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cotton seed help #8225729 04/05/21 11:46 AM
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Trackman Offline OP
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Any idea how to help get my herd started on cotton seed?
I have 2 stations out for over 6 weeks and they haven't touched it that i can tell.
I'm located in the southeast and i'm sure no one else is feeding it here, but I've seen it work great in TX.
Just looking for something else besides protein feed to help them thru the winter, spring ,and summer
But its like they don't want it at all.
trackman

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8225756 04/05/21 12:13 PM
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Is it near a corn feeder? I put mine on the edge of the broadcast area of my corn feeders when I started. The deer would eat the corn that was right next to the cottonseed and in a few days they were in the WCS. Can't keep them out of it now....

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8225757 04/05/21 12:13 PM
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Mix in corn with it.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8225760 04/05/21 12:17 PM
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its right on the edge of corn feeder circle already, Ill try unload part of it and mix corn in that will be comical mess!!

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8225783 04/05/21 12:53 PM
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Hang on and be patient. They will figure it out. You'll see some usage later this year and when you begin next year, it will be a different story.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8225794 04/05/21 01:11 PM
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Depending on rainfall and area, deer may just not be responding as much to supplemental feed.

They may just be craving green forbs that are growing now.

You'll probably get them to accept the cottonseed at some point. But, in my opinion, there are supplemental protein feeds out there that are better. 2cents

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8225899 04/05/21 02:31 PM
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We tried it at 5 protein locations a couple of years ago and the deer in our area just never took to it. That said, introducing anything new to deer when their natural forage is starting to green up could be challenging.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8225939 04/05/21 03:00 PM
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My son and I put out 500 pounds July 20th 2018 and it was gone when I returned September 1st. Oddly enough only about half of my regular bucks ate the cotton seed and the other half stayed on the pellets.
We were way over carrying capacity at that time for what it's worth

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Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8228057 04/07/21 01:27 PM
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Deer can be very finicky. We fed over 40K lbs of cottonseed last year with great results. Right now most places have all the forbs they want. They graze in take a bite of protein, cotton, corn, alfalfa and leave. When it drys out it will change in a hurry. You can try mixing a little corn or alfalfa pellets or even protein pellets around the edges to help get them started. Trying while its so green outside is an uphill battle in my humble opinion right now.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8229537 04/08/21 03:10 PM
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Out of curiosity, has anyone ever had an issue with Buck fertility while feeding cottonseed? Probably more of a problem in a high fence place.
We feed it to our cows, but pen the bulls up and let them eat cubes, the vet said they'd have to eat about 3-4 pounds a day for a couple weeks before it starts to damage their sperm cells.


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Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8229620 04/08/21 04:25 PM
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In pen raised situations where nothing else is fed, yes it can create issues. Otherwise no. Wild deer primarily eating natural vegetation will not ingest enough of the cottonseed to bring on the issue you reference.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Hudbone] #8229744 04/08/21 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Hudbone
In pen raised situations where nothing else is fed, yes it can create issues. Otherwise no. Wild deer primarily eating natural vegetation will not ingest enough of the cottonseed to bring on the issue you reference.

that's what i was thinking.
Thanks!


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Re: cotton seed help [Re: TCM3] #8229836 04/08/21 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by TCM3
Originally Posted by Hudbone
In pen raised situations where nothing else is fed, yes it can create issues. Otherwise no. Wild deer primarily eating natural vegetation will not ingest enough of the cottonseed to bring on the issue you reference.

that's what i was thinking.
Thanks!

Some may argue that but i think most in the know guys would agree with Hud.


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Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8232428 04/11/21 02:36 AM
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So, I'll jump back into this since the HF question came up. I am HF. I was concerned also. I've read all the literature I could get my hands on because I was concerned about the potential about sterility. We start about January 10th and typically run cotton until September when it runs out and they clean it up. Since rain is so unpredictable in our area the cotton takes the place of growing anything green for us once it turns hot. I went full bore with cottonseed three years ago. Since then I absolutely have seen an increase in fawn recruitment. Most does are dropping twins vs singles prior to going all in on the cottonseed. This is in addition to protein which has been on going for 9 years now. Body weighs are up 30-50 lbs on the mature deer. Gross scores are increasing every year also -both total number of points, width and mass. Protein helped but for us when I went full bore on cottonseed it was like putting these bucks on steroids. I can only speak for my place and I expect others may have different results. The ranches I guide on in STX have started some cottonseed this year to see what kind of jump they get because of what I'm seeing on my place......

