Confined paddock feeding and feedlotting

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development WA - Danny Roberts and Mandy Curnow

Type: Webpage
Knowledge level: Intermediate

Farm Table says:

Quick and easy webpage to engage with if thinking of confinement feeding sheep or lambs.

Confinement feeding can be a useful option for sheep producers when:

  • feed for maintenance during a drought
  • defer grazing during autumn to a normal year
  • feeding to finish lambs.

The webpage outlines the advantages and disadvantages of confinement feeding.

Advantages:

  • minimises soil and nutrient loss from the bare ground (prevent erosion)
  • preserves pasture density or allow pasture density to increase after the break
  • preserves pasture composition, preventing overgrazing of one plant species
  • prevents sheep ‘chasing the green pick’ and expending energy after the break
  • enables close observation of stock in poor condition.

Disadvantages:

  • cost of full ration feeding
  • animal health issues associated with confined feeding (for example salmonellacoccidiosis, pulpy kidney, grain poisoning and worms)
  • infrastructure costs if creating a full intensive feedlot
  • need clean and adequate water in each pen or paddock used for sheep feeding (at least 4-6 liters of water per sheep, per day)
  • effort and expense of possible effluent disposal.
2017 - Australia - Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development WA - Danny Roberts and Mandy Curnow
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