Many know that livestock nowadays are commonly raised in buildings that can be strictly monitored, and that it’s one of the most efficient and beneficial ways to raise them for both producer and animal. Although raising cattle in a building is a little more uncommon than say hogs or chickens, it still poses many great benefits.
I work on a cattle ranch here in west central Illinois, and we have a monoslope cattle barn. Four Aces LLC, Vermont IL
The barn contains two different pen designs for the cattle. It contains pens with slats that are quit similar to a hog barn. These slatted pens have rubber mats on them to prevent cattle from slipping, although the concept is the same where the manure falls below to a twelve foot pit, and can be pumped to be utilized for crop ground fertilizer. The other pens in the barn are called dry-packs or dry-stacks. Dry-stacks consist of a lime base along with bedding a top, in our case we use cornstalk round bales. Twice a week we will go into the dry-stack pens and bed with two new bales atop the stack and scrap the looser manure from directly in front of the feed bunks for each pen. The dry-stack becomes a mixture of manure and bedding, now saying that one would think it would be sloppy, but the bedding absorbs the moisture like a sponge and the stack is actually very firm where people and of course the cattle can walk on it with out sinking at all.
The main concept of a confinement cattle barn is very similar to any animal feeding confinement, and that is to limit and attempt to control the many ever-changing variables that comes with raising livestock to maximize their potential. The weather is one very good example of this varibles.
The design of the building’s monoslope roof is to act like a airplane wing or a giant funnel. So while it is hot in the summer the shape of the roof allows airflow to come in the large open side and funnel towards the narrow end and creates a constant breeze keeping the cattle cool. The way the barn is orientated the large open side faces south allowing the sun to help warm the barn during the winter. And obviously having shelter over the cattle helps tremendously during precipitation and for shade.
Feeding fat cattle can be very tricky some times, trying to maximize the cattle’s intake without over doing it and wasting feed. As I mentioned many factor can influences the animals ability to eat. Weather being a major player, but also having an adequate supply of clean water. Just another way where the cattle barn has an advantage. Ours in particular has its own water reservoir, and then supplies two automatic drinkers per pen at our barn. The drinkers are also cleaned twice a week to ensure that the cattle are getting the purest water availble. These cattle have access to fresh feed and clean water 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
There are many benefits to raising livestock indoors as there is with plants. It helps the process be more efficient and economical. It is beneficial for both the producer and the animal.
My name is Jacob Farrell, I am a senior at Western Illinois University. I am majoring in Agriculture Science. I also attended John Wood Community College. I grew up in Jacksonville, IL working on a cow/calf and grain operation where my interest in agriculture took off. I now work on a cattle ranch in Vermont, IL where we partake in all areas of cattle production along with a small grain operation.