Coronavirus: movement, stocking densities and accommodation
Movement and stocking densities
Red Tractor provides guidance on producing a contingency plan for movement restrictions. The information below provides additional tips and resources for key areas you should consider while preparing your plan.
If movements on/off your farm are restricted:
- Keep your key contacts list in an accessible place and ensure all staff know where to find it.
- Make sure your farm map (flow and buildings) is up to date and keep with your key contacts list.
- Consider deadstock management and contact your fallen stock collector.
How to manage stocking densities:
- Ensure you always remain compliant with stocking density limits.
- Calculate estimated growth rates and requirements within pens/buildings/fields, include space, water and feed.
- Different-sized animals will have different needs, e.g. for pigs, smaller animals are less destructive and require less robust pens; slot/beam regulations will vary depending on the age of the animals, e.g. for sheep, ensure lambs cannot get into water troughs and drown.
Alternative accommodation indoors
- Consider using any spare livestock accommodation, e.g. sheds/yards, corn stores/dryers, barns, tractor sheds, etc.
- Clean and disinfect buildings and spaces before using to house animals and make sure they are set up correctly.
- Check bedding and consider lighting, temperature, ventilation, air circulation, draughts and condensation.
- Ensure adequate space allowances and access to feed and water troughs – consider giving larger space allowances if conditions are less than ideal.
- Consider using drum fans and supplementary heat, e.g. lamps where necessary.
- Consider using windbreak or shade netting if necessary.
- Follow electrical safety guidance and ensure there is sufficient distance from combustible materials.
- Create kennels with a plywood/stock board roof.
- Cover slats with stock board/comfort mats.
- Monitor temporary races and loading ramps and help pigs adjust to new buildings/spaces.
Alternative accommodation outdoors
- Identify any concrete areas that can be hurdled off; deep bed to reduce moisture levels from the concrete floor.
- Ensure fields have a dry lying area.
- Create temporary pens using materials such as straw bales, stock fencing, electric fencing, etc.
- Where possible, position the temporary accommodation in a dry area, away from drains and areas affected by run-off from roofs and gutters.
- Check ventilation and try to ensure lying areas are draught-free.
- Create smaller kennels within a large pen/yard using straw bales, sheets of plywood, stock board, painted tin, etc.
- Use bales or hurdles to create external runs.
- Use net/mesh, where appropriate (unsuitable for sheep or cattle with horns), in pens to prevent escape routes; place on the inside, bend under the bales and use to fill gaps and attach/wire to bale strings.
- Update your soil management plan to reflect any changes.
- Have a four-week supply on hand for emergencies; this should include bedding, feed, extra gates, straw bales, etc.
- Consider what else you could use for bedding if straw is scarce, as well as where you can get it from, e.g. shredded paper, woodchips/coarse wood shavings, rape straw, etc.
Plan for extreme weather
- Put measures in place to avoid heat stress, e.g. shades, fans, wallows/areas of wet concrete.
- Prepare for cold weather, e.g. supplementary heating and deep bedding.
- Ensure consideration is given to transporting animals during extreme conditions, especially for long journeys.