Gut Fill and How To Tell If Your Cattle Are Performing 

If you are just starting out with cattle, regardless of how many head of cattle you have, you might be asking yourself if your cows are eating enough to eat. Today I hope to answer that question for you.

Determining the gut fill on your cow herd is relatively easy. To do this, you need to look at a cow/steer on their left side. Once your on the left side, you need to look behind the “pin bone” or “hook”, which looks like the hip bone of the cow that sticks out toward their rear end. From this bone, working toward the back end of the cow is where you will determine if the cow is getting enough to eat, or if your are limiting her. If this area is dipped inward, then that cow is being limited and you need to give your herd access to more grass. If the area has a slight¬†hump, then your cow is performing well.

As you can see in the picture above, with the bull that is closest to us, he is full. You can see a slight bump where his “pin bone” is, and the area between that bone and his rear end is slightly raised or flush.

This picture is an extreme example, but it proves my point. Lets take a look.

You can see that this particular steer is in terrible shape. It looks like you could fit a bowl into the area we are talking about. If you take decent care of your cows, they will not look like this. However, if you see that indentation on their left side in this area, you are limiting them and they need more to eat. This is an easy and effective way to make sure your herd, even if it’s one cow, is getting enough to eat.

Is there anyone out there that has used this method before? How about any other ways of  determining if you herd has had enough to eat? Please let me know in the comments below.

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Chris Stelzer

Chris Stelzer is a published Author, founder of Agricultural Insights and creator of many resources that help family farmers and ranchers grow their businesses. His flagship courses are the Grazing Mastery Program and The Farm Marketing Mastery Program. 

Chris Stelzer

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