Cows/Cattle/cows and cattle
Karin wrote at 2012-12-25 18:46:32
Eileen, if you happen across this additional answer, I believe "pre-grown" wheatgrass is simply wheatgrass before it reaches full maturity, i.e., goes into seed.
I had already answered his questions about putting them inside buildings, and recommended it wasn't a good idea. I live further north than Michigan (in Alberta, Canada, to be "exact") and none of the backgrounded or feedlotted cattle see the inside of a building for most of the year. You can see my responses here: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Cows-Cattle-3479/2012/12/cows-cattle-1.htm
As for the question he asked about native grass, I highly recommend he does NOT feed them on native grass!! So, no it is NOT a good thing! That's a great way to get them to loose weight that he was working so hard to get them on. The majority of native grass can only be grazed in the fall or when they've gone into dormancy in order for them to come back and grow every year, not get grazed out to the point of non-existence. The best kind of pasture to graze stockers on is tame grassland on grasses that can be grazed when they are in the vegetative or pre-bloom stage. At this stage is when nutrition levels in the grasses are the highest. I believe grasses like brome, timothy, orchard grass, fescue, blue-grass and even the so-called "pest" of quack-grass (a type of wheat-grass) are the best for grazing stockers on. Up here that's what we grazed our cattle on and they did quite well on it.
Why grass? Grass is the diet of all ungulates and members of the bovine family, from the ancient Aurochs to the American Bison have been existing, surviving and thriving on since before the dawn of Mankind. It is the most primitive and native diet of all bovines, and the kind of forage that cattle do quite well on. Ignore all the hypocrisy about how much more methane cows produce when on pasture, the benefits of cows on pasture greatly outweigh the cons that the animal rights and environmental extremists try to make up.
There are two types of microflora in a cow's rumen: starch microbes and fibre microbes. It is not healthy for a cow to have too much starch or an all-starch diet because of the major digestive and metabolic upsets it gets--acidosis, founder and bloat are just a few problems that a bovine experiences when on such a ration. A cow is healthiest when on a diet that is very low to non-existent on starch and contains more fibre. Forages contain the nutrients, like protein, major macro-minerals like calcium and phosphorus that a cow needs to meet her or its requirements. Grass pretty well quenches a bovine's cravings for fibre in its diet. Too much fibre, of course, can kill a cow. Poor-quality forage is one that will have far more fibre than protein, which will slow rumen motility and even kill off a few microbes because there's simply not enough nutrient for those microbes to live and reproduce on. Horses do better on poor-quality forage than cows do.
If you've got poor-quality forage like crappy, straw-y hay, there's nothing wrong with supplementing them with a source of protein like canola meal or soybean meal. Molasses simply adds carbohydrates, not protein, and is just a means to get cattle to eat something that they aren't too big of a fan of eating.