Sunday, May 26, 2024

Importance of a Sick Bay in a Ruminant House

In case you like to know more about what is known as a sick bay, then here is an explanation for you. Among ruminants and even livestock’s generally, since they are raised in a group, it is possible for some to be sick at a time when others are healthy.

It is usually necessary that the sick ones is separated from the healthy ones for them to receive adequate treatment and the special housing made for this purpose is what is called a “sick bay”.

I will strongly recommend a sick bay as part of what should be on a ruminant farm because of the advantages of separating sick animals from healthy ones. First, it will prevent the spread of the disease from the affected animals to the healthy ones. Secondly, it will aid quick recovery of the sick ones as they will be given maximum attention in the sick bay.

It also helps to determine the rate of their response to treatment and handling animals in sick bay for treatment will be with little or no stress as they will not be disturbed by healthy ones. So I like to recommend a sick bay as a must in fact for any livestock farm.

Read Also: Common Rabbit Diseases and How to Cure them

Livestock Rearing: Its Extent and Health Effects

Importance of a Sick Bay in a Ruminant House

Humans depend upon animals for food and related by-products, work and a variety of other uses (see table below). To meet these demands, they have domesticated or held in captivity species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and arthropods. These animals have become known as livestock, and rearing them has implications for occupational safety and health.

This general profile of the industry includes its evolution and structure, the economic importance of different commodities of livestock, and regional characteristics of the industry and workforce. 

Table: Livestock Uses

CommodityFood CommodityBy-products and other uses
DairyFluid and dried milk, butter, cheese and curd, casein, evaporated milk, cream, yoghurt and other fermented milk, ice cream, wheyMale calves and old cows sold into the cattle commodity market; milk as an industrial feedstock of carbohydrates (lactose as a diluent for drugs), proteins (used as a surfactant to stabilize food emulsions) and fats (lipids have potential uses as emulsifiers, surfactants and gels), offal
Cattle, buffalo, sheepMeat (beef, mutton), edible tallowHides and skins (leather, collagens for sausage casings, cosmetics, wound dressing, human tissue repair), offal, work (traction), wool, hair, dung (as fuel and fertilizer), bone meal, religious objects, pet food, tallow and grease (fatty acids, varnish, rubber goods, soaps, lamp oil, plastics, lubricants) fat, blood meal
PoultryMeat, eggs, duck eggs (in India)Feathers and down, manure (as fertilizer), leather, fat, offal, flightless bird oil (carrier for dermal path pharmaceuticals), weed control (geese in mint fields)
PigMeatHides and skins, hair, lard, manure, offal
Fish (aquaculture)MeatFishmeal, oil, shell, aquarium pets
Horse, other equinesMeat, blood, milkRecreation (riding, racing), work (riding, traction), glue, dog feed, hair
Micro-livestock (rabbit, guinea pig), dog, catMeatPets, furs and skins, guard dogs, seeing-eye dogs, hunting dogs, experimentation, sheep herding (by the dog), rodent control (by the cat)
Bulls Recreation (bull-fighting, rodeo riding), semen
Insects and other invertebrates (e.g.,
vermiculture, apiculture)
Honey, 500 species (grubs, grasshoppers, ants, crickets, termites, locusts, beetle larvae, wasps and bees, moth caterpillars) are a regular diet among many non-western societiesBeeswax, silk, predatory insects (>5,000 species are possible and 400 are known as controls for crop pests; the carnivorous “tox” mosquito
(Toxorhynchites spp.) larvae feeds on the dengue fever vector, vermicomposting, animal fodder, pollination, medicine (honeybee venom
to treat arthritis), scale insect products (shellac, red food dye, cochineal)
Sources: DeFoliart 1992; Gillespie 1997; FAO 1995; O’Toole 1995; Tannahil 1973; USDA 1996a, 1996b.

A Checklist for Livestock Rearing Safety Practices and Sick Bay

Importance of a Sick Bay in a Ruminant House

Animal health and welfare are important factors for improving the productivity of livestock, extracting income for the farmers keeping your pet animals free of diseases. For instance, a disease outbreak or certain environmental constraints can affect the production system, profitability and health of the animals as well as the humans.

Below is a checklist of livestock rearing safety practices;


  1. Use proper ventilation in buildings and silos.
  2. Keep entrances to grain, feed and silage storage areas closed and locked.
  3. Post warning signs in feed and silage storage areas about the hazard of entrapment in flowing grain or feed.
  4. Maintain silo and bin ladders in good condition.
  5. Shield auger inlets to prevent contact with augers.
  6. Cover loading troughs on augers, elevators and conveyors with grating.
  7. Use caution when moving augers and elevators; check for overhead power lines.
  8. Assure that shields are in place for all feeding, grinding and other equipment.
  9. Be aware of health effects of breathing organic dust, and inform your doctor about recent dust exposure when seeking treatment for respiratory illness.
  10. Use automated or mechanized equipment to move decayed materials.
  11. Use source containment, local exhaust ventilation and wet methods to control organic dust.
  12. Use appropriate respiratory protection when dust exposure is unavoidable.


