What to Expect When You're Expecting
Updated: May 7, 2021
Mineral intake in bred cattle is so important. Growing a calf will take so much energy and nutrients away from a cow, requiring the cow to consume more feed and mineral. Keeping a cows body condition score up during pregnancy will help to decrease risk of abortion, decrease risk of dystocia, increased health of cow and calf, increased birth weights, and better milk production following parturition. Certain times of their pregnancy require larger quantities of mineral, therefore the method of delivery may need to change.
There are multiple ways to provide mineral supplements to grazing cattle. We use loose mineral in the blue mineral feeders (shown in photo above) year round to provide minerals to all our grazing cattle. These mineral feeders have a soft rubber top to keep the mineral from getting wasted due to weather; but the cattle are able to easily lift this rubber to access the mineral. Free choice mineral is the one of the better options because cattle will tell you what they are lacking if you give them the chance. If cattle are consuming more free choice mineral, it means that their feed source is lacking those essential vitamins and minerals.
Another option for providing loose mineral requires a mixed ration to be provided. If you are utilizing a feed mixing wagon, then you are able to mix the mineral directly into the ration. This can be beneficial as all cattle will consume some amount of mineral. This is mostly beneficial during the third trimester, when the embryo is consuming more nutrients from the cow. It is important that the cow keep nutrient stores up high enough for her own body function as well as the embryo's growth.
Mineral tub are also an option for providing free choice mineral. There are many type of mineral tubs, we use a chelated, 18% protein mineral tub. Chelated refers to the ability to grab and bond to a molecule; therefore, these type of minerals are absorbed more readily by the cattle when compared to non-chelated mineral molecules.