What Bison Eat
Bison health is a prority at Harlow Ranch Bison Co!
Bison are a key element in regenerating the ranch from the soil up. As we use different crops to increase soil health and nutrients, the bison are intaking those nutrients to grow strong and healthy.
Harlow Ranch bison eat lots of grass and grass hay. The bison’s favorite treat is Range Cake. We feed Killorn Bison cubes. Another rancher from this area developed this feed specifically to compensate for what the soil and the plants are lacking in our region. It has a vitamin/mineral package and it has 16% protein. This cake keeps them healthy and happy and gets us lots of great photo ops.
To give you an idea of their daily intake, each bison typically eats 25 lbs of grass or hay and 1 lb of range cakes.
Because mineral deficiencies are a leading cause of disease and failure to thrive, we feed RioMax 360 mineral tubs. Unlike other mineral tubs and loose minerals, these tubs do not have any oxides or sulfates. Minerals with those components are not absorbed by the animals and they come right out in the manure and the urine and they actually damage the soil. More invasive annual grasses like cheatgrass and ventenata are found where oxides and sulfates are a large part of the diet. With the RioMax they get white salt blocks and that completes their nutritional requirements and helps them to thrive on the all-natural diet.
Water on the ranch comes from Sqaylth-kwum Creek (also known as Squaw Creek). We also have one stock tank that is fed by a natural spring. It is so nice not to have water that goes through treatment with chlorine or fluoride or anything else. We drink the same water they do so we test it for safety. It’s delicious!
Weed management is a large focus on the ranch as we focus is on building soil health to make it inhospitable to weeds. To build the soil, along with the help of the bison, we add natural soil amendments like Liquid Calcium and Humitech from Agritech and RhyzoGreen from RioMax. We don’t spray any pesticides at all and use the absolute minimal spot spraying to contain the noxious weeds that pop up. We also use beetles on the knapweed and the St. Johns Wort. Our goats are great for weed control and the bison also do a great job of cleaning their pastures.
The Range Cakes are made in Montana and provide the bison with a boost of:
- Crude Protein
- Crude Fat
- Crude Fiber
- Vitamin A, D & E
Ingredients include: Processed Grain Byproducts, Molasses Products, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Bentonite, Monocalcium Phosphate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Plant Protein Products, Salt, Sodium Selenium Yeast, Yeast Culture, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Basic Copper Chloride, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Cobalt Carbonate.