Spring has Sprung! Supplementation Considerations.

Spring is definitely upon us and for those who have forgotten what it looks like, this is known as a whitetail deer buffet! We are currently experiencing one of the best springs I have ever seen, and that is great news as far as antler production is concerned. Antler growth is directly correlated with spring rainfall. Simply put, the more it rains March through May, the better antlers will be regardless of other variables.

It is important to note though that proper supplementation can still get you that extra 10% even in lush green conditions provided you are feeding the right feed correctly. Record Rack is formulated to excel in excellent habitat conditions and designed to complement native habitat, not substitute it. First of all, Record Rack is the most palatable feed we can put together designed to promote positive rumen function and not cause digestive upset. If we are able to keep the bugs happy in the gut, deer will associate that with positive feedback and that is ultimately how they make their browsing choices. Deer are concentrate selectors though and will always choose to mix a diet to meet their requirements which are above average vs other ruminants. It’s important to realize that inclusion of Record Rack in the diet enables deer to absorb more nutrients from their native diet due to the positive effects on the digestive system.

One other important point to call out is browse and forbs have an extremely high moisture content at this time of year. Included below is a habitat analysis done in south Texas in the spring of 2012.

Browse analysis done on South Texas Ranch. This consisted of class 1 preferred browse and forb species. Important to note that this sample was dried for about a week before being sent off for analysis. Moisture levels in browse and forbs that are fresh are typically much higher and nutrient density on as fed basis is typically even lower than this.

Moisture (%) 43.06 0.00
Dry Matter (%) 56.94 100.00
Crude Protein (%) 10.77 18.92
Ether Extract Fat (%) 1.43 2.51
Ash (%) 6.41 11.26
Calcium (%) 1.52 2.66
Phosphorous (%) 0.13 0.23
Magnesium (%) 0.17 0.29
NFC (%) 12.62 22.16
Total Digestible Nutrients (%) 33.66 59.11

Nutrient levels will vary from one ranch to the next and season to season, but you can see how high moisture levels water down the nutrient value on an as is basis. Deer have a small rumen and can only consume so much dry matter on a daily basis, so it’s important to maintain a nutrient dense feed source during this time that will maximize gut health and complement native habitat. Energy is one of the most limiting nutrients when it comes to antler production and doe lactation. It is important to call out that Record Rack contains excellent energy levels from fat while limiting the amount of starch introduced into the diet.

Deer can ultimately tell you what they prefer and what is better for them based on consistent intake. Take the Record Rack challenge and offer your deer several different pellets to see what they prefer, you will be surprised even in lush conditions that deer will utilize a good supplemental feed. Please feel free to contact us for a free supplemental feeding or habitat evaluation.

The feed room is proudly brought to you by Nutrena and Cargill Animal Nutrition. Learn more about us here. You can see the original blog post here.

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