Maintaining cow health when changing diets

Diet transition in dairy cows should be made gradually to allow them to adapt to the new feed.

Abrupt transitions can disrupt healthy rumen function, feed intake and health. Monitor cow responses for early warning signs of problems to avoid decrease in milk production, ill health and death.

 

Download the 'Maintaining cow health when changing diets' fact sheet.

Key messages

  • Transition cows gradually onto new feed over 7 – 14 days
  • Rumen microbes need time to adapt to new feed sources
  • Also monitor animal responses to other risk factors such as toxic components
  • Equal access to the feed for each cow is essential
  • It is not about what you feed, it is about what they eat
  • Highest risk is for very palatable low fibre feeds
  • Risk is influenced by both quantity and speed of eating