Feeding the Show Steer
OSU Extension Beef Specialist
Receiving the Animal: Find out what the calf was being fed, and blend that diet as at least part of the new diet. Calves will suffer less stress if you reduce their fed and water intake by 1/2-2/3 on the day they are shipped. Another calf of similar age and weight in the pen will help make the new arrival feel more at home. Always make changes in diet ingredients and amounts gradually over time.
Initially including at least 30% roughage in the diet can reduce digestive problems. Let them have access to some long stem grass hay. The starter ration may include some molasses, about 1/2 rolled corn, 1/2 rolled or crimped oats plus a protein supplement, vitamins, and minerals.
Calves that have already been weaned and are consuming grain are easier to start up on feed. Calves that have not been weaned or were weaned only recently need to be brought up on feed gradually over a 2 to 3 week time period. You may want to start with 3 to 6 pounds of your grain mix per feeding (6-12 lbs per day). Increase the amount of grain they get by 1/2 a pound per day over the next 2 to 3 weeks.