Exposing animals to grain with mom improves intake of grain at weaning and feedlot performance

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Utah State University Extension



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Livestock performance in feedlots is often poor during the first few weeks after animals enter the feedlot. Sudden changes in diet and poor intake of new foods likely contribute to poor performance. Exposing young animals with their mothers to feeds they will likely encounter in the feedlot: 1) encourages intake of high grain rations, 2) enables animals to finish more quickly, 3) may cause changes in animals’ bodies to use grains more efficiently, and 4) likely reduces stress and illness. In one study, lambs exposed to barley and protein pellets early in life with their mothers reached slaughter weight faster than lambs (Ortega-Reyes et al., 1992) with no exposure to grain (Figure 1).