Dr Nerida Richards
Preparing weanlings for sale revolves around the same principles as preparing the yearling. That is to build muscle, topline and condition and achieve coat shine that will attract and impress buyers. A high quality diet with good quality protein, oils and readily digestible energy form the basis of a good sales preparation program. However because weanlings are at such a critical development stage, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when prepping them for sale.
Don’t push too hard
Pushing a weanling too hard for extra muscling or condition in sales prep can disrupt sound skeletal development. High energy diets and rapid growth can precipitate problems like OCD. Ideally weanlings should be weighed throughout sales preparation. To reduce the risk of orthopaedic disease, their rate of weight gain should be kept at less than 1 kg/day.
To avoid needing to push weanlings hard during sales prep the weanlings to be prepped should be kept in good paddock condition so only the finishing touches need to be added during the prep time. Weanlings to be prepped should also be selected carefully. Not all weanlings will prep well. Taller and later maturing youngsters may simply grow ‘upward’ rapidly instead of putting on muscle and condition, putting them at risk of bone disease and leaving you with a tall and gangly weanling unsuitable for sale.
Use high quality feeds
To build muscle and put on condition, weanlings need access to high quality and easily digestible feeds. For the best chance at muscle building, look for feeds that contain the best quality protein from ingredients like soybean, lupins, canola meal and faba beans. Avoid feeds with low quality protein from unnamed vegetable protein meals and cottonseed.
To help weanlings gain condition, use cooked feeds that are easy for the weanling to digest and absorb. Avoid feeding whole or cracked grains as these are poorly digested by weanlings and can also lead to a loss of appetite.
Keep the diet balanced
Providing the correct amount of vitamins and minerals in the diet is critical to support sound development during the increased rates of growth weanlings will experience during a sales preparation. The correct balance of vitamins and minerals is also important to encourage muscle development and coat shine. Using feeds specifically formulated for weanling preparation or getting help from a nutritionist will help make putting together a balanced and effective diet simple.
Feed lots of hay
Feeding plenty of hay keeps a weanling occupied and happy, keeps their gut healthy, reduces the risk of colic and helps maintain a good appetite. Weanlings should ideally have constant access to hay. Avoid feeding very fresh lucerne hay to weanlings and where possible feed a grassy lucerne hay in preference to a pure lucerne hay.
Selecting the correct weanlings to prep, carefully monitoring growth rates and feeding a high quality diet that is well balanced with lots of hay will allow you to produce well grown and muscled yet sound weanlings for sale.
Pryde's EasiFeed Weanling Preparation diets
For full details on these diets or a custom diet formulation of diets for your specific circumstances, contact Pryde’s Pty Ltd on 1300 732 267.