Expose Animals to Poor-Quality Foods Early in Life for Life-Long Success

Many livestock, particularly those making a living on rangelands, encounter poor-quality forages at some point in the grazing season or during the winter, (less than 7% crude protein and 50% TDN). But that doesn't have to be a problem. We've found that introducing them to poor-quality roughage early in life with their mothers actually makes them more productive over their lifetimes. And, not giving them this early experience, but instead feeding replacement females high-quality diets, may actually make it harder for them to maintain weight and reproduce on poor-quality rangeland or on forages high in toxins. Here are some examples of what our research has demonstrated about how exposure to poor-quality or high-toxin forages early in life can increase intake and preference for certain forages and improve productivity of your livestock. Increasing How Much of a Poor-Quality Forage Animals Will Eat In this example we looked at goat kids who learned to eat poor-quality forages from their mothers before they were weaned. We used Blackbrush, a low-quality, high-tannin forage that grows in southern Utah. Goat kids foraged on blackbrush with their mothers for 3 months when they were 1 to 4 months of age. Another group of kids were not fed black

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One thought on “Expose Animals to Poor-Quality Foods Early in Life for Life-Long Success

  1. Fascinating article! Definitely speaks to the potential to manage and select away from the average.

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