Why Creep Feed?
Jul 06, 2020
Tara Jo Bina
Countryside Feed Livestock Nutrition
Early July is a great time for spring calving herds to start thinking about supplementing suckling calves with creep feed. When discussing if creep feeding is right for your operation, consider the following benefits:
Cows are able to provide most of the nutrition calves need through nursing. Creep feed is designed to supplement nutrients provided by the cow, not to replace them. Filling in the nutrient gaps allows calves to reach their growth potential. Supplementing calves can also relieve some of the pressure on cows to maintain adequate milk production. This is especially beneficial for cows with extra stress, such as first calf heifers and aged cows.
Increase Weaning Weights
Calves supplemented properly with creep feed can be very efficient in converting feed to added gains. With a 3 to 6 pound average intake of creep feed producers can expect to see about ½ to 1 pound of additional average daily gain. When implementing a creep feeding program for 30 – 90 days, those gains add up to between 15 – 90 more pounds per calf at weaning!
Easier Weaning Transition
Another great benefit to creep feeding is getting calves used to coming to feed. Offering the best quality nutrition available won’t do a thing if the cattle don’t eat. Calves that have been on a creep feeder understand what feed is and generally transition over to a feed bunk very well. This makes starting calves after weaning a much smoother process.
Reduce Grazing Pressure
A cow is required to consume extra protein and energy to maintain adequate milk production to support her rapidly growing calf. When calves are able to run to creep feed, some of this demand on the cow is relieved, allowing her to maintain better body condition while eating less grass. This is important to keep in mind in the summertime, when grasses starting to mature and lose nutritional value, especially in dry years.
Contact your Countryside Feed representative to add this great tool to your cow calf management tool box!