Group Title: Animal husbandry mimeograph series - University of Florida Agricultural Experiment Station ; 55-4
Title: Creep feeding calves
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Creep feeding calves
Series Title: Animal husbandry mimeograph series
Physical Description: 4 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Hentges, J. F ( James Franklin ), 1925-
University of Florida -- Agricultural Experiment Station
University of Florida -- Dept. of Animal Husbandry and Nutrition
Publisher: Agricultural Experiment Station, Dept. of Animal Husbandry and Nutrition
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: 1955
Subject: Calves -- Feeding and feeds -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Calves -- Growth -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: J.F. Hentges, Jr.
General Note: Caption title.
General Note: "April, 1955."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00072847
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 76925158

Full Text

1.r 195
Animal Husbandry Mimeograph April, 1955
Series No. 55-4


J. F. Hentges, Jr.1

Creep feeding is the practice of giving nursing calves access to extra

feed. This is done by placing a trough or self-feeder inside an enclosure

which excludes the cows but permits the calves to enter through narrow openings.

The production of slaughter calves in Florida represents one of the

largest sources of income to cattlemen. Calf production will remain an im-

portant industry in Florida because two-thirds of the land area in the state

is classified as flatlands, much of which is cut-over or poorly stocked wood-

lands and poorly drained areas suitable only for commercial cattle operations.

A majority of the commercial cows in the state possess poor beef conformation;

therefore, it is necessary to sell their calves at an early age before their

faults in beef conformation become pronounced enough to penalize their market

grade. Furthermore, the supply of pasture forage is seasonal, resulting in

a scant feed supply during the winter months. These pasture conditions have

forced the sale of many calves at weaning time or at the end of the grazing

season, In view of these existent conditions, the question is often asked,

'Will creep feeding of calves pay?"

Creep feeding is a controversial subject because it has been proven to be

either profitable or unprofitable, depending upon the situation. In an attempt

to present an unbiased report on the value of creep feeding, a study was made

of publications and correspondence from 55 beef cattle specialists in the 48

states and Hawaii. Their observations have been summarized as follows:

1Hentges, Assistant Animal Husbandman, Agricultural Experiment Station.

Creep feeding may not pay -

1. When calves will be carried over the winter as stockers, feeders or


2. When calves will be grain fed in drylot for 100 days or longer.

3. When pasture conditions are good and dam's milk flow is adequate.

4. When selecting replacement heifers on the basis of their weaning

weights which reflect their dam's milking ability.

5. When the range area is too large, inaccessible by vehicle, and cows

with calves do not gather at the same watering place daily.

Creep feeding may pay -

1. When adverse conditions such as drought, overstocked pastures, or

insufficient feed prevent adequate milk flow by cows.

2. When extra weight and finish are desired on calves to be marketed as

slaughter calves off the cow or after a short-postweaning feed.

3. When developing maximum bloom, body depths and weight on purebred

sale bulls and heifers,

4. When homegrown or inexpensive feeds can be marketed profitably in

slaughter calves

Major arguments against creep feeding are:

1. More effort should be put forth to produce good-milking, easy-

keeping cows and adequate pastures rather than covering up faulty

practices by creep feeding and indiscriminate use of nurse cows.

2. Milk production in cow herds may decrease when creep feeding is

practiced because the rancher will have lost his most valuable tool

for selecting replacement heifers from best producing cows that

is their weaning weight right off the teat without grain.

3. Extensive research has shown that non-creep fed calves were more

profitable when full fed in drylot. They made faster gains and


utilized their feed more efficiently than creep fed calves,

Feeders prefer thin thrifty feeder calves*

4. Research results reveal that it is difficult to distinguish creep

fed from non-creep fed heifers after wintering and grazing the

following summer.

Major arguments in favor of creep feeding are:

1. Non-descript calves with poor conformation can be increased in grade

and taken to heavier weights for sale at weaning time as slaughter

calves, thereby returning the most profit as such calves may not

attract a feeder demand.

2. Buyers at purebred cattle sales and some feeder calf sales pay a

premium for fatter cattle.

3. Creep fed calves out of first calf heifers will weigh and grade

higher and may be weaned earlier.

4. Under adverse conditions, cows can be given relief and calves pushed

to marketable finish by creep feeding.

5. Creep fed calves shrink less at weaning time and know how to eat*

6. On ranches troubled with internal parasites, the creep-fed calves

may be better able to withstand parasite infestation.

Location of the creep:

Ideal locations are near shade, water, mineral boxes or wherever the cows

and calves congregate daily. The area must be accessible to vehicles.

Construction of the creep:

A self feeder with wide overhanging eaves and a capacity of several

hundred pounds of feed has proven most satisfactory as it assures access to

dry clean feed at all times. The fence or panels surrounding the self feeder

should be constructed of treated posts and lumber. The openings in the creep

fence should be 15" wide for the calves to walk through. Narrow openings keep

cows out of the creep enclosure better than low wide openings.

Starting calves on creep feed

Patience and time are required to get calves into a creep, Use of older,

previously fed calves as decoys is helpful. Palatable feeds like alfalfa

leaves, wheat bran, cracked corn and crushed oats are widely used. A continual

supply of clean, dry, fresh feed is essential for success. Creep feeding should

be started as soon as calves will eat grain, usually 3 to 6 weeks of age.

Suggested creep feed mixtures:

When calves are under four months of age and the cows milk is abundant,

the mixture may be equal parts crushed oats and cracked corn, After four

months of age, cottonseed meal or other high protein (36 41%) feeds should

replace 10% of the oats. Dried citrus pulp and ground snapped corn are bulky

feeds which may be used up to 40% of the mixture replacing oats for calves

over four months of age. Calves started on creep feed early may consume 500

to 700 pounds of feed per calf before weaning,

Animal Husbandry
400 copies
4-7-55 sf -i

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs