BY KELVIN MORENO, M.S.
Feeding your Mcheck Brahman show heifer requires careful attention to ensure proper growth and development. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to feed your show heifer:
Step 1: Gradually introduce new feeds & establish feeding pen/area
Introduce new feeds gradually to allow the heifer’s digestive system to adjust. Sudden changes in the diet can cause digestive upsets. Start by incorporating small amounts of new feed and gradually increase the quantity over a week or two. Your heifer will tell you how much she is going to consume herself based on how much she’s eating for a 45 minute to 1 hour time period. NOTE: It’s recommended that you feed Brahman heifers at least in pairs of two because it creates a competitive feeding environment and increases consumption.
Establish a 40×50 feet pen in an area that has shade and is kept dry. Often times, people want to keep show prospects in small pastures, and this can cause weight loss in heifers that are trying to develop a show bloom because they’re getting an excess of exercise. Exercise is necessary, but limiting the amount when you’re trying to create a show condition is very important.
Step 2: Determine the nutritional requirements
Understand the specific nutritional needs of your Brahman show heifer based on its age and weight. For example, if the heifer is 1 year old and weighs 1000 lbs on average, she will consume 35 lbs of grain feed per day (split up into two feedings per day would be 17.5 lbs per feeding). Remember that Brahman heifers are first and foremost breeding animals and then show animals. It’s important that you don’t get your heifers too fat at an early age or they can also cause breeding problems down the road.
Choose a balanced feeding program that includes high-quality forages, grains, protein supplements, and minerals. The program should be designed to support muscle growth, weight gain, and overall health. Consider factors like protein content, energy density, and fiber content in the feeds.
Step 3: Ideal feed concentrate ration
The concentrated ration may consist of grains like corn (flaked or steam rolled recommended), oats, or barley, along with protein supplements like soybean meal or cottonseed meal. The ratio of forage to concentrate will depend on the heifer’s age and weight.
A few things to know about Brahmans – 12% protein is the maximum recommended for Brahman cattle in development (they don’t require any more than that). 4-5% fat would be ideal for developing heifers and getting a show bloom in them. 17-20% fiber is acceptable in a ration and 65-75% TDN (Total Digestible Nutrients). Below you will see the Moreno Ranches feeding ration for Brahman show heifers:
Key factors to watch for:
-Select rolled steam corn over cracked corn in the ration
-Select rolled oats
-Ensure it is an all natural feed ration with no urea
Step 4: Feed multiple small meals & select a quality feeding program time
Divide the daily feed into multiple small meals to promote efficient digestion. Feeding 2 times a day is usually sufficient but 3 times a day is ideal. Avoid overfeeding in a single meal, as it can lead to digestive issues.
RULE OF THUMB: 45 minutes to 1 hour max feeding, 2 times per day. Let your heifer eat grain during this time period and then take the feed away. This gives her time to eat all she wants and you can determine how much she eats in that time period. DO NOT leave feed free choice as this can cause foundering in your Brahman, in addition to a loss of interest in feeding time if she knows she can eat at any time. The idea is to create urgency at feeding time so that when you put feed in front of her at a show, she can go to eating it right then.
Step 5: Provide high-quality forage
Forage is a crucial part of your Brahman show heifer’s diet. Offer high-quality costal hay to provide fiber, promote rumen health, and aid in digestion. Ensure that the forage is clean, mold-free, and free from harmful plants. Horse quality costal hay is recommended and if it’s square it’s normally even better – this hay should be offered free choice daily no limits. Often times, people underestimate the value that high quality hay brings to the table as far as providing a nice show bloom.
Step 6: Provide fresh water at all times
Ensure that your Brahman heifer has access to clean and fresh water at all times. Cattle require large amounts of water for proper digestion and overall health. Monitor water consumption and address any issues promptly.
Step 7: Monitor body condition
Regularly assess your Brahman heifer’s body condition score to ensure she is maintaining a healthy weight. Adjust the feeding program accordingly to avoid excessive weight gain or loss. Aim for a balanced and well-muscled appearance. If your Brahman heifer gets too fat at an early age, this can cause reproductive problems at the time of breeding.
Step 8: Supplement with minerals and vitamins
Include mineral and vitamin supplements in your Brahman heifer’s diet to fulfill any nutritional gaps. Most feed rations will have a mineral pack as part of the ration but we recommend an all-natural, NON-molasses based mineral to be added free choice to the pen. Our recommended mineral is SWEETPRO. See nutritional value here:
Step 9: Regularly review and adjust the feeding plan
Continuously monitor your heifer’s growth, performance, and overall health. Periodically review the feeding plan and make adjustments as needed. Keep records of feed amounts, body weights, average daily gains, and any observed changes to track progress.
Step 10: When it’s time to breed your Brahman heifer
We recommend that you start thinking about breeding your Brahman heifer between the ages of 18 months and 22 months. Consider the time of year that you are breeding and the time of year that you want the calf to be born. It’s not recommended to have Brahmans born in cold weather (they don’t do well in cold temperatures), so keep this in mind if you live in a state where it gets cold in the winter.
A well-developed Brahman heifer with regular heat cycles go hand-in-hand with a good nutritional program discussed above. All Mcheck Brahman heifers are sold with our Breed Back Program, and we encourage you to go to www.morenoranches.com/juniors to learn more about how you can take advantage of using our Breed Back Program on your Brahman heifer’s first breeding.
Remember, each Brahman heifer may have unique nutritional requirements, so it’s crucial to consult with experts who can provide guidance specific to your animal’s needs. We recommend that you keep a good relationship with your local beef cattle veterinarian, county extension agent, and vocational agriscience teachers. Our team at Moreno Ranches is always ready to answer any questions you might have, so don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected] or call us at 863-444-8745 for any information regarding feeding your Mcheck Brahman heifer.
ABOUT MORENO RANCHES
Moreno Ranches is a top producer of Brahman heifers for sale. Customers come to the company for genetically superior heifers for sale and Brahman Semen (seed stock) as well as Brahman embryos. The company produces both Brahman heifers and calves for sale, including for use as show cattle or to produce Brahman F1 hybrids. Visit the company’s website to browse stock. The company is a trusted source of Brahman heifers whether a buyer is in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Latin America, or anywhere in the world.