Signs Your Cattle Feed Has Gone Bad


If you have found some old cattle feed stored in your barn, you may wonder if it is safe enough to give to your herd. If so, you need to be careful about examining it closely, as bad feed can cause serious problems with your cattle, including spontaneous abortions in pregnant cows. When you are inspecting the feed, look for the following signs that it has gone bad.

Musty or Sour Odor While Mixing the Feed

One of the first signs you may notice when your old cattle feed has gone bad is the smell. When the feed has mold growing in it, you will detect a strong musty odor. Or, when it has started to rot, the air around it will smell sour.

You may not notice a change in the feed's scent, however, until you start mixing it up. Mold spores can bury themselves deep within the feed where it is dark, warm, and moist.

And, since no air can get through to the middle or bottom of the feed, once it is wet, it will stay wet. This constant moisture makes a perfect environment for mold and mycotoxins to grow, as well as cause the feed to start rotting.

While mixing up the feed, make sure you reach down towards the bottom of the pile to fully inspect it. If you detect a foul odor, or you find areas that are wet, there is a good chance the feed is not safe to give to your cattle.

Color of the Feed Has Changed

Another sign that your cattle feed has grown sour or moldy is a change in its color. Depending on the type of feed you have, fresh feed should have a light- to medium-brown hue. 

However, depending on the problem with the feed, you will see color variations. If mold is growing in the feed, you may see patches of light to blackish green indicating healthy growth of the mold. 

If the feed has stayed wet and is starting to rot, it may turn a dark brown color. Since the color will show in only affected areas, stir up the feed to examine all of it, as even a small patch of sour feed could cause illness in your cattle.

Whether you find any of the above signs of bad feed or are unsure about its safety, it is better to throw it out than to risk making your herd sick. Contact your agricultural supplier about ordering new, fresh cattle feed to replace it.


22 August 2018

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