7 tips that keep your livestock happy and healthy

Raising livestock is all about getting the right information. Here's how to get everything you need for better livestock that's much happier.

7 tips that keep your livestock happy and healthy

1. Do the research

  • Before buying animals, learn as much as you can about keeping them.
  • Books, breeders' magazines and websites, and government pamphlets are helpful.
  • Talk to local experts and neighbours who keep livestock, as well as other knowledgeable people you come across.
  • Attend exhibits and shows to learn what distinguishes good specimens.
  • Check costs of feed, equipment, fencing and building materials.
  • Be certain there is a veterinarian available to treat your animals.

2. Find out if markets are available

  • If you're interested in selling your animals' produce, find out what markets are available, what laws restrict its sale and what price it may bring.
  • There are government regulations covering the sale of most animal-sