Each summer, our family brings in a group of calves to sell for kids to buy for their next 4-H project and show season. The calves come from a variety of farms, and often have had a huge difference in how they were started. It’s not hard to tell which ones have been pampered and came from a small farm where they see people every day and get hands-on attention; especially compared to the calves that only see people riding on ATV’s through the pasture before being weaned and loaded up on the trailer. Regardless, it’s a must for me that they come from farms who do a good job managing their creep feeders and put a quality product in for them to get started on.
Why Creep Feeding is Important
There are so many benefits to creep feeding in general and it’s important to pick the right creep feed for your club calves. Giving your calves the added advantage of being started on grain before weaning will save you time getting them rolling toward their first day in the show ring. Not only this, but your brood cows will stay in better condition and likely breed back sooner when they’re not the only source of nutrients for the young calves. Let’s take a dive into some options you have for getting these calves started pre- and post-weaning.
Choosing A Quality Creep Feed for Your Calves
My personal favorite feed for young calves is Show Calf Accelerator. It’s one of the most versatile feeds in the Formula of Champions® line of show feeds and does such a great job giving these calves exactly what they need. It’s crucial that we put some spring and fill in these calves while they’re young and their ribs are still hardening. If we can give them a rounder ribcage at this time, it’s more likely that they’ll stay rounder ribbed as they mature. The cottonseed hulls and other high fiber components of Accelerator will help put a great spring in their center body. When it comes to bloom and condition, I use the 3 bears concept for how it will work: not too green, not too fat, but just right. I love being able to use the same complete feed for the creep feeder through weaning, sale season, and even into some early jackpots. If we can keep the cattle on one consistent product through all of those stressful phases in their young life, it eliminates a lot of issues that they could otherwise face. Accelerator is also medicated with Bovatec® (lasalocid) and contains a high level of Opti-Ferm XL® for gut health and feed conversion. This one is my choice for getting both steers and heifers primed up for sale season. We’ve won the prospect steer show at Ohio State Fair with a calf that was on nothing but Accelerator and hay.
Another option to consider is the Show Cattle Creep. This is a great higher protein option for farms wanting to grow their calves with a bit more size and fill before starting to pack on much condition. This highly palatable textured feed seems to suit the maternal operations really well. It’s especially important to the purebred herds so that we don’t get those babies too chubby too quick, and risk burning them out or putting too much fat in their chest and front end. The Show Cattle Creep fits this need, allowing these calves to grow a bit more and stay just a bit leaner as compared to Accelerator. This feed is medicated with Decoquinate for extra prevention of coccidia in these young developing calves and contains Opti-Ferm XL®, as well.
It’s funny to me when I go to a farm where they’re using the Accelerator on purebred Simmys or the Show Calf Creep on clubby bred steers and have been very happy with the results, even though it’s not exactly how we advertise their use. This just goes to show you how sound nutrition and high-quality products can make the most of livestock, no matter what. The consistency of these Formula of Champions® products is truly second to none, and we use fixed formulas to guarantee you the same high-quality product every time you open the bag. The look and texture alone are enough to get any feed junkie, like myself, excited and eager to use them.
Rumi-Fill Complete™ Preconditioner Feed for Show Cattle
I’d be remised if I didn’t bring up our brand-new feed, Rumi-Fill Complete™. Even though this a pelleted feed, you’ll figure out that it’s no ordinary pellet. There are so many ways to use this product and it essentially has a place on about any cattle operation. You’ll notice right off the bat that it’s larger in size than most pellets, allowing us to pack a lot of highly digestible fiber into this product. It’s very well-fortified and contains LifeGuard®, a proprietary blend of probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes and essential oils. All of this, combined with the high chromium levels, will keep cattle healthier and more feed efficient when fed Rumi-Fill Complete™. Although it is not a part of the Formula of Champions® line, there are many ways to incorporate this feed into your show cattle diets. If desired, this could be a good high fiber option to use in your creep feeders. I like the thought of adding Rumi-Fill to Show Calf Accelerator when it comes time for sale season. This combination will keep the calves nice and full and is great for their gut. We could also use Rumi-Fill when it comes time to slow a steer down for a hold or just to add some rib once they’re chubby enough for where they’re at. Perhaps my favorite use for Rumi-Fill Complete™ is adding it to Guts & Glory® for show heifers. We obviously don’t want to get them too fat, but it’s become more and more important to get them as big-ribbed and deep as possible. The combination of Rumi-Fill Complete™ and Guts & Glory® can be used at different intervals to maximize ribshape and maintain condition. I know not all of these uses pertain to our creep feeding topic, but the possibilities with Rumi-Fill Complete™ are endless and it’s exciting to add this to our lineup!
Creep feeding calves should be easy. Find the product that’s going to fit your needs and let the calves go to town on it. All of these are palatable products designed for gut health and performance. The guess work is done, the products are in stock, and the calves are hitting the ground. Gear up for the most successful set of babies you’ve had start on feed, and let us know when you’ve hit the winners circle!