Picky Eaters….Cows Can Be Too!

Hey all!

HAPPY SPRING! Finally. I’m ready for the joys of spring, even the mud. I’m no winter gal.

What are your favorite spring and (upcoming) summer foods? I love romaine hearts on the grill with a special dressing! Yay for Pinterest finds! Speaking of,  let’s jump right onto today’s topic.

Dairy cattle get a TMR. Sounds fancy, but it stands for Total Mixed Ration, and, as the name suggests, it is a mixture of feedstuffs to make their breakfast/lunch/dinner. Meaning, they eat like all you who mix your food together on your plate – those of the philosophy that “it all gets mixed together in the end anyway.” I’m not in that camp, I’m in the keep-everything-strictly-separate group. But, I digress. We can argue that later.

 

So, along with a TMR comes your picky eatin’ gals. And these gals will just eat the bits they like. Like when you were a kid and would slip those nasty green beans to the pooch begging under the table and tell your ma you did, in fact, eat all of your dinner. Some of our bovine friends are just the same way. This has a really fancy name….sorting.  So if you ever hear of any agriculturalist talk about cows “sorting” they’re really talking about the picky eaters in the barn.

Now, it’s not as detrimental in humans, but when cows don’t eat everything they are supposed to, it can cause some health issues and issues for them to produce the milk they should.  TMRs are put together so that each “ingredient”, or feedstuff, has it’s purpose, whether that be for energy/fat, protein, or fiber. That way, these gals have a nice, balanced diet! So, if they’re being picky, and eating only certain things, they can be missing majorly in one of these nutrient departments.

There actually have been a lot of studies done on this, and some of what can lead to sorting is dry matter content (too wet, too dry), the particle size of all the feed stuffs (think if all of your food was cut to about the same size), and number of meals they get each day (some farmers will deliver fresh feed to the gals 3-4 times a day, some 2 times a day). Some discovered that cows will even sort based on their mood and how they feel that day!

 

Well, speaking of, time for me to find my evening TMR. I hope you all are getting a chance to experience some wonderful spring weather! Let me know in the comment below what kind of eater you are and some of your favorite seasonal dishes!

 

Until next time,

< Meg

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I Make Sure Cows Eat Better Than We Do!

Hey All!

I hope you all are enjoying this warm weather.  I know it’s been a scorcher the past week here in Ohio, but at the same time I’m so glad for some warm weather.  It does make it a challenge to keep all of the horses and cows cool, and even people too.  I don’t have AC in my truck and the central air is broken and will take some major $$$$ to fix in the house.  So blegh.  But you can’t help but smile seeing all of the sunshine, fields being planted, and flowers blooming!

I’m so excited to announce that I am now an independent consultant with Agri-Nutrition Consulting – I am now starting my journey as a dairy nutritionist!

So yes, dairy farmers have nutritionists for their cows.  And it’s exactly what it sounds like – someone comes to the farm and makes sure the cows are looking healthy and eating well, and they build the recipe the cows’ diets.  Can you imagine what it would be like if you had someone making sure you ate exactly what you needed to each meal to be in the healthiest shape!? To some of you it may sound bad, but it sure would take the worry and struggle out of eating healthy and you wouldn’t have to regret eating that extra cookie!

It’s really not simple to be a dairy nutritionist.  I’ve spent countless hours reading through material and on phone calls with specialists in the company to be taught the ropes.  I’ve also already been to Wisconsin twice in a matter of 6 weeks.  And I am no where to being close to being done training.  It will most likely be ongoing for the foreseeable future.

Cows have a 4 compartment stomach, so each ingredients needs to provide them with the nutrients needed to first, maintain basic body functions and grow a calf, and second, to make milk! It’s very tricky because each nutrient usually functions the best within a certain range, and some nutrients inversely affect others.  It’s all a careful balance, like a teeter totter!

 

Next time I would like to go over body condition scoring, basically if a cow is too skinny or too fat – obviously something I will be looking at a lot as a nutritionist!

Soak up some sun!

❤ Meg