The nutrition team at BioZyme® regularly gets asked, “What is the perfect show heifer ration?” Truth is, there isn’t a ”perfect” show heifer ration. Determining what to feed your show heifer depends on several factors like genetics, stage of production, and even environment and geographic location. Many different combinations of ingredients can yield the same results, so producers must utilize the feedstuffs they have access to in order to meet their project’s nutritional needs.
Generally, if an animal is lacking “bloom”, it is usually due to lack of protein needed to support muscle growth. Younger animals have higher protein requirements, commonly making protein the limiting nutrient within a ration. However, it is important to ensure enough supplemental energy is also provided to ensure dietary protein is thoroughly utilized. Protein is the “building blocks” of muscle growth. Without enough workers (energy) to build the building, results will be disappointing.
When heifers are young, we recommend going with a grain mix that is at least 16% protein and is fed at 1.5-2% of body weight. As ruminants, cattle are designed to digest material with a high fiber concentration. To promote proper rumen function, ample amounts of hay should be provided (up to 1% of the animal’s body weight) at all times. When a target weight is reached, protein can be lowered and more “fill” feedstuffs can be incorporated to hold an animal at a desired weight. Fill products slow passage rate, absorb water and increase gut capacity.
Adding Sure Champ® for cattle as a daily top-dress throughout the feeding period is the perfect supplement to compliment a well-balanced ration. Sure Champ for cattle will ensure animals are getting their daily dose of necessary levels of vitamins, minerals and trace minerals. Although they are needed in the smallest amount, vitamins and minerals play a pivotal role in normal growth and immune function of livestock, and are extremely important for reproduction. Furthermore, Amaferm® included in Sure Champ (and every BioZyme product) will improve digestive health, stimulate appetite and optimize overall performance and animal health.
Here is a proposed ration for young growing calves:
This mix should work well up until around 1,000 lb. then the protein level could be backed down to around 13-14% crude protein.
If you have additional questions regarding your show heifers’ nutritional needs, reach out to our nutrition staff or your nearest dealer.