Just like with all other animal species, cattle structures follow a hierarchical approach, which is especially evident around the feedlot. Proper feed management in cattle is therefore important when keeping these rankings in mind. Feed is an important survival component in cattle, and thus we can see rankings become prominent when food is a factor.
Farmers should keep food availability in mind during the management of feed in order to keep the peace. Dominance is more probable in the case of feedlotting where feeding options are limited. “Enough feed in the troughs prevents pressure from being placed on submissive animals. Cattle are also habitual animals and will, where possible, always eat within a few meters in the same place in the feeding trough,” Dr. Klaas-Jan Leeuw, from the Agricultural Research Council, suggests. Crib space does not necessarily have an influence on the amount of feed consumption, but rather on the aggressive approach taken to consumption.
Good management in feed lotting is of utmost importance. Cribs should at least be filled up twice a day, and even more frequently with less food during wet seasons. In summer months cattle are more likely to eat during the evening, therefore food should be placed later in the afternoon.
Further, Dr. Leeuw states that, “Feed management should be planned around the hierarchy of the herd. If managed properly, these behavioural patterns will not affect the production of the animals. The most important thing is that there should be enough food for the animals so that aggression does not become a problem.”