Farmers have plenty to consider in terms of operating their farms, such as the needs of their livestock. Livestock comes in many different forms. In the United States, cattle, chickens, sheep, and pigs make up what we commonly consider livestock. They have various needs, but there are common principles to remember regardless of species to care for them properly.
The well-being of farm animals is a vital part of running a farm. Whether you’re a seasoned farmer or just dipping your toes into farm life, it’s crucial to know how to keep your livestock animals healthy.
Get To Know Your Livestock
Knowing your animals is a great way to bond and identify potential illnesses early. You will immediately realize something doesn’t seem right when you’re familiar with their everyday behavior. Noticing when an animal is sick will also help you protect the rest of the livestock, as you can isolate the sick one to keep the illness from spreading. You may not notice shifts in behavior when you don’t spend much time with them.
Raise With Love
Livestock is more than dinner, so treat them with the love and respect they deserve. Animals pick up on when you’re irritable, leaving them feeling uneasy. Showing compassion is a win-win for all parties involved, and livestock that feels comfortable make far better products than those that don’t.
Keep Them Well-Watered and Well-Fed
We need water to keep our bodies operating at peak performance, and the same rule applies to livestock. It’s no surprise that high-quality water helps animals function properly in terms of activity. Well-quenched barnyard friends are jaunty, while dehydrated ones stay stationary. Water also keeps their appetite strong.
High-quality feed is just as important as high-quality water. Ensure that you’re meeting your livestock’s unique nutritional needs. While different farm animals will have varying needs, the quality of the feed is a key factor in maintaining their immune systems.
Provide Spacious and Clean Housing
Good farmers know animals need space to roam and prosper. The same goes for their housing, which protects livestock from the elements and keeps stress levels down. Having enough space also prevents diseases from easily spreading.
Cleanliness also optimizes the livestock’s health. Keep animal pens clean by regularly removing any waste or old food. Old, contaminated food can make an animal sick if consumed, so it’s best to throw it away as soon as possible.
Use Medicine and Vaccinations
Your livestock needs medicine and vaccinations to stay healthy. Without treatment, animals may succumb to illness and parasites. Research vets in the area to become familiar with those who specialize in farm animals. They can help guide you in caring for all types of livestock and make visits when needed.
Your needs may differ depending on the animals you have on your farm. Dairy farms often have more frequent vet visits than others because pregnant cows are a vital part of the operation.
Being a farmer is no easy task. After all, different livestock has different needs. However, by familiarizing yourself with these general guidelines, you will know how to keep your livestock healthy. Well-cared-for animals come with plenty of rewards and unlock your farm’s full potential.