Tips for increasing welfare of beef cattle
Farming cattle, like farming any other livestock, requires fulfilling a set of procedures that ensure cattle remain healthy. After all, happy and healthy cattle are productive cattle.
Here is a collection of best practices to help you create a comfortable environment for your beef cattle.
Give Your Cattle Adequate Ventilation
Ventilation is an important element in cattle farming. When used correctly, you ensure that cattle are protected against a battery of respiratory ailments that can become present in poorly ventilated barns in buildings.
Your ventilation system should include these basic components to deliver the best results:
- An inlet system: enables the flow of fresh air into the building
- An exhaust system: extracts stale air that can adversely affect your capital's health from the bolding
- A control system: used to manage the amount of air flowing into and out of the bolding
How much fresh air do you need to supply to your cattle?
It all depends on the size of your cattle and the time of the year. Cattle can be highly sensitive to changes in temperature. While they tend to feel more comfortable at cooler temperatures, too much cool air can negatively affect their health, just as much as an increase in heat can too.
Signs That Your Building is too Cold
If you're testing your ventilation system to find the right levels of cold air intake, there are telltale signs that indicate how your cattle is adjusting to your new ventilation approach.
If too cold, you will start to notice the following:
- Shivering cattle
- Cattle have cold mouths
- They cannot get up
- Calves stop suckling
- Calves experience frostbite
Signs that your cattle may not be doing well in a warmer environment:
- Feed intake decreases
- Cattle weight gain slows
- Cattle stop producing regular amounts of milk
- Cattle pant regularly with their tongues protruding from their mouths
- Breathing appears to be difficult
- Cattle tend to drool and froth at the mouth
Addressing Cold Conditions
If your cattle are not faring well in a cold building, here are tips on how to make adjustments to provide a more comfortable environment:
- Provide insulation. Insulation is used to manage the temperature of your building in both hot and cold weather conditions. In cold conditions, it decreases the amount of condensation in the air. In hot conditions, it limits the amount of heat that enters the building, making it cooler and more comfortable for cattle.
- Break the inflow of air. In cold conditions, exposing cattle to direct cool air can cause them discomfort. It's recommended that cool air be funnelled to as high a position in the building and onto a wall to allow it to slowly mix with existing air. This mixing process creates less of a sudden change in building temperature and doesn't create a shock to the body temperature of cattle.
Addressing hot Conditions
If your cattle are experiencing discomfort from an increase in heat or hotter than normal conditions, here are three things you can do to remedy this:
- Provide adequate shade
- Feed your cattle at dusk and dawn when it is cooler, thereby ensuring that heat does not negatively affect their interest in feed
- Sprinkle water on your cattle to cool them down
The welfare of your cattle is crucial to the success of your farm. Using these helpful tips will enable you to create a more comfortable environment for your beef cattle.
Enhance the Welfare of Your Cattle With Superior Lighting
Learn about the benefits of adequate lighting for your cattle.