Creep feeding beef calves

NSW DPI

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Introductory

Farm Table says:

Learn the ins and outs of creep feeding beef calves, I was surprised to learn that you can teach calves to creep feed in a couple of days.

This article discusses creep feeding of beef calves and how it has the possibility to value add onto your existing herd. Creep feeding can give additional nutrition to calves that are still on the cow to improve overall growth rates and obtain a higher return.

The items covered in this article were:

• What is creep feeding?

• Is creep feeding profitable?

• What’s involved in the planning process?

• The type of creep systems to use

• How to train calves to creep feed

• What feeds to use?

Key points were as follows:

• Creep feeding is giving calves access to additional feed while they are still on the cow.

• Feed costs will be incurred during creep feeding so it is important to plan ahead, identify feed costs and estimate what additional return you will receive for the higher weight and determine if it’s worth your while to creep feed your calves.

• Creep feeding is best used in situations where calves will be sold straight off the cow or direct to slaughter. If they won’t be sold straight off the cow, then creep feeding provides a low stress weaning method as calves will get used to feeding away from the cow.

• The main type of creep feeder is having a separate yard with one or two small openings for the calves to access the feed but it being small enough so the cows can’t fit through. The feeders vary depending on the type of feed being offered but self-feeders with covers are common so feed is kept dry. Creep feeders are often set up near watering points to ensure calves use them regularly.

• Calves don’t naturally use creep feeders so producers should spend several days teaching calves to use them and over time they will become accustomed to the routine.

• When introducing any new feeds to any cattle, it’s important they are slowly introduced to the feed and are monitored to ensure no ill effect occurs.

Australia - NSW DPI
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