  1. Establish good sanitation, vaccination and inoculation programmes.
  2. When working with animals, plan an escape exit; have at least two ways out.
  3. Livestock handlers should have enough strength and experience for the job.
  4. Avoid working with animals when you are tired.
  5. Use caution when approaching animals so as not to startle them.
  6. Know the animals and be patient with them.
  7. Dehorn dangerous animals.
  8. Post warning signs where chemicals are stored; lock them in a room or cabinet.
  9. Mix all chemicals outside or in a well-ventilated area.
  10. Be careful when leading animals.
  11. Wear rubber gloves when treating sick animals.
  12. Vaccinate animals, and quarantine sick animals.
  13. Wash hands after contact with calves with diarrhoea (scours).

Containment and Housing

  1. Make sure all pens, gates, loading chutes and fences are in good repair and strong enough to contain the animal.
  2. Do not allow tobacco smoking around farm buildings and fuel storage and refueling areas; post “no smoking” signs in these areas.
  3. Maintain fully charged ABC-type fire extinguishers in major farm buildings.
  4. Remove trash and debris around buildings to prevent fires and falls.
  5. Keep all buildings in good repair.
  6. Keep electrical wiring in good condition.
  7. Use adequate lighting in all buildings.
  8. Keep floors clean and free of broken concrete and slippery areas.

Read Also: Best Number of Ruminant Animals per Housing Unit for Fattening

Importance of Animal Health

Animal health is important because bad animal health and conditions can lead to a lot of adverse implications. Moreover, animal diseases with human health implication can impact the public health, Global trade, agricultural stability and other sectors of the economy. According to animal medicine manufacturers in India, healthy animals can result in the following:

  • High productivity in the farms which includes the increased number of offspring as well.
  • Lead to the safer food supply for all leading to fewer diseases and adverse effects on the consumers.
  • Has significantly reduced environmental impacts.
  • Leads to the reduced dependency on the use of antibiotics.
  • Improve the animal well being and health leading to a better place.

The importance of Animal Nutrition in Livestock Production

Importance of a Sick Bay in a Ruminant House

Like humans, livestock animals need a balanced diet containing all the necessary nutrients, fluids, minerals, and vitamins. Proper nutrition gives your animals the vigor to grow, develop, and reproduce, and strong immunity to fight off infections. All these advantages lead to more profitable and sustainable agriculture.

Whether you feed your livestock commercial feeds such as concentrates or in-farm foodstuff, you need to make sure that every ration meets each animal’s essential dietary requirements during its various life stages. For instance, cattle have very different nutritional needs from pigs. And the diet of a lactating cow will also differ from that of a calf.

Remember, you can always boost your feeds’ specific nutritional content by adding feed supplements for livestock. Let’s take an in-depth look at the importance of animal nutrition in livestock production.

Prevent malnutrition, deficiencies, and diseases

There are hundreds of nutrition-related illnesses that affect livestock animals. Most of these illnesses are caused by either malnutrition or minerals and vitamin deficiencies. Deficiencies and malnutrition severely impact animals’ growth, development, and production; some extreme cases can lead to irreversible health conditions, disorders, or even fatalities.

Nutrition-related diseases have actually become more of a problem due to modern farming techniques. Since most animals feed on concentrates specifically designed to maximize yield, they may lack some essential minerals and vitamins.

Enrich your livestock feeds with high-value supplements such as B12 supplements and salt-based additives containing various micro and macro minerals. For instance, B12 in cattle is essential to meet the high energy demands of lactation and growth.

Improve breeding

Numerous studies, such as this one published by animal health experts, have found a direct correlation between nutrition and reproductive performance in animals. Feeding patterns, the quality and quantity of rations, and more importantly, the nutritional value of feeds profoundly affect an animal’s reproductive health.

Deficiencies of certain minerals such as calcium, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and manganese can reduce fertility in cows by increasing the risks of placental retention and mastitis and upsetting the balance of gestation and parturition hormones. Improper nutrition may also lead to poor foetal development, stunted growth after birth, and high calf mortality rates in severe cases.

Nutrition also affects the reproductive vitality of male animals. Bulls, stallions, roosters, and ewes reared for reproduction purposes require special diets to ensure their spawn’s health and viability.

Boost yields

In general, proper nutrition promotes good health in livestock, which results in higher productivity. Healthy, well-fed cattle and poultry will produce more milk, meat, and eggs. Although gross production figures form the backbone of every agribusiness, the yield quantity is only half the story.

Over the last decade or so, consumer preferences for food product quality have changed drastically. There is a growing demand for farm produce cultivated through sustainable methods. The livestock industry is particularly under pressure to follow humane farming practices. In a humane farm, animals should not be subjected to harmful substances or conditions to improve their production.

A rich diet not only improves yields but also enhances the quality of livestock production. You do not need to cut corners or use unscrupulous means to boost your farm produce as long as your animals are fed in the right way.

Bottom line

The importance of proper nutrition in livestock production cannot be overstated. Food determines livestock’s overall health and yield performance. Your farm’s success could very well hinge on how you feed, handle, and care for your animals.

Keep in mind that animals are highly sensitive to what they consume and how they consume it. So, make sure to provide your livestock animals with every bit of essential nutrient, in the right quantities, and at the appropriate time.

Read Also: The Effect of Heat Stress on Animal Productivity


Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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