Maintaining Appetite for Healthy Cattle

by Caitlyn Andrews October 13, 2017

Maintain a Healthy Appetite for Cattle Tips

The primary concern of every producer is the health of their animals. Cattle producers know that the animal's appetite is an indicator of good health.

Sometimes, maintaining a good appetite in your cattle is easier said than done.

Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy appetite in your cattle. 

1. Preventative Vaccines

Cattle that are not on preventative vaccines are subject to a wide variety of illnesses. Unhealthy cattle have a hard time keeping weight which results in a poor feed conversion ratio.

Not only is this bad for your cattle's health and appearance, it can be more expensive to feed sick animals.

If you don't have a vaccination protocol in place for treating and preventing illnesses then you should speak with your vet about the right vaccinations for your situation and for diseases that are prevalent in your area.

2. Clean Water

Clean water is often an overlooked step in maintaining appetite and weight in cattle. Providing clean water increases feed intake. In addition to making sure the water is fresh, clean, and not frozen over, establishing a water quality program can improve the health of your cattle.

Untreated water can introduce certain risks to your cattle's health. It's not uncommon for ground or well water to contain heavy concentrations of manganese, lead, iron, copper, zinc, sodium, nitrates, nitrites, and sulfates. Better water quality leads to your cattle drinking more which improves absorption of nutrients and better digestion.

At VPSI, we've paired with Assist NPS to help livestock producers identify harmful water impurities and improve their water quality.

Contact us if you're interested in finding out how Assist NPS can improve the health of your cattle and livestock.

3. Monitor for Health

If your cattle have been dropping weight, particularly if the weight loss came on suddenly, then there could be an underlying health problem. Pay attention to your cattle and look for any signs of illness, loss of appetite, or dropped weight.

For example, some respiratory diseases can cause weight loss. If you notice changes in your animals' health then it's best to involve your vet as soon as possible before the problem gets worse.

4. Provide Consistently Fresh Feed

Your cattle become accustomed to the type of feed you provide. Not only do they prefer a routine in their feeding time, but changes in feed can cause your animals to lose their appetite.

Make sure that the feed you are providing isn't moldy or stale. Good storage practices can help eliminate issues with the quality of feed.

Introduce any changes in feed gradually. If you're transitioning your cattle from pasture to a penned feeding situation the change in diet should be handled slowly.

5. Biosecurity & Clean Environment

 Keeping a clean environment for your cattle will also help prevent the spread of diseases that reduce feed intake. Make sure to consistently remove soiled bedding, disinfect surfaces and holding pens, and have a rodenticide rotation in place to keep rodents from spreading disease in your facility.

Animals that are healthy and comfortable will typically have a better appetite than those that aren't.

For more tips on keeping your farm biosecure check out our Biosecurity Resource page.

Caitlyn Andrews
Caitlyn Andrews


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