Creep Feeding - Frequently Asked Questions
What is creep feeding?
Creep feeding is when you supply a supplemental feed to
calves before they are weaned.
What are the advantages of using a creep feed?
Creep feeding helps to supplement the milk from the
mothers and extend your grazing season. It has the
potential to give you increased calf weaning weights,
increased pasture stocking rates, introduction to feed
before weaning which will help with less shrink at the
time of weaning, and calves will grow to their genetic
potential just to name a few advantages.
Management of the fall body condition of beef cows
including early weaning and creep feeding, have economic
value and can reduce roughage needs for the entire winter
feeding season. Producers with 150 cows could see returns
from body condition management totaling over $25,000.
Is creep feeding advantageous for everyone?
Although creep feed studies have consistently shown an
increase in weaning weight of calves most instances have
failed to show an economic advantage at time of calf sales
because of poor conversion of the creep feed to extra
pounds of calf weaned. Creep feeding is most advantageous
when calf prices are high, feed prices low, drylot
operations, poor pasture conditions, fall-born calves,
purebred bull calves and larger framed breed types.
Factors to consider other than calf sales, is creep
feeding to maximize body score condition management of
cows and the economic impact on winter feed costs.
See the following website for a creep feed calculator that
will assist you in making this management decision: http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/app19/calc/livestock/creepsheet.jsp
This calculator is intended to assist producers to
determine whether creep feeding will be economically
beneficial to the operation. Often, the decision is based
solely on "the weight gain" expected. This
calculator will show the economic gain expected
What should be included in a creep feed?
Locally grown grains make a good base for most creep
feeds. The ration should be nutrient dense and highly
palatable. Simple mixtures of grain and a protein
supplement will make a good creep feed.
Creep Feeding Calculator
This calculator is intended to assist producers to determine
whether creep feeding will be economically beneficial to the
operation. Often, the decision is based solely on "the
weight gain" expected. This calculator will show the
economic gain expected.
||Feed conversion of the creep feed varies greatly
between feed types, and between animal types. On
average, protein creep feeds, those with protein
between 30 and 45%, have conversion between 2.5:1 and
4:1. Commercial creep feeds, balanced in protein
and energy have feed conversion between 4:1 and 7:1. Energy
creep feed, or straight grain creep feed,
have feed conversions typically between 8:1 and 15:1,
although 30:1 has been documented.
||Creep feeder value is the purchase price of the feeder
taken over the life expectancy of the feeder plus an
annual depreciation and repair cost.