SHEEP FEEDLOTS | DR JARRED MORRIS BVSc MSc (Agric)

Introduction Sheep feedlots represent a specialized and efficient system of raising weaner lambs for meat production in an intensive environment. Lambs are placed into feedlot pens, where they are fed a carefully formulated ration to optimize feedlot performance.  Average daily gain, average daily feed intake, feed conversion ratio and carcass parameters should be measured. Due to a rapidly growing global population, this agricultural practice has gained popularity as a result of an increased demand for lamb and mutton. The adoption of sheep feedlots is not without its challenges. These animals are entering a high stress, pathogen-filled environment often directly after weaning. Striking a balance between efficient production and responsible farming, with focus on good animal welfare and husbandry, is crucial. There are vital steps in the sheep feedlotting process that need to be considered. Lamb selection Lamb selection is extremely important when purchasing lambs for a feedlot. There are many factors needing careful consideration when selecting a lamb for the feedlot such as weaning weight, age, and breed. These factors need to be thoroughly thought out and planned. For example, light weight lambs are automatically higher risk and are more predisposed to respiratory problems after arrival at the feedlot compared to heavier lambs.   Lamb arrival and vaccination The 3R system is a practice that should be upheld before processing occurs. The newly arrived lambs need to have one hours rest for every hour they spent truck prior to processing. They need to rehydrate themselves with fresh cool water and […]

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