Feedlot fattening of the carabao is one of the fastest ways to increase carabeef production. It is simply feeding the animal with locally available feeds but are of good quality and least cost. More so, feedlot fattening becomes especially useful in areas where farm by-products such as sugar cane tops, pineapple pulp, corn fodder, cover crops and the like are abundantly available.
In the Philippines at present carabao feedlot fattening has a very limited scope. The majority of the carabao raisers are small farmers whose primary purpose for maintaining1 to 3 carabaos is for draft. A secondary purpose is to sell them eventually for meat. The term of its service on the farm however, depends on its efficiency as a worker or when there is an exceptional price offered for it.
Both the cattle anthe carabao are usually fed and fattener on the available crop residues during the season. In certain barrios of Batangas, crop residues and weeds are supplemented with commercial starter mash at a rate of about 1.5 to 2 kilograms a day.
The following are the classes of carabaos fattened for the market:
1. Retired work animals on account of old age and viciousness.
2. Feeder stock about 2-1/2 to 3 years of age, home grown or purchased in the market.
3. Carabaos below 3 years old but not suited for breeding or work purposes.
Advantage of feedlot Fattening
1. Fast turnover of capital. Fattening of carabaos may be attained in a reasonable length of time depending on management and nutrition.
2. The animals are less prone to disease because of limited time spent on the farm.
3. Profitable utilization of farm by-products generally going to waste.
4. Housing of feeder stock does not need a big area. In open lot confinement, the suggested floor space allowance is 4.0 to 4.7 sq. m per mature feeder, 2.8 to 3.7 sq. m. for yearlings and 1.8 to 2.8 sq. m for caracalves
5. Management is relatively simple. For backyard fattening, the phases of management involve only feeding the fattener with any cheap by-products, forage or some concentrates available. When animals is ready for marketing or if a lucrative price is offered for it, then the animal is sold. However, management under commercial scale is more intricate. Apart from the regular purchase of feeds and following of the feeding program, other practices involved are buying of stocks, medication and marketing of fattened animals.
Contrasting disadvantage of feedlot fattening.
1. The need for large capital investment. This however holds true only for the commercial scheme of fattening where large amount of money is needed for the periodic purchase of feeds and stocks, Under backyard fattening, when only one of two carabaos are involved, the problem is not usually encountered. In fact, fattening becomes only incidental; that is when work animals are retired from the farm.
2. The need to have skills in buying and selling of sticks. This statement is true when feedlot fattening exists as a true business or in a commercial scale.
3. In the commercial scale, the availability of feeder stock maybe limited.
There is money in carabao feedlot fattening whether it is in a backyard or commercial scale . However, its success depends mainly on three factors:
1. Feeds and feeding. The profits from feedlot fattening greatly depends on the feeds and labor costs to produce a kilogram weight gain. The labor cost may not be very significant in the backyard scale, but for commercial or semi-commercial scale, the length of the fattening period has a profound effect on the cost of production.
2. The feeder stocks should have that inherent capacity to fatten at a much shorter period of time. Retired animals may not compare with the young feeder stocks, but they are feedlot fattened in order to improve the market value.
3. Feedlot facilities. Under backyard conditions, the carabao may just be housed nder a nipa shed, however, it should provide the necessary facilities for its protection and comfort. Floor, feeding and watering spaces should always be given important considerations regardless of the scheme ( commercial or backyard).
A) In an open shed, the beam of the roofing should at least be 3.05 m high to allow adequate ventilation and cooling.
B) Fencing in an open lot should at least be 1.2 to 1.5m high and strong enough to hold animals may just be tethered securely to a post or in the field, but must have access to the feeds and water.
C) Adequate watering and feeding trough. For caracalves weighing up ro 200 kg the top of the feed bunk should be about 46 cm high. For older animals, the height of the feed bunk should be 61 to 76 cm or less. The depth of the bunk should be 25 cm to minimize feed losses and to make feeds readily available. Feeding space for calves should be about 46 cm per animal and for older animals, 61 to 76 cm. Provide at least 30 cm of watering space for every 10 heads if the open tank is used. Continue reading “Carabo raising – kalabaw”