1. Maximise intake
It is essential to minimise stress and digestive upsets. Maximising intake and increasing growth rates will reduce days to slaughter and improve feed conversion efficiency.
2. Pen space
Every animal will need a minimum of two to three square metres. If there are too many animals in a pen, then there are less feeding opportunities for each animal.
3. Feed space
Every animal in the pen should be able to feed at the same time; this will ensure there is no bullying.
There should be fresh clean water available at all times. If you wouldn’t drink it yourself it’s not clean enough! Have a minimum of one trough per 10 animals.
Diet should be consistent and stock should be fed at the same time every day. Silage should be tested and feed concentrates balanced with minerals and vitamins accordingly.
Ensure that there is good ventilation, while avoiding drafts at animal level. The animal should have a dry lie and be comfortable. Avoid mixing animals once they are housed.
7. Health plan
Have a health programme in place to ensure that worms, liver and rumen fluke and external parasites like lice and mange are controlled and are not affecting performance. Watch out for lameness and treat/footbath as required.
8. Know your spec
Familiarise yourself with specs that your end user requires. Ensure that heifers and early maturing animals don`t go over fat. Heifers have the shortest feeding period, then steers followed by bulls with the longest feeding period.
Farming Independent, 1/12/2016