Freezer beef basics

From time to time people ask about feeding out a few calves for freezer beef.  The following are some basic guidelines for growing and finishing a few head of beef cattle.

Grower Diets: Goals and Guidelines

Calf is weaned at 7 to 9 months of age (550 pounds)
Goal: Average daily gain of 2.0 to 2.25 pounds per day until 800 pounds

Diet composition: Commonly 60% grain/concentrate and 40% roughage

Feeding Guidelines
1.5% of body weight per day of an 85% cracked, rolled, etc. corn/15% cottonseed meal mix, and moderate to high-quality long-stem hay fed free choice
2.5% of body weight per day of 50:50 soyhulls/corn gluten feed mix, plus moderate to high-quality long-stem hay fed free choice

To start calves on this mixture, gradually increase the amount of concentrate mixture being fed by 1 to 2 pounds every 2 to 3 days until on full-feed. Feed two times per day. Make sure calves clean up feeding troughs before providing additional grain/concentrate mix.

Finishing Diets: Goals and Guidelines

Goal: Average daily gain of > 3.0 pounds per day until 1200 pounds

Diet composition:  Commonly 80% grain/concentrate and 20% roughage

Feeding Guidelines
2.0 to 2.25% of body weight per day of cracked, rolled, etc. corn (may consider adding 5-10% cottonseed hulls to improve texture and palatability)

At least 0.5% of body weight per day as moderate to good-quality long-stemmed hay

Increase amount of grain in diet by 3 to 4 pounds every three days until on full feed. Providing long-stem roughage during this period is critical for proper digestive system function and animal health.


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