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. Large animals require over 40 litres of water per day. Check your troughs to ensure that they can supply this.
Feed should be of excellent quality with a high feed value. Ensure that the forage is palatable, poor quality silage will reduce intake and cause digestive upsets. Diet should be consistent, feed at the same time every day, adjust levels to avoid waste. Silage should be tested and feed concentrates accordingly. Feed should be balanced for minerals and vitamins. Additives may have a role to play as a buffer to stabilise the rumen.
Ensure that there is good ventilation but avoiding draughts at animal level. The animal should have a dry lie and be comfortable. Avoid mixing animals once they are housed as this increases stress. Have the feed barrier at the correct height, rub marks on the back of the neck indicate that it is too low and is restricting access and therefore intake. Clean troughs regularly and remove waste feed. Troughs should have a smooth surface and not rough stone or damaged concrete as damage to the tongue when licking will cause soreness and reduce intakes.
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. Watch withdrawal periods with finishing animals.
8 Know the market requirements
Make yourself familiar with the market specification that your end user requires. Know the target carcass weights required. Are you finishing heifers, steers or bulls? Each will have different finishing feed periods. Watch 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.
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