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34 Posts

Posted - Dec 20 2017 :  10:08:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We are picking up a 9 mo old jersey heifer. What variety of hay /feed do you folks recommend? I know MJ likes some chaffhaye which I will try to find. I have 2nd cutting alfalfa, oat hay and some premium grass hay. For keeping this young heifer in prime shape would grass /chaffahye be just fine or supplemental feeding with grain be required here in cold mountain wyoming? Alfalfa or no alfalfa?


7072 Posts

Posted - Dec 20 2017 :  11:31:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Chaffhaye feels different than alfalfa hay to me in that the entire plant is eaten, plus it's silage (fermented alfalfa that was harvested green and has probiotics for better digestion). The alfalfa hay I've had access to was always dusty and stem-y. My cows picked through it and there was waste. Plus sometimes there was mold. Once you find mold, then you have to put your nose to every flake you grab to make sure you aren't about to kill your cow and in the process breath in mold yourself. I realize there is great alfalfa hay out there; I just never found it.

Now that I can feed everyone Chaffhaye at least once per day, I no longer feel like my calves need a "high protein supplement" (grain). I do give it to my milkers (but only when giving milk) because it seems to improve the quality and quantity of their cream. But for their meals, they get Chaffhaye and a grass hay. I no longer give my calves or soon-to-be-cows grain because I don't like how it makes them behave. I figured that out when I was raising two calves together--when I had them on "high protein Chaffhaye," they would both put their heads down and eat, politely. When I gave them grain, there was lots of pushing and shoving. Same thing with grain at a feeder for cows (the reason mine only get grain while being milked--Modesto soy-free fortified certified organic pellets).

If your heifer got her momma's milk until her rumen was fully developed (4 months old), she should be fine with the hay you have. It sounds like you have a good source and have given it a lot of thought. The bigger question is, what is your new calf used to? What were they feeding her? That should factor into the equation when transitioning a calf or cow. Slow is good.

As far as cold goes, just give them more. When it's cold here (temps are dropping right now--expected to get down to 8), I give my milkers three meals/day, rather than two. My three calves and first-time pregnant heifers get fed twice/day. Also, they get salt, minerals and kelp served free-choice. My calves tend to love the kelp.

MaryJane Butters, author of Milk Cow Kitchen ~ striving for the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain ~
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499 Posts

Posted - Dec 20 2017 :  9:22:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Congratulations Hugho,

You will just love having this addition in your life. I could just sit and stare at our new cow all day. She is such a love.

I agree with MaryJane, as far as feeding her what she has been eating if it is working for her and you have access to it, stay with that.

Best of Luck and What a Wonderful Gift at Christmas time.

To Succeed In This Life You Need Three Things: A Backbone, A Wish Bone and a Funny Bone. As quoted by Reba McEntire
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11214 Posts

Posted - Dec 22 2017 :  10:02:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Congratulations on your soon to be acquired Jersey heifer. Love seeing new additions to HJO cow family. Best to you going forward.

To laugh is human but to moo is bovine. Author Unknown
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