Bulletin (Iowa Agricultural Experiment Station)

Article Title

A feeding experiment


Several years ago I saw an interesting account of a feeding experiment in a newspaper, but the result was not satisfactory. The statement was as follows: “Two fat steers which had been off feed for twelve hours, were fed good rations of corn meal in the morning, and as soon as it was eaten, they were driven across the street to a slaughter house and butchered. When their stomachs were examined, it was found that most of the meal had passed directly from their gullets to the third apartments or manifolds of their stomachs,” but here the experiment was dropped. Dr. Armsby says in his work on cattle feeding, “that cows have been wintered on corn meal exclusively, and that, although rumination was entirely suspended for several months, no ill effects were observed.” As many farmers feed meal and grain to their cows before they give them hay, it is important that we should know whether the remastication of such food is advantageous or not. When we feed meal in large quantities to fattening cattle, much of it passes through them undigested. By mixing meal with cut hay or straw, we could compel cattle to remasticate a large share of it. Would it pay to do so or not, is a question which I tried to solve in February and March of 1889. From a lot of twenty-nine calves, I selected six animals that were from 9 to 10 months old, and much alike in size and vigor. On the eighth day of February, three of them were placed in one stall and the other three in another. On the first day of the trial each lot o f calves received ten pounds of corn and cob meal in the morning and as much more in the evening, and both lots received all of the hay and water that they wanted from the beginning to the end of the experiment. In the west stall the meal was fed dry and timothy hay was fed afterwards. We ran a part of the hay for the lot in the east stall through a feed cutter, and at the regular feeding times some of it was moistened and the rations of meal were thorouglv mixed with it before they were given to the calves. In a few days the daily allowance of meal for each lot of calves was increased from twenty to twenty-four pounds, which was the daily meal ration afterwards to the end of the trial. After the 12th o f March, each lot of calves received daily seven pounds of beets. The weight of each calf was recorded daily from the beginning to the end o f the experiment.