This time we will talk about the entrance to the feedlot and how we can improve the productive ratios during this process in calves.
According to the Integral Animal Traceability System (SITRAN), in 2018, 20,357 feedlots with a total census of 1,437,139 animals were registered in high status. Concentrating 76% of the total beef production in the communities of Catalonia, Castilla-León, Andalusia, Galicia, Castilla la mancha and Aragón.
The origin of these calves is dairy herds or suckler cow herds and 23% come from other European countries such as France. These animals are fattened in intensive and highly specialized systems depending on the type of animal.
One of the pillars to optimize animal production are the facilities and management, despite this there is a legal vacuum since the current regulations only describe minimum rearing conditions for calves up to 6 months of life, but not for growth and fattening.
Apart from being able to provide the nutrients necessary for the calf to grow and fatten properly, there are a number of factors that will have an impact on the calf’s development. Management details that affect feed and water intake patterns, such as the size of feeders, waterers and access to straw, as well as stocking density, among others, will determine the success or failure of calf baiting.
This time we will talk about the entry of calves into the feedlot and some tips so that this stage is not a point of risk in our feedlots.
How to make a good calf entry to the feedlot?
The entrance to the feedlot is a time of high stress for the animal, which has a negative impact on its productive performance. It is essential to implement all possible measures to mitigate the effects of handling, climate, fasting, mixing of animals and, especially, the effects of transport.
Although sanitary programs may vary from one feedlot to another, a standard can be established, considering the priorities in terms of management and products to be applied.
This is the most important and should be done before new animals come into contact with existing animals in the farm. It is important because dehydration causes the mucous membranes of the respiratory and digestive tract to be dry and lose effectiveness in fulfilling their filtering function against pathogens. So if we do not comply with this step it is possible that in a few days we can see symptoms of disease either digestive as diarrhea or respiratory problems. It should be applied to all animals, regardless of their weight and the distance traveled at the entrance to the fattening area, with the objective of:
Correct the level of dehydration suffered by the animal during transport and handling.
Adapt the digestive system after the fasting period.
To provide energy, especially to suckling calves.
For this, it is important to be able to offer the calves a good rehydrating agent that allows reestablishing the hydric and electrolytic balance, recovering the normal and functional characteristics of the mucous membranes and the digestive system. The next step is to establish a good sanitary protocol at the entrance to the feedlot to prevent parasitic and infectious pathologies.
Prevention and control
A vaccination plan that includes enterotoxemias and vaccines for viral diseases to all animals entering the feedlot, reducing the percentage of animals with infectious pathologies. This translates into an improvement in GMD and carcass quality.
On the other hand, there are also intestinal parasites such as coccidia that, at this stage of life, can cause great losses due to diarrhea. Phytobiotic products can be used via feed or water that have antiparasitic activity, such as COCCI CERO or BILANTUL RUM, which also have a modulating effect on the microbiota.
In the phase of entry to the feedlot, it is advisable to divide the animals, forming lots mainly on the basis of sex and weights or sizes. The distribution in uniform lots is important, since it reduces the competition between animals.
Another important point to take into account is the weighing of calves, individually or by batches. This data can be used to calculate Average Daily Gain, Conversion Ratios and evaluate animal and farm performance.
From AMBiotec we promote animal health and welfare from a correct digestive health. Our products provide this objective through innovation.