Two strategies can be used when feed bunk space is limited. The first is simply grouping animals with peers of similar BW. The second strategy is to provide impediments to free motion at the feed bunk, such as headlocks or closely placed divider posts. This will likely be effective to some degree but not completely. Feeding twice daily is not recommended as this has been shown to increase heifer competition and weight gain variability within a pen.
At the initial implementation of the precision-feeding protocol, heifers will likely vocalize immediately prior to feeding, with the frequency and magnitude increasing toward the next feeding. Experiences are that this behavior will diminish and virtually disappear 10 to 14 days after the implementation of the precision-feeding strategy. This is not unlike the transition that calves have from milk at weaning time. As long as the heifers are growing according to the ADG goals of your operation and receiving a correctly balanced ration, they are being adequately fed.
Precision-feeding heifers until 30 to 45 days before calving has had no adverse effects on calf birth weight, dystocia, metabolic problems, DMI of cows in early lactation, or first-lactation milk production. Any changes in rumen and gut volume when using this feeding system late in gestation have been shown to occur rapidly and do not limit postpartum DMI; therefore, milk production is the same for these heifers as compared to conventionally fed heifers.