October 12, 2021

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Amongst all the livestock that makes up the farm animals in Nigeria, ruminants, comprising of sheep, goats, and cattle, constitute the farm animals largely reared by farm families in the country’s agricultural system.

The livestock industry plays an indispensable role in the traditional agriculture and largely subsistence economy of Nigeria, the sub-sector contributes about fifteen point three percent (15.3%) of the total agricultural sector.
The sector is undergoing a massive transformation fueled by high demand for meat, which is likely to double in the near future. The major forces behind this are the combination of population growth, urbanization, and income growth.

Cattle fattening is a livestock production practice that reduces the normadic movement of cattle from place to place and thereby allowing quick growth, retention of good meat quality of cattle called fattening. Larger animals can be sold for more money on the market as they yield more meat.

People fatten cattle mainly to make a profit by speeding up the rate of feeding popf catle in a confined environment where they are regularly fed with rich protein and feed content within a short period. These earn better prices and higher demand.

These form of cattle fattening are however reared mostly in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the country for beef production. They have a body characterized by great depth and width, and they are bred primarily for the production of meat under special and supervised conditions.

These breeds of cattle carry considerable muscle, especially around the loin. These classes of animals possess a greater efficiency of converting poor quality forage into a good quality protein (meat).

Though Nigeria plays a vital role in the livestock economy of Africa, her livestock production level is below domestic consumption need. This however due to some factors; The meat market in Nigeria has poor infrastructure, the slaughter of livestock and the fresh meat trade is concentrated in the public open markets without packing and refrigeration which results in a significant reduction in the quality and shelf life.

The larger proportion of these animals’ population is however largely concentrated in the northern region of the country than the southern region. Specifically, about ninety percent (90%) of the country’s cattle population and seventy percent (70%) of the sheep and goat populations are concentrated in the northern region of the country.


Cattle beef fattening is a practice that solely involves the feeding of beef cattle with a protein-balanced, high-energy feed for a stipulated time while restricting the movement of the animal to reduce its activities to increase meat yield.

a. Cattle for fattening

Getting the cattle to be fattened is the first process of the practice and this involves getting healthy cattle, a healthy animal is responsive, has sharp eyes, a smooth hair coat, and a slightly damp muzzle.

Factors to consider are the breed of cattle, gender, maturity type, and age. This is because different types of cattle have a different reactions to the fattening procedure, some cattle are more fitting for the process than others.

The common cattle breeds used for fattening in Nigeria include Red Bororo, Ndama, Rahaji, Muturu, Sokoto Gudali, Abore, and Mbala.

b. Land Area and Equipment

A large enough area must be available for erecting the necessary feedlots. Assessment of the suitability of the plot for cattle fattening farming should be conducted. It is advisable to locate the project nearer to good roads as that will help minimize costs. This will also enable the farmer to have easy access to and from the project. There should be a reliable source of clean water that can be used for both human and animal consumption, such as boreholes, rivers, and dams. In case of an inadequate water source, a reservoir could be constructed.

You will need to construct feedlots for the cattle. A beef cattle feedlot/pen is a confined yard area with watering and feeding facilities where cattle are completely handed or mechanically fed for beef fattening. Feeding is done under confinement to prevent loss of energy through movement. Proper housing is important in a successful beef fattening business. Adequately protect animals against the adverse effects of weather when they are raised in relatively small areas. Cattle housing must offer very easy access to food and water, freedom of movement, ventilation that prevents harmful effects from poor air quality, and natural ventilation and light. Your cattle feedlots business plan must include the costs of housing and equipment.

c. Housing: Adverse weather conditions might take a toll on the health of the cattle and in turn, this will slow down the fattening process, and this could disrupt the plan as commercial cattle fattening has to be carried out precisely. Proper housing and equipment are very important to have a successful cattle fattening experience. Bamboo poles can be erected as walls with a roof that will provide shade for the animal, the flooring can be prepared with concrete or gravel and sand.

Cattle housing must offer very easy access to food and water, freedom of movement, ventilation that prevents harmful effects from poor air quality, and natural ventilation and light. Your cattle feedlots business plan must include the costs of housing and equipment.

d. Selection of Fattening Cattle

These factors have to be considered if your fattening plan is to yield enough meat which will in turn yield projected profits;

Age– Younger animals need a longer feeding period. Older animals get a shorter time for fattening. Prefferd age might be 12-20 months old.

