Managing Pasture Bloat In Cows On Fresh Pasture

Pasture season is upon us in full swing. Lush green paddocks and cows wanting to only eat the fresh pasture: a new season of growth is upon us! Pasture and cows go together like a hand in a glove – yet sizing the paddocks to the amount of cows and the age of animals is critical to keep things in balance, both for the cows’ nutrition and for proper re-growth.

Remember that if cows are put onto legume pasture for 3 days in a row or more, their chances of bloating are greatly increased, especially in the lush growth part of the season like now. Preventing pasture bloat is entirely preventable by feeding the cows effective fiber a half hour before sending them yet out to gorge on the same lush legume stands again as the previous days.

It takes a few days for the bloat to build up. Fortunately, poloxalene (TheraBloat®) is now allowed for emergency use in organics without having to permanently remove the animal from the herd. Unfortunately, every year at this time there are some herds that experience death from pasture bloat.

The first day the cows are in a paddock, it is a dining room. The second day the cows are in the same paddock, it is a living room. The third day the cows are in the same paddock, it is a bathroom. Think about it. While it takes good management to make the most of nutrition from paddocks, lack of management yields nothing good.

Keep moving your cows through your pastures and don’t let an area become primarily a bathroom where the cows walk around without any meaningful feed for most of the day.

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