Stall feeding of goats or sheep is the process of piling hay on one or both sides of a dirty, water-logged floor or ground to keep livestock confined in one place. The animals then occupy their own ‘stall’ by standing in the hay, which keeps their feet away from the wet ground and prevents them from slipping.
As well as taking advantage of a dry area, this method is also more time-efficient because it only takes minutes to feed the animals rather than hours to clean and dry a traditional pen. In the UK, this method is most common in dairy farms because it gives cows and sheep a dry place to rest in between milking procedures.
In North America, it is most common throughout the West Coast to avoid the risk of ammonia poisoning caused by urine odors. In hot countries, stall feeding during summer can also help promote milk production. Other benefits include providing fresh air for livestock that are housed inside pens on hot days and ensuring that cattle stand up straight so they do not overheat.
What is stall feeding?
The main focus of stall feeding is to teach livestock to get used to staying in one place without being fed right away. Once they learn how to eat in this confined area, the process becomes easier. To start, all you will need is a box filled with clean hay, a couple of bales of hay, and 10-20 feet of fencing for each animal.
Once you have that setup, all you have to do is stand outside their pen and toss them a handful of grain or some fruits and vegetables. The animals then learn to wait for food inside the enclosure.
Making the stall feeding system?
For stall feeding livestock, you will need a pen for the animals, a gate to close the pen, and several bales of hay. The process is simple, one person loads the bales of hay and then places them against the fence while another closes the gate.
This is important because it keeps them inside and makes it easier to catch the animal when feeding time comes. Once they learn that they can get food by standing in one area, they will often choose to stay in this spot until you feed them.
How does stall feeding work?
The concept of stall feeding is quite simple. With meticulous planning and a bit of trial and error, it’s possible to build your stall-fencing system in just an hour or so.
However, it’s important to note that you will need to weigh the animals every couple of days and record their weight gains and losses so they can be adjusted appropriately.
Place selection in the farm for stall feeding
when you are selecting a place for stall feeding should consider the following points:
- The floor of the room should be dry because animals need to stand in the hay, not on the wet or muddy ground;
- A bright, clean, and well-ventilated environment is important for livestock that is kept indoors for an extended period;
- Whenever possible, choose a room where there is an easy-to-clean floor surface such as concrete or tiles (as opposed to grass).
- A floor drainage system is also recommended to remove moisture from the ground and keep the area dry at all times.
- The distance between animals should be at least 2 meters
- The room should have doors and windows that can be opened and closed to promote air circulation;
- A slatted floor or a floor that allows urine to drain away is better than a solid surface with concrete or wood, which is difficult to clean.
Advantages of stall feeding of goats or sheep?
- The animals will be used to standing in a place for their food and eventually they will stand in one spot when they need water;
- Urine is not scattered all over the floor and it’s easy to keep clean;
- Quality of hay is better as it’s protected so that no rain or sun affects its freshness;
- Stalls are generally easier to clean than long pens;
- Dairy cows and sheep can be milked in small stalls, one at a time;
- Breastfeeding mothers or new mothers that have trouble walking are safer with stall-feeding;
- Other welfare benefits include buffering calves from high winds or cold and keeping lambs together for comfort;
- Stall feeding is beneficial for arid regions because it prevents the spread of disease and helps keep livestock cool during summer months;
- Livestock is more relaxed and calm because they’re in a secure environment where they can move around.
- It is easier to identify sick animals through increased observation.
Disadvantages of stall feeding
Stall feeding is not perfect and it has some disadvantages as well. Here are the disadvantages of stall feeding:
- The animal will get used to the stall and may not want to go back to the pen;
- It can be dangerous for small animals because they need supervision 24/7;
- Labor-intensive cleaning is required for hay or other material on the floor;
- Stall feeding does not separate sick animals from others or encourage them to stay away from each other.
- If a goat or sheep is being milked in the stall and it needs to lie down, it will be difficult for her because the pen is too small to lie down comfortably.
- It can be expensive because you will need to buy more hay than you would with traditional pens.
- Stalls may not be ideal for animals raised outdoors during the day and brought inside at night;
- Stall feeding does not encourage socialization between animals;
Breed for stall feeding of goats
It’s very important to find the right breed for stall feeding. Here are some useful breeds that can be used for stall feeding:
- Saanen breed – they are a cross
of Swiss and Toggenburg, which produces a smooth-haired, medium-sized goat;
- Rambouillet breed – they are a
cross of French Saanen and Spanish La Mancha Nubilla, producing an animal with
- La Mancha breed – they are a
cross of Spanish and French breeds, producing a large-sized goat with high milk
- Fainting goats – these are
herding animals so they’re unlikely to need special care.
- La Mancha goats – these are
excellent milking animals. The La Mancha goat is known as the French goat of
the Andes, which means it’s adapted to cold conditions and high altitudes in
the Andes Mountains of Peru, Chile, and Argentina.
- Besides the more goat
breed for stall feeding are Boer, Black Bengal, Sirohi, Frisian,
Spanish, Kiko, Pygmy, etc.
Breed for stall feeding of sheep
Goats can be used for stall feeding but sheep can be used too. Here are some useful breeds that can be used for stall feeding:
Suffolks – they are a muscular breed known for their heavy wool coat;
Merinos – they are a long-haired breed with fine wool, which makes for excellent quality lamb wool;
Bergamaschi – these sheep have medium-length, fine wool and produce a lot of wool. These breeds are used for mohair, which is used in making clothes and bags.
Leicesters – these sheep tend to be wiry and grow coarse wool which is used for yarn and the meat of these animals is also good for making sausages;
Leicester Longwool – these sheep have long wool and produce a lot of wool. These breeds are used for fleece and the meat of these animals is also used for making sausages.
Colonial Spanish Sheep – they are a cross between Spanish and English breeds;