Cattle FAQs

- Frequently Asked Questions -

How much hay does an average cow need for a 100 day winter?

Answer posted by Liz J

Others can probably give a better answer in terms of pounds of hay, but I use, as a rule of thumb, 1/3 of a small square bale (approx. 1.5 ft x 3 ft) per day for an adult cow (with or without a calf), assuming there is some green grass available as well. (We don't have snow here, so there is usually some green stuff around through the winter.) I feed 1/4 of a small bale for a yearling, and 1/5 of a small bale for calves 6 months to a year.

I feed out half the hay as lucerne and half as grass hay. The lucerne is to help keep the protein content up, as grass hay is low in protein, and winter grass doesn't have as much protein as spring grass.

Answer posted by Dave

I figure that a dry cow will eat about 2.5% of her body weight in dry matter per day. So a 1,200 lb cow needs 30 lbs. of dry matter. Now there are a lot of variables from there. The nutrient quality of the hay, the weather etc etc. If you only have 100 days of winter you must be further south than I am so you probably have milder winters too. Generally 30 lbs per day of good quality grass hay works out for me in my climate.

Answer posted by GW

In East Texas we generally figure on feeding 5 round bales per grown cow per winter. If you have a cover crop that is reduced of course.

Answer posted by Jeff

I use the rule of thumb of 1 ton (approx. 30 small square or 2 4x6 round bales) per month per animal. I also supplement their grass hay with 3 lbs of 14-16% feed per day.