Creep Feeding Beef Calves for Optimal Gains

May 13, 2021


Bill Toews
Countryside Feed Sales & Nutrition Professional
 
Since lactating cows typically supply only half of the nutrients a calf needs through nursing, you need to supplement their diet to maximize growth. While some producers depend on grazing or feeding hay such as alfalfa, grass or oats, providing a high protein creep feed is a usually a much better alternative.
 
As a beef producer myself, I’ve long been a big proponent of putting my calves on a 30- to 90-day creep feeding program. It’s a very cost-effective way to foster extra weight gain. While calves usually need 6 to 8 lbs of grain to produce 1 lb of added gain, creep feed provides a 5 to 1 conversion ratio. So, since they usually consume 3 to 6 lbs of creep feed per day, calves can add between 1/2 to 1 lb every 24 hours.
 
In addition to increased weaning weights, creep-fed calves tend to adapt to feedlot rations quicker and usually experience fewer setbacks at weaning.
 
Yet another benefit of putting calves on a creep feed program is that it can help save more grass for the rest of the herd when conditions are dry and pastures aren’t flourishing.
 
With milk being an important nutrient source for calves, creep feed can also help herds maintain adequate milk production. Creep feed is particularly a good option for first-calf heifers and aged cows, because it can help relieve the added stress they endure during nursing.
 
 Creep Feeds Available
We produce two high quality Purina® brand creep feeds at the Countryside Feed Hillsboro feed mill – RangeLand® Calf Creep 14 and RangeLand® Calf Creep 16. These fresh, fiber-based, full-mineral feeds are a solid nutrition source for lean growth when still on the cow. Both contain a flavoring agent to entice calves feeding. They also contain Bovatec® – a medicated premix that increases rate of weight gain and feed efficiency, and effectively controls coccidiosis.*
 
RangeLand® Calf Creep 16 is designed for younger, thinner calves, while RangeLand® Calf Creep 14 is better for older, larger calves.
 
In Seneca, we produce a Beef Builder® Creep with Bovatec®  5%. This is a14% crude protein, fully fortified creep feed that is salt limited and includes Bovatec® .
 
If you have questions about our RangeLand® Calf creep feed or Beef Builder® creep feed, or are looking to place an order for your operation, please contact your local Countryside Feed specialist.
 
Ideal Feeder Placement
Your herd’s high traffic areas are the best places to put a creep feeder. If you position it near a water source, you’ll help ensure that calves are exposed to it. You can also attract your herd to the feeder by providing salt and minerals in the same spot.
 
Countryside Feed Creep Feeder Rental Program (Hillsboro only)
If you don’t have a creep feeder for your operation and you’re not interested in purchasing one at this time, the Hillsboro mill will have more than 30 creep feeders available to rent. We usually begin booking these rentals in the June / July timeframe, so contact your local Countryside Feed representative for details.
 
 
*Per manufacturer instructions, do not use Bovatec®  in calves to be processed for veal.
 
 

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