I do have one other thought. I have a friend who hunts old Mexico. He can only get cottonseed and he pounds it to his deer year round. His deer eat brush, forbs, cottonseed without any issues. He says he's been doing it for a decade. I guess in his case the wildcard is the native growth since their not in a pen situation.....

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8232534 04/11/21 10:42 AM
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Yep. Cottonseed becomes especially attractive during the hot summer months when it gets increasingly dry. Natural forbs do not grow as well in these conditions and in addition, available water sources typically develop a higher saline contents. Pellets have salt in them. Cottonseed does not. Sometime around July 1, it's hard to give away the protein as the cottonseed turns into what seems to be, the preferred dietary supplement. Then again in September, when the bucks are looking to add weight & muscle in preparation for the almighty rut, cottonseed consumption takes off again.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8234716 04/13/21 02:32 PM
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cotton seed is at all time high prices and people still post constantly about how awesome it is and how everyone should try it...

you guys send me your number so we can get a poker game together!

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8234732 04/13/21 02:39 PM
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Whole cotton seed put a few our whitetail over 200 pounds live weight in a three year time frame. This was after 18 years of protein pellets



Re: cotton seed help [Re: kyle1974] #8235519 04/14/21 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by kyle1974
you guys send me your number so we can get a poker game together!


Not sure what you losing at poker would prove.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: titan2232] #8236571 04/14/21 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by titan2232
Whole cotton seed put a few our whitetail over 200 pounds live weight in a three year time frame. This was after 18 years of protein pellets


So grin, you are saying that you have had a fawn or 1.5 yr old buck grow to be 200 lbs live weight in 3 yrs. What was the rainfall like the previous years before this happened. Protein made a difference in those deer before the cottonseed was introduced I can tell you from my experience. Did you feed free choice protein year round? Seasonal? Free choice like the cottonseed?
With any introduction of supplements to deer it takes time and timing. Spring is a difficult time to introduce deer to any new supplement due to the greenup. From what I have seen with whole cottonseed is that you need to try to mix it with corn or even protein pellets(whichever of the two you are feeding currently) to get them started on it. I have seen ranches mix corn with cottonseed in small amounts that was placed directly under spin feeders. They will pick the corn out and eventually eat the cottonseed. With any new feed introduction I have never wanted to pile it up or fill the feeder full till the deer were eating it readily. Feed gets old and smells old quickly. Any feed source is more attractive in drier times vs wetter times. The amount of rainfall in an area and deer density will effect how quickly animals get on the new feed source. 2cents


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Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8237061 04/15/21 12:39 PM
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Come on STX. I don't have all that data and probably never will, but there were no 200+ pound deer taken on our place until the 3rd year of cottonseed.

The ranch had year round water throughout it's history with an average of 11 tons of protein pellets per month until 2017 (that feed bill was just too much and we went to timed protein feeders to limit consumption)



Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8243678 04/20/21 08:31 PM
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I just got back from the ranch again and my latest observation is that the deer have backed off the cotton somewhat due to the green native vegetation available however are still hitting the pellets steady. Nothing mathematical here yet. I will comment on their weights though..... After 9 yrs of pellets our bucks live weights 160 -185 top end. After adding the cotton into the mix Jan to Sept for the last three years the top weights jumped to 230, 220 , 210, 205, rut starts, 195, 184, 170's on the couple of trophy's we harvested and then the management deer we removed. The weights were up but also the antlers were much improved even on our management bucks that I opted to remove.

I'm not saying a 1.5 yr will get to 200 lbs in 3 yrs but a 5 yr will on my place. I'm watching an evolution take place. We had the same thing happen on our ranch in Pearsall 18 years ago. Mature weights 160 lbs. Now we kill mature bucks weighing 230 with a few touching 250 lbs. (250 being an exception-maybe a freak but its happened).. Long term its all about the nutritional level- I am 100% convinced of this fact.... period.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8243971 04/21/21 12:32 AM
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They are still eating it like crazy on our place in Val Verde and have been for the last 3-4 years. Like Titan said our deer have noticeably grown in size(horns and body) and can't wait to see what is in store this year.

Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8248202 04/25/21 05:45 PM
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I just started this year after a couple new hunters tried it. I am so glad y'all posted this. This is what this forum is all about, wheather you agree or disagree different expieriences help all of us. I plan on putting more out this week.


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Re: cotton seed help [Re: Trackman] #8249918 04/27/21 04:25 PM
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They still are not hitting it, but were lined up around the protein feeder and the winter food plots while I was bush hogging last night.

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