Feeding trough management involves the evaluation of animals’ eating habits, while taking into account the various factors that influence their intake. Feeding trough management involves providing the production animals with a constant, balanced ration at the correct quantities and at an exact time.
The second goal is to create an ideal environment for ruminants to ensure optimal production.
The feed conversion ratio
When there is a shortage of feed supply, the feed conversion ratio (FCR) is negatively affected. This means that more feed will be needed for the same amount of meat or milk to be produced by the animal.
In turn, when there is an excess of feed supply, it could lead to a variation of intakes, lower production, rumen disturbance and even feed wastage.
Therefore, complete record keeping of the reading and supply of feed is crucial. The person who is responsible for this should be familiar with the animals’ histories. The animals’ feed supply is usually based on at least the last four days of their history, including their behaviour, environments, activity level and the occurrence of manure.
As soon as any adjustment is made to the amount of feed, at least two to three days should be waited so that the effect of the change can be observed.
Guidelines for feeding trough management
Tips for effective feeding trough management include:
- Feed script counts should be accurate.
- Accurate and thorough record keeping of feed in and out of the trough is important.
- A balanced ration must be used for a specific production group.
- Rations should be thoroughly mixed.
- Daily feed supply must be constant. This includes time and amount of feed.
- Environmental factors such as weather conditions can negatively affect intakes.
- There must be an adequate eating and drinking space, which should be regularly cleaned.
- Feed must be provided along the entire length of the feeding trough.
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