Good bunk or self-feeder management means providing cattle with fresh, nutritionally balanced, palatable feed and keeping it available to them at all times. Cattle establish consumption patterns early in the feeding pens — usually within the first two weeks. The dry matter intake of feedlot cattle can be a key to animal performance and profitability. Each pound of ration you add, over and above that needed for maintenance, increases gain by approximately .25 pounds/head/day
1. Keep fresh feed constantly available to cattle.
2. Feed cattle two to three times a day.
3. Don’t let cattle stand without feed longer than 30 minutes to an hour. They will charge the bunk, loading up on the ration
to the extent that acidosis and bloat can become a serious problem.
4. It’s ok to let cattle clean up bunks at least once a day — but make sure they are not out of feed to the extent that they
turn restless or engorge at the next feeding.
5. Clean bunks at least once a week to remove old, stale feed. It’s preferable to clean them three or four times a week.
6. Mix rations properly because improper mixing can mean:
- A protein content that varies from 2-3%
- Poor delivery of feed additives
7. Remember the mixing order:
For finishing rations: Grain ® Supplement ® Roughage
For growing rations: Roughage ® Grain ® Supplement
Principles of Self-Feeder Management
1. Mix rations properly.
2. Adjust gates to maintain a two-finger width.
3. Use pellet concentrates with corn.
4. Inspect the feeder every day for:
- proper feeding of ration through the gate
- physical separation of ration mix
5. Clean feeders regularly to avoid a build-up of fines in the bottom of the self-feeder which cattle usually reject until they
become quite hungry. If forced to consume these fines, bloat and acidosis will occur. Remember this rule
of thumb: A 5% reduction in feed intake reduces gains by 10%.
Dry Matter Consumption (lbs) 17 18 19 20 21
Requirement for Maintenance (lbs) 7.2 7.2 7.2 7.2 7.2
Requirement for Gain (lbs) 9.8 10.8 11.8 12.8 13.8
Average Daily Gain (lbs) 2.56 2.78 3.0 3.21 3.43