Cattle Housing and Feeding Management
1. Management of Calves
Calves should suckle colostrum milk from their mother within three (3) hours after calving. A calf that has not suckled five (5) to six (6) hours after calving should be led to his mother’s udder.
During bad weathers, weak calves should be taken to the barn with the mother. However, orphaned calves may be raised to cow’s milk or milk replacers. Calves should be given concentrates at an early age for faster growth.
2. Management of Growers
Growers are weaned yearlings which are not to be fattened immediately. They are handled in such a way that maximum growth is achieved at the lowest possible cost. The growing period starts from weaning to fattening or replacement stage. Growers are usually maintained in the pasture with very little attention; they are given salt and mineral supplements. If raised in confinement, concentrates should be given in addition to grass or roughage.
3. Management of Fatteners
Fatteners require a shorter period to reach slaughter weight. They are generally bigger, mature, or nearing maturity. However, one and a half to two-year old animals weighing 200 to 300 kg are preferred. They may be fattened either in feedlot, on pasture, or in both areas.
4. Cattle Housing
Proper housing is important in successful cattle fattening operation. Adequately protect animals against the adverse effects of weather when they are raised in relatively small areas. Animals in backyard cattle farms are usually tethered along roadsides and in backyards during the day and confined in a shed or corral at night. The permanent type of housing consisting of GI roofing, timber frames, concrete floor, feed trough and water troughs are used in most farms. The shelter is open-sided and is located near the farmer’s house or under the shade trees. Building height ranges from 1.79 to 1.9 meters while the width varies from 2.1 to 2.7 meters. Each animal can be allocated with 1.5 to 4.5 sq. meters.
A fenced loafing area beside the goat house must be provided (100 to 150 sqm/head), complete with feeding racks and water troughs to allow animals to loaf freely. Flooring of the area must be cemented to facilitate drying. Cogon and nipa as roof materials are preferred in hot and humid areas.
Ventilation is of outmost importance. Majority of pneumonia cases can be traced to excessively warm and humid interior and sudden changes in temperature. Allow a 0.5 to 1 feet clearance between floor to wall and wall to beam to create an adequate circulation and to lower draft. It is desirable to maintain an interior temperature of 28 to 30°C. It has been established that above 30°C ruminants are inhibited from eating.
Lighting may also be provided in the barns during the night. Goats consume up to 30% of the day’s intake during the night when light is provided.
4.1. Housing System for Cow-calf Operation
Cow-calf operation in smallhold farms is usually done using simple methods and facilities. The animals are usually tethered during the day and kept inside the shed during the night. The shed is built from native materials like wood and bamboo frames and enclosures; nipa and cogon for roofings. Feeding and watering troughs can also be made out of locally available materials such as used tires, used and halved drums. The shed is usually built near the house of the farmer.
4.2. Housing System for Fattening Operation
In this type of operation, the animals are raised in individual stalls with a space about 1.5 m x 4 m/head. Each stall can accommodate one animal during the entire fattening period. The shed is built three (3) meters high to allow good ventilation. Bamboo, lumber, or ipil-ipil poles can be used for frames; nipa or cogon for roofing materials although galvanized iron roofing may be used for durability. Concrete and sand should be used as flooring to prevent mud from accumulating. This will facilitate cleaning.
Feeding Management Practices
- Feed animals daily with concentrate one to two kilograms per day during fattening period. Give roughage daily at 3% of body weight if given air dry or 14% if given fresh.
- Give clean water without limit or ad libitum. Provide ordinary table salt about 30-50 grams per head per day.
- Give the animals fresh, palatable feed and clean water at all times. Reduction of feed intake by 5 percent will reduce weight gain by 10 percent. Do not overstock feeds in the feedbunk since the bottom portion will develop heat and make the feed stale.
- Mix feed properly. Have at least 15-20 percent roughage in feed to prevent bloat and other digestive disorders.
- During rainy days, cattle will eat more during the daytime. During summer, they will eat more at night and during the cooler hours. Provide enough feeds during these periods.
- Digestion will be more efficient if roughage is eaten separately from concentrates. Roughage consumption tends to stimulate saliva secretion up to as much as 80-120 liters per day.
- Providing 12-14 inches of bunk space per head will allow cattle to eat slowly.
- Schedule manure removal. If allowed to remain with the animals, deep, wet manure will reduce both feed intake and weight gain.
sources: themodernreligion.com, www.bar.gov.ph
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