Here’s a way to make your upcoming calving, lambing and kidding season a little less stressful: feed your pregnant stock every evening, right around dusk. They’ll spend the night ruminating and wait to give birth until morning.
That’s the advice shared in this video by Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University (OSU) Extension Cattle Specialist. The “Konefal Method” is named after a Canadian rancher, Gus Konefal, who discovered that changing his feeding time led to more calves being born during daylight hours. Researchers at the Kansas State Experiment Station followed up with a five year study to give us all a better idea of what we could expect from a change to evening feeding.
Their results are similar to other studies. Dusk feeding meant that 34% of calves came between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Another 21.2% came between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., and then another 30% arrived between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. That left only 15% of the calves being delivered between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Of course your results may vary. When I did this with my herd of 35 does, they all kidded during daylight hours making my life much easier.
If your livestock are grazing or you’re feeding with pre-placed round bales you can get a similar effect, though not quite as dramatic, by feeding a supplement in the evening. Research at OSU showed that 70% of calves were born during daylight hours just from this simple change.
We hope this video from OSU will make your life easier!
If you do this, or have done it let us know the results in the comments below!