Steers (castrated males) are chosen over heifers due to their intrinsic capacity to gain weight.

Disposition- An active yet docile steer will definitely grow faster and will fatten easily. A restless one will waste too much energy.

Constitution and Vigor- A large feeding capacity, a strong appetite, show good constitution, and vigor.

Breed- Improved breeds gain weight quicker with less feed than native animals.

e. Feed and Nutrition

The best feed used to achieve the desired and quick fattening of cows is barley. Coming behind are oats, triticale, sorghum, maize, and oats, but note you can’t feed cows with oats alone if fattening is your goal, it always has to be mixed with any of the aforementioned feed. Hay is the best source of roughage.

You must provide the right quantity and type of feed to your cattle. The success of the cattle fattening business depends on the ability of the cattle to gain weight and to make high-quality beef.

Some companies sell fattening cattle stock feeds. These are complete, balanced feeds, which are produced for fattening cattle in feedlots for over 90 days. The stock feeds are high-energy fattening meals that have all the nutrients necessary for ad-lib cattle pen fattening.

You can also make your own cattle beef fattening feeds in your backyard if you are a bit persnickety about the source of your stock’s feed. The quantity of feed consumed by the cattle daily will depend on factors such as live weight and age of the cattle. Generally, it averages between 8 to 15kg per head per day and 3.4% of a steer’s live mass per day. The average daily weight gain of cattle at 350Kg live mass is about 1.6Kg.

A sample of a Feed formulation for fattening from a farmer who as practiced Cattle fattening.

  • Preparation of cattle feed by a combination of urea with straw
  • Firstly, a large type of basket is taken and plastered with mud then dried.
  • And then 20 liters of water is taken with a bucket
  • Urea about 1 kg is mixed with that water
  • The large type of basket is fulfilled with straw in this way.
  • The large type of basket is covered with polythene after filling it and kept tied.
  • After 10 to 12 days, the straw will be taken out of the basket and will be kept outside for sun drying.
  • After the sun drying straw will be appropriate for feeding.
  • Generally, cattle must be supplied with a straw that is mixed with 3 kg of urea.
  • Each day, 300 to 400 gm of molasses should be mixed with straw.


The number of farmworkers you need will depend on the size of your cattle fattening farming project. If you are running a small business you and your family may be enough to take care of the cattle. However, if you are fattening many cattle e.g. 200 cattle, you will need full-time employees to manage the herd.  There is a need for good technical knowledge of cattle fattening techniques for success in the business and good management skills. You need to understand the techniques of effectively raising cattle for beef. Some farmers don’t take farming as a business, thus they will never be successful, as they don’t properly manage it.


The amount of capital required for the cattle fattening business depends on the scale of the cattle pen fattening project. Startup Capital is needed for constructing the feedlots, buying the cattle, buying the stock feeds e.t.c. Sources of capital include bank loans and equity investors. If you plan to raise capital from investors, you need a good cattle fattening project proposal.  However, if you don’t have access to capital, you can start small, and grow your business over time! Cattle farming is very profitable, so if you reinvest the profits you get, you can quickly grow your business. You will require a good cattle fattening business plan to guide you in your business.

Marketing of fattened cattle

After 90 days, the animals should weigh over 300kg, this marks their ripeness for the slaughterhouse. Proper handling of animals should be ensured during transport as otherwise can cause injuries or even death of the cattle. Cattle shouldn’t be overfed before transportation and also they should be cramped up in the vehicle and the vehicle should be well padded with beddings to minimize discomfort.


Cattle beef fattening is very profitable when done the right way. The profitability of the cattle fattening farming business depends on the buying price of the cattle, cost of the feed, price margin, feed margin, feed conversion efficiency ratio, the unit cost per KG when selling.  You must understand the mentioned margins and conversion ratios before you start this livestock business.

When a business owner understands these margins and ratios, then can easily calculate how much profit they will get by buying and fattening the cattle at a specific price. Thus you will make an informed decision of whether the price at which you are buying the cattle is profitable for beef fattening purposes.  The maximum price payable for the cattle must be calculated before you start the beef fattening business. It is easy to make a financial loss before fattening even starts by paying too much for the cattle.

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