What’s Livestock Shrinkage, and Why Does It Matter?

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What’s Livestock Shrinkage, and Why Does It Matter?

If you’re a rancher, the health, safety, and profitability of your livestock are major priorities. One thing that can threaten their well-being—as well as your bottom line—is livestock shrinkage. So what exactly is livestock shrinkage, and why does it matter? Find out below.

What’s Livestock Shrinkage?

Livestock shrinkage refers to the weight loss or reduction in value of animals from the time they leave your ranch to when they reach the market. This weight loss can occur due to various factors, such as stress, dehydration, feed and water withdrawal, or even excessive walking.

Why Does It Matter?

The weight loss can lead to reduced sale prices, causing financial losses. Additionally, shrinkage is an indicator of animal welfare issues. If your livestock is experiencing significant shrinkage, they could be dealing with stress or dehydration, which can have negative consequences on their health and performance.

How To Prevent It

Taking steps to minimize shrinkage is essential for maintaining the well-being of your animals and maximizing your profits. Here are a few strategies you can employ:

  • Provide ample access to clean water throughout the transportation process to prevent dehydration.
  • Minimize the time your animals spend in transit and ensure appropriate resting periods.
  • Handle livestock with care to avoid injuries or stress during loading, unloading, and transportation.
  • Implement proper nutrition programs to ensure the animals receive a balanced diet before and during transportation.
  • Regularly inspect and maintain your livestock trailers or transportation vehicles to ensure optimal conditions for the animals.

Owning a livestock scale can help you pinpoint shrinkage by accurately measuring the weight of your animals before and after transportation. This allows you to quantify the extent of shrinkage and make informed decisions to mitigate it.

By understanding what livestock shrinkage is and why it matters and implementing the appropriate preventive measures, you can protect your animals, improve their welfare, and maintain a profitable operation.

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