MISMOTHERING: Compare trail feeding to using Advantage Feeders

Ewes need to run to access their supplement when it is provided to them in a trail. They often leave their lambs in their rush and naturally, they do not always mother back up with their lambs. Using Advantage Feeders during lambing constantly allows them to access their supplement. Ewes can stay at their birthing site for several days before going to a feeder, allowing the lamb/s to be strong enough follow their mother. Using feeders also eliminates the need for ewes to rush to their supplement. Our research has showed that using Advantage Feeders compared to trail feeding has increased marking rates by 10%.

Farming operations are complex. The following pros and cons have not been factored into this calculator:

  • It is common for 40% less labour to be needed using Advantage Feeders compared to trail feeding three times per week.
  • Reducing labour at seeding time can allow farmers to prioritise this time critical task and reduces the risk of the livestock component of the enterprise being neglected.
  • It is important not to have too few feeders during lambing because ewes on the verge of lambing may attempt to steal the lambs off other ewes that have just lambed.
  • If lambs are subsequently creep fed, they will be mostly trained by their mothers, getting them accustomed and trained to the feeders.
  • Providing supplement on the ground can make it more likely that stock digest worms from faeces that the feed was placed on. This increases the expense of managing parasites.
  • It is common for feeders used in this calculator to be used for other purposes at different times of the year. This reduces the depreciation expense and increases the return on investment.
  • Trail feeding leaves grain that can germinate in future crops, contaminating them and downgrading the value of those crops.
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