CBC capsules are feed supplements that contain microcrystalline cellulose and dried molasses. They are designed to be fed to cows for short periods, usually during the dry period or transition from fresh to stored feed. Intake management of CBC capsules is complex because the various factors affecting it are complicated. The main factors to consider are discussed below.
Age and Development Status of the Cow
The age and stage of lactation greatly affect a cow’s eating behavior. Cows in early lactation show a strong preference for high-fiber feeds, whereas cows in mid to late lactation tend to prefer greater amounts of concentrates. In addition, dairy cows tend to eat more during the first three weeks postpartum than during the first two weeks and more than during weeks four and five.
Type of Ration Fed
CBC is often used as a pellet binder in commercial rations. Pelleted feeds reduce sorting behavior compared to lose mixes because they are uniform in shape and texture. As a result, rumen fill is maximized, resulting in decreased CBC capsules consumption. However, it is known that loose mixes cause more selective feeding than pelleted feeds due to differences in the size and shape of feed particles.
Feeding Environment (Ruminant vs. Non-ruminant)
CBC intake is lower for ruminants than non-ruminant species. This is most likely due to the physical differences in the digestive tracts. CBC is consumed less when given with a pelleted diet than with a loose mix. Research has also shown that intake of CBC decreases when mixed with feeds such as hay and straw compared with feeds such as soyhulls and alfalfa cubes.
Cows’ food intake decreases because they prefer one diet over another. During the summer months, cows prefer fresh grass and will not eat the same CBC capsules as in winter. Therefore, it is important to provide different diets throughout the year so that cows gain access to enough nutrients.