HOW TO MEASURE FEED
One of the most important steps in market project management is weighing your animal. Feed amounts must be adjusted by knowing the weight changes. On average, weighing your project should be performed every two weeks for the first month and then weekly until the show. If a scale is not available for your use, there are other steps to give you a good idea of your projects growth rate
The best feeding plan begins with –
Quality Feed – Select a Quality Feed designed for market projects.
Feeding Plan – Have a Feeding Plan mapped out in writing!
Measure and Weigh Your Feed.
- Digital Scale
- Measuring Cup – for Dry ingredients
- Permanent Marker
Which Feed to Select?
The best question to ask about feed is, “is it a quality feed designed for market animals?” If the conversation starts with “this is a really cheap feed to buy” I would advise to walk away from that decision. Not that feed has to be expensive, but it’s fair to say that quality ingredients cost money. The other viewpoint is that most projects will require 6-11 bags of feed depending on which species you are raising. So if you are saving $5.00 a bag, at best you’d be savings maybe $25. $25 is not worth short changing your project out of eating a quality feed. Remember, we are raising a project for meat consumption…so feed quality counts in a successful project!
Feed Plans –
A feed plan is a guide to feeding your project specific amounts at specific weights for specific durations. By having a set plan, it will help to make adjustments to ensure that your project will make weight.
Measure and Weigh Your Feed
Feed comes in different textures, pellets or mash and each will weigh differently. Each feed manufacturer designs the size, consistency and density of the feed so it cannot be emphasized enough to measure out feed. Do not guess!
Tools for Measuring Feed -
Digital Scale – This is the most accurate type to have. A 6 or 12 lb. scale will meet your grain feeding needs. They can be purchased in the kitchen department at your local stores for $15-$25.
Feed – Have your starter foundation feed on hand and measure out the quantity. If the cup doesn’t match your measurement, mark the cup.
- Measuring Cups – Feed measuring cups will have measurements for Water, Textured Feed and Pellets. Most Powder Supplements will provide their own cups. Ask your feed dealer if they have brand specific cups available for your specific feed. Each brand of feed will measure out differently based on the density and design of their feed. Do not assume that if the cup says 16 oz. that you have 16 oz. of feed in the cup. Weigh it out! Don’t guess as it could cost you at the scale when you weigh your animal in. Weigh the cup, and then weigh the feed. Add the weight of the cup to the amount of feed.
- See how the cup measurements do not always match the scale?
- These examples are to show how the feed cup is designed to measure a specific feed. It is so important to weigh! You don’t want your measurements to be off.
The 1 lb. Coffee Can Story -
We have all used the old 1 lb. coffee can for all sorts of household tasks with measuring out feed was a main use! Now, you can still use the coffee can, but be sure to weigh and mark the can for your use. If you’re in a barn with several animals that are eating different feeds, do not share the measuring cups! Mark your name on your cup and only use your cup! This way you can be certain that you are feeding exactly according to your feed plan.
- Weighing Textured Feed – In the pictures, can you see that none of the scale measurements match the cups measurements? Textured feed can be light and airy which takes up more space in the cup. This textured feed is a combination of pellets and texture whole grains. See how the feed cup marks don’t always match?
Supplements are usually in a powder form and will not measure the same. CAUTION: ALWAYS MEASURE AND WEIGH SUPPLEMENTS and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If in doubt, ask! There are plenty of feed experts that want to see you succeed in using their products! Over feeding supplements can cause harm to your animal!
- Weighing Supplements – In the pictures, can you see that none of the scale measurements match the cups measurements?
Summary – Measure your feed every time you change it. It only takes a couple minutes! It will also keep you on your feed plan to make weight at your show!
For Feed Questions – Contact your advisor or feed dealer or write to us! One way or another, we’ll get you the expert advice you need about the brands that are available in your area!