Keeping animals in ranches or open pastures requires a lot of space and one has to wait for quite some long time for the cow to attain required market weight.The feedlot system as the name suggests is an intensive feeding regime with a goal for the animals to quickly acquire market body weight. Animals are kept in confinement and fed quality feed to attain a market weight within a given time frame. It helps to ensure market preferences are met because with feedlot syste, a farmer is able to produce quality and consistent meet even during lean times.
Rearing cattle on natural pasture normally has one disadvantage of wasting whenever pastures dwindle. This is a common phenomenon in Kenya, especially where a farmer hasn't invested in good feed management, hence you find fat animals in one season and thin animals in the other. This makes a good point to try feedlot system. When sourcing animals there is normally an induction period where deworming, vaccinations,external parasites control and mineral supplementation is done.
A successful feedlot management requires that you have your veterinary close by to advise on which disease to vaccinate against, which dewormers are effective and the nutrition regime to restore the animals back to their healthy state. To maximise intake, the feed and cleaan water should be available at all times since at the finishing stage, appetite falls relative to bodyweight. Stress is likely to happen as animals are put together; minimise this by grouping animals of the same age and size and provide good ventilation.
If feedlot is not well planned, it can raise concerns and can have negative effects on the environment. In the developed world, farmers who plan to engage in this system must pass an animal welfare audit and have an environmental impact assessment done prior to feedlot production.