It is hard to believe how quickly Jack and Flynn are growing. It seems like it was just yesterday that they were young calves, just arriving at BNHV and now, almost a year later, they are more like teenagers. And let me tell you, they eat like teenagers too! How do we care for our growing boys and make sure that they are receiving all of the nutrients they require?
The typical diet for cattle, regardless of whether they are dairy, beef, or work, consists of two kinds of feed. Roughages, or forages, are feeds which are high in fiber but low in total digestible nutrients. Hay, straw, oat hulls, ground corn cobs, and corn fodder are some examples of typical roughages. Concentrates on the other hand are feeds that are low in fiber and high in total digestible nutrients, which explains why both types of feed are necessary. Common concentrates are corn, oats, barley, grain sorghum, wheat, corn gluten, wheat bran, protein supplements (oilseed meals), and liquid supplements (molasses).
Work animals, like Jack and Flynn, require a diet rich in total digestible nutrients, so concentrate feeds are extremely important. Every couple of weeks, one of the farmstead staff picks up a couple of bags of SP 16% Dairy Feed from W.H. Rhinehart in Middleport. This specific feed is made up of grain products, processed grain by-products, plant protein products, forage products, cane molasses, and numerous vitamins. Its crude protein minimum is 16%, its crude fat minimum is 3.25%, and its crude fiber maximum is 8%.
Jack and Flynn receive a can and a half of this concentrate feed each morning (8:00 am) and afternoon (3:30pm), and always lick the bowl clean!
Roughages (hay) are also essential to Jack and Flynn’s diet and they love their hay. If you have ever been walking through the village when their hay trough becomes empty, they will tell you all about it! During the winter months in particular, they consume a considerable amount of hay due to the lack of grass for grazing and it is necessary to refill their trough three times throughout the day (morning, afternoon, evening).
We currently purchase our feeds for Jack and Flynn, but this coming Summer you will see us growing our own hay, corn, oats, barley, and wheat in order to feed our growing boys all on our own. Make sure you stop on by to check it out.
Contributed by Farmstead Assistant Sara Miller.
 Frank B. Morrison; Feeds and Feeding, Abridged: The Essentials of the Feeding, Care, and Management of Farm Animals, including Poultry; (Ithaca: The Morrison Publishing Company, 1954); 14.
 Heather Smith Thomas; “Feeding Beef Cattle: Tips for a Healthy, Pasture-Based Diet”; Mother Earth News; May 24, 2010; http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock.