Steer won’t gain weight

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TFF2020

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
7
I have a March of 2023 show steer he weighed 735lbs at 4H weigh ins in January
2 weeks later he weighed 766 in the beginning of March he weighed 882 that was March 9th to be exact on April 20th he weighed 862 and today May 12th he weighs 850 Please somebody help he hasn’t gone off feed he just seems finicky ….. we have pulled feed for 24 hours he will then clean up his feed but then it drops back off again! He gets about 25lbs of feed a day which is a mix our feed mill came up with to try to get him to gain weight he might eat 10lbs a day if we are lucky! We were giving beet pulp, cotton seed, precon and ultra full as additives but we were advised to pull those all after talking to a breeder to try to get him back on full feed it’s not working he is still picking. We had him penned up and off pasture that didn’t work let him go back on pasture that didn’t work. He was dewormed a month ago didn’t change anything. If I pour molasses on he will pick through the feed and eat the stuff that has molasses let the rest lay! We have a July 10th end date of 1100-1400lbs which is 6lbs a day I highly doubt he will make it at this point but I still need help to try for a state fair end at end of August if possible! I’m desperate
 

Jive Turkey

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 14, 2008
Messages
256
I have a March of 2023 show steer he weighed 735lbs at 4H weigh ins in January
2 weeks later he weighed 766 in the beginning of March he weighed 882 that was March 9th to be exact on April 20th he weighed 862 and today May 12th he weighs 850 Please somebody help he hasn’t gone off feed he just seems finicky ….. we have pulled feed for 24 hours he will then clean up his feed but then it drops back off again! He gets about 25lbs of feed a day which is a mix our feed mill came up with to try to get him to gain weight he might eat 10lbs a day if we are lucky! We were giving beet pulp, cotton seed, precon and ultra full as additives but we were advised to pull those all after talking to a breeder to try to get him back on full feed it’s not working he is still picking. We had him penned up and off pasture that didn’t work let him go back on pasture that didn’t work. He was dewormed a month ago didn’t change anything. If I pour molasses on he will pick through the feed and eat the stuff that has molasses let the rest lay! We have a July 10th end date of 1100-1400lbs which is 6lbs a day I highly doubt he will make it at this point but I still need help to try for a state fair end at end of August if possible! I’m desperate
Has he been wormed?
 

looking4champions

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 8, 2015
Messages
84
Location
Southeast
First and foremost. Slow down and breath.!!!! The easiest and worst thing to do is to start changing a steer's ration. Especially when you're desperate. Adding this, taking a way that.... etc. doesn't give you ample time to gauge what's working and what's not working. Be grateful he's not bloating!!!! You definitely DO NOT want to add that problem to what you're already dealing with.

Feeding a show calf is all about consistency and doing what works for YOUR calf, not what others tell you works for them and theirs.... or maybe even what worked yesterday for your calf.. You want him to not only eat because he's hungry... But also because it's a formed habit!

I think the feed mill has helped you a lot by offering you a base ration. That's where it all starts. You have to have a good base ration and have a steer eating that ration consistently before supplementing. If he's not eating your base ration consistently, then revisit the base. What feedstuffs are in the ration. What's the protein, fiber and fat content. Even more important, what does his stool like like. That's going to give you solid indication if he's getting enough protein, fiber, fat/energy.

Start off by getting your calf in a good rhythm. If he was eating 12.5 lbs per feeding. Cut him back 2 lbs per feeding. Anybody who has feed a steer knows sometimes you have to take a step backward to go forward 3. If he eats 10 lbs twice a day. Give him that. Gradually go up. Don't rush the calf. Don't increase his feed until he consistently cleans up all you put in the through. A good sign is the trough being wet or having lick marks in it. Then bump him up a little after two days of that.... Just make sure it's increased over time. Gradually. Give him some good hay as well. You gotta keep his rumen functioning.

Do you feed the steer at the same time in the morning and evening, or at the same times daily? Whether it's 2 or 3 times. Be consistent as possibly. Feed at the same time(s) every day within an hour of those times.

All of these; beet pulp, cotton seed, precon and ultra full are typically used for adding roughage and trying to get expansion. Precon is a complete feed, but it does expand. So there, I can see why your breeder advised you stop feeding those.


I wish you the best. All steers do not eat or grow/mature the same. It's difficult feeding one that is a picky eater, but more often than not, you can manage the trough and get it dialed in to where even a picky eater will get to where you want them to go.
 

TFF2020

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
7
First and foremost. Slow down and breath.!!!! The easiest and worst thing to do is to start changing a steer's ration. Especially when you're desperate. Adding this, taking a way that.... etc. doesn't give you ample time to gauge what's working and what's not working. Be grateful he's not bloating!!!! You definitely DO NOT want to add that problem to what you're already dealing with.

Feeding a show calf is all about consistency and doing what works for YOUR calf, not what others tell you works for them and theirs.... or maybe even what worked yesterday for your calf.. You want him to not only eat because he's hungry... But also because it's a formed habit!

I think the feed mill has helped you a lot by offering you a base ration. That's where it all starts. You have to have a good base ration and have a steer eating that ration consistently before supplementing. If he's not eating your base ration consistently, then revisit the base. What feedstuffs are in the ration. What's the protein, fiber and fat content. Even more important, what does his stool like like. That's going to give you solid indication if he's getting enough protein, fiber, fat/energy.

Start off by getting your calf in a good rhythm. If he was eating 12.5 lbs per feeding. Cut him back 2 lbs per feeding. Anybody who has feed a steer knows sometimes you have to take a step backward to go forward 3. If he eats 10 lbs twice a day. Give him that. Gradually go up. Don't rush the calf. Don't increase his feed until he consistently cleans up all you put in the through. A good sign is the trough being wet or having lick marks in it. Then bump him up a little after two days of that.... Just make sure it's increased over time. Gradually. Give him some good hay as well. You gotta keep his rumen functioning.

Do you feed the steer at the same time in the morning and evening, or at the same times daily? Whether it's 2 or 3 times. Be consistent as possibly. Feed at the same time(s) every day within an hour of those times.

All of these; beet pulp, cotton seed, precon and ultra full are typically used for adding roughage and trying to get expansion. Precon is a complete feed, but it does expand. So there, I can see why your breeder advised you stop feeding those.


I wish you the best. All steers do not eat or grow/mature the same. It's difficult feeding one that is a picky eater, but more often than not, you can manage the trough and get it dialed in to where even a picky eater will get to where you want them to go.
Thank You so much for your advice I really appreciate it!! I’m trying very hard to just breathe and not get frustrated! We have fed out many show steers over the years and for whatever reason this one is a challenge! He has bloated 2 times but not bad we put him in the pasture to walk it off and so far that has worked! We feed twice a day we try to be as consistent as possible with feed times. Yesterday he ate really good so hopefully he will stay on that path! I’ll weigh again on Sunday and hopefully have a good update just praying the numbers go up even if only 5lbs! Thanks again!
 

TFF2020

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
7
So May 12th he was 850lbs ….. May 25th he was 906lbs and most recently June 4th he was 934lbs!!!!! We started slowly adding supplements back he would chow down on supplements like precon, beat pulp and cottonseed hulls then decided he didn’t want his normal 12% grain from the feed mill so we bought a pellet feed from TSC might not be the best quality but he seems to like it and he is gaining now!! We went from 4lbs and day to now 3lbs a day but in his defense he has bloated 2 times in the past 2 weeks and we have had a few 85+ degree days!!!
 

vc

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 24, 2007
Messages
1,820
Location
So-Cal
Make sure you weigh him at the same time each time you weigh him, If it is in the afternoon of first thing in the morning, keep it consistent. The reason is they can swing in weight 40 to 50 pounds in the same day, if you weighed him empty he might weigh 950, on the same day full it could be a 60 pound swing. If he had eaten his morning feed and drank 6 gallons of water, that would be 12 lbs for feed and 48+lbs for the water. We always weighed Sunday evening prior to kicking out and feeding, it helps you get a consistent ADG on them.
 

TFF2020

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
7
Make sure you weigh him at the same time each time you weigh him, If it is in the afternoon of first thing in the morning, keep it consistent. The reason is they can swing in weight 40 to 50 pounds in the same day, if you weighed him empty he might weigh 950, on the same day full it could be a 60 pound swing. If he had eaten his morning feed and drank 6 gallons of water, that would be 12 lbs for feed and 48+lbs for the water. We always weighed Sunday evening prior to kicking out and feeding, it helps you get a consistent ADG on them.
ok Thank You!! I do try to weigh around the same time usually in the early evening which is hours after he ate ….. but I didn’t realize it would be that dramatic of difference! I’ll try to be more consistent and change the time to after he eats and drinks his morning feeding!!
 

STEERS4-ever

New member
Joined
Jun 16, 2024
Messages
1
I don’t know if anyone has said this but my steer has experienced appetite loss when he is shucking his hair. He has also lost his appetite when the weather is changing from cold to warm. I recommend S’More Fill by Sunglo Feeds. It has really changed the game for my steer. He goes nuts every time he sees it! I mix some into his feed and he seems to eat a lot better with it.
 

TFF2020

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
7
I don’t know if anyone has said this but my steer has experienced appetite loss when he is shucking his hair. He has also lost his appetite when the weather is changing from cold to warm. I recommend S’More Fill by Sunglo Feeds. It has really changed the game for my steer. He goes nuts every time he sees it! I mix some into his feed and he seems to eat a lot better with it.
Thank You I will definitely try this!! Today he was 978lbs ….. 22 days to fair needs to be 1100lbs to make minimum weight.
 

vc

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 24, 2007
Messages
1,820
Location
So-Cal
Was that weight empty, is so you can make it no problem, from May 12 to June 4 He gained 3.65 lbs a day, if he continues on that pace he will weigh 1058, if you feed him 12 pounds of grain and get him to drink at least 6 gallons of water prior to weigh in, he should weigh around 1118. You want to water him in a bucket that holds at least 15 gallons, it has been my experience that once a calf starts drinking they do not stop until they have all the water they want, but if the bucket runs dry in the middle of them drinking, it is hard to get them drinking again.
I looked at the past eight days, in that time it pencils out to 5.5 a day, so he may have not been as empty the last as the weight prior.
Good luck, hopefully it all works out for you and your animal,
 

TFF2020

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2020
Messages
7
Was that weight empty, is so you can make it no problem, from May 12 to June 4 He gained 3.65 lbs a day, if he continues on that pace he will weigh 1058, if you feed him 12 pounds of grain and get him to drink at least 6 gallons of water prior to weigh in, he should weigh around 1118. You want to water him in a bucket that holds at least 15 gallons, it has been my experience that once a calf starts drinking they do not stop until they have all the water they want, but if the bucket runs dry in the middle of them drinking, it is hard to get them drinking again.
I looked at the past eight days, in that time it pencils out to 5.5 a day, so he may have not been as empty the last as the weight prior.
Good luck, hopefully it all works out for you and your animal,
I would say he may have been a little more full with this last weight because he had bloated so he was out on pasture to walk it off and when he came back in late morning he did eat which was a little later then his normal feeding time! Today we added winning fill to his feed and he went nuts eating it I wish we would have added it sooner but fingers crossed this does the trick we have been looking for!!! I really appreciate your confidence in him takes a little stress off of me! Thank You so much!
 
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