Friday, February 10, 2012

Teaching cows to eat weeds

Tina from High Point Farms recently sent out an update about her cows:

"With this pretty mild winter the cows are doing well. They are still eating a round bale of hay a day and the steers eat a bale of balage every 2-3 days. Our supply of 200 round bales of hay is depleting fast. Luckily, we reserved some from friends whose farm is close by."

She also mentioned:

"In January 2012 we went to a grass-fed grazing conference for a couple of days. It was nice to get off the farm and meet like-minded farmers. We learned how to teach the cows to eat weeds, which are high in protein by the way, and different Mob grazing techniques we hope to apply this summer."

And this made me wonder, you have to teach cows to eat weeds? Her reply:

"When you do not spray pastures with herbicides you have weeds of course. The cows eat around them!!!  They then go to seed and make more!  We want to teach them to eat the weeds which are high in vitamins and proteins.

Basically, what this woman said in her presentation is to take feed pans out every day for 8 days. Since we do not feed grain we have to get creative. First day: put in a snack like alfalfa cubes, day 2 alfalfa cubes and carrots. Day 3 carrots, day 4 carrots and a weed mixed. Day 5 that weed only, day 6 weed #1 and a new weed, day 7 new weed only and so one.

Seems like alot of work to me, but we have an infestion of a couple types of weeds, so, I may try it."

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