them. I always buy in June for the whole year, and can count on them getting half their forage from pasture. At least, that's how it works for my horses.
So if they eat about 2% of their bodyweight per day, and they weigh about 750, I'll need about 1.5T of supplemental hay per heifer to get through winter. IF my numbers are right!
Post by Honeycreek Dexters on May 23, 2008 14:54:25 GMT -5
You must consider waste in your numbers they will not eat each and every pound you put out weeds, wind, rain, and just plain waste will add up fast. They will need more in the winters coldest time than in the fall or spring. My animals are about 800 lbs at 3 yrs. and I feed a half sm. sq. bale 2 times per day per animal in the coldest times. So a bail a day in that weather, cut back to a half at other times. You can never have too much hay.
I buy round bales and use a hay ring to cut down on waste. I found that when you feed small bales they will eat it all at once. When they have free access, they eat what they want when they need it. It is cheaper with round bales versus small round bales. I plan on 3-4% body weight on average thru the year. Better more than you need than not enough. Learn that the hard way the first 2 years.
Take care of everyone else and God will take of you,
Post by blessedfarm on Oct 16, 2008 22:43:59 GMT -5
Would it be harmful to just put a small bale (we don't have round bales here in our area, just puny 60-80 lb grass hay bales) in a feeder in their barn and just let them eat as they please? Basically free choice grass hay?
I'll have to keep my girl and her calf in a large paddock and let them out to graze occasionally during the growing season (March-September) here, but will be most likely mostly depending on the hay rather than the grass at least for the first year, until our pastures are reconditioned. I only intend to keep a cow and her calf, rebreeding each season, butchering at about 24 months or so.
Putting out free choice hay like that is a good way to go. They'll waste quite a bit but at least it is there when they need it. When we have ours up in the barn like that we throw out a flake or two a day and wait until they really clean it up before we put out more.
I don't know whether our round bales are the same as yours? But we use round bales and a typical Dexter on our farm will eat 5-7 bales each over a six month period indoors. Each round bale is equivalent to about 7-9 small rectangular bales. I work that out to be about 6-8 kilos of hay per day for fully grown animal, assuming no other feed or grass. Don't know whether that makes sense or not.
The kilos per day sounds low to me but I've done the calcs about 10 times and get the same figure! The one thing I'm sure of is how many round bales I use per animal over the six month period.
If it's wrapped haylage, they eat about 20% less in volume terms (i.e. less bales) but probably about the same weight-wise (because each bale is a lot heavier). For us, it pays to wrap by a long shot.