| ||What is creep feeding?
Creep feeding is when you supply a supplemental feed to calves before they are weaned.
What are the advantages of using a creep feed?
Creep feeding helps to supplement the milk from the mothers and extend your grazing season. It has the potential to give you increased calf weaning weights, increased pasture stocking rates, introduction to feed before weaning which will help with less shrink at the time of weaning, and calves will grow to their genetic potential just to name a few advantages.
Management of the fall body condition of beef cows including early weaning and creep feeding, have economic value and can reduce roughage needs for the entire winter feeding season. Producers with 150 cows could see returns from body condition management totaling over $25,000.
Is creep feeding advantageous for everyone?
Although creep feed studies have consistently shown an increase in weaning weight of calves most instances have failed to show an economic advantage at time of calf sales because of poor conversion of the creep feed to extra pounds of calf weaned. Creep feeding is most advantageous when calf prices are high, feed prices low, drylot operations, poor pasture conditions, fall-born calves, purebred bull calves and larger framed breed types.
Factors to consider other than calf sales, is creep feeding to maximize body score condition management of cows and the economic impact on winter feed costs.
See the following website for a creep feed calculator that will assist you in making this management decision:http://www.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/livestock/creepsheet.jsp
This calculator is intended to assist producers to determine whether creep feeding will be economically beneficial to the operation. Often, the decision is based solely on "the weight gain" expected. This calculator will show the economic gain expected
What should be included in a creep feed?
Locally grown grains make a good base for most creep feeds. The ration should be nutrient dense and highly palatable. Simple mixtures of grain and a protein supplement will make a good creep feed.
For more information see:
Creep Feeding Calves
Prepared by Tina Orom, Ag-Info Centre, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development