Spring Green-Up, don’t let grazing get ahead of you

As we start to see the robins flying, frogs starting to chirp at night, and the grass starting to green up, we need to think about acclimatizing our animals to pasture again.  The microbes in the gut of ruminant animals (and also horses) needs time to adjust to the different type of feed-the pasture.  This is a process that should be done over a period of time to allow the microbes and the animal to adjust to the “new” feed.  You especially don’t want hungry animals going out on pasture in the spring.   To complete the transition, you want to continue to offer the normal winter feed along with the spring pasture.  You may also want to offer hay as part of the transition process (i.e. supplementing a haylage diet with hay).  This allows your livestock to nibble on the higher fiber feed from the winter when it is needed.  Over the course of a couple of weeks you can then reduce the amount of higher fiber feeds in the animal’s diet as long as there is adequate pasture growth.  Make sure to “read” your animals though: if you see signs of diarrhea, you want to increase the amount of hay/high fiber feed supplied in the diet. You can read more about the transition process at https://goo.gl/eQGRBk. 

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