Feeders are generally divided into three groups based on age and weight. These groups are calves, yearlings and other feeders. Feeder cattle typically weight anywhere from 350 to 1000 pounds.
All cattle are designated as calves until they are 1 year old. Yearlings are between 1 and 2 years of age. Yearlings under 18 month of age are often called short yearlings, and those over 18 months of age are often called long yearlings.
Age is a very important factor in selecting feeder cattle. Age affects: the capital investment, rate of gain, use of different kinds of feeds, length of feeding period, amount of feed required and economy of gain.
Frame size indicates the size of the animal’s skeleton (height and body length) in relation to its age. When two animal are the same age, the large-framed animal is taller at the withers and hips and has a longer than another animal with a smaller frame.
Thickness in feeder cattle refers to the development of the muscle system in relation to the skeletal size, while thriftiness refers to the apparent health of the animal and its ability to grow and fatten normally.
Feeder cattle are grown until they reach a certain size then they are shipped to feedlots, where they are fattened up for slaughter. Feeder cattle feed is generally corn, wheat or soybean meal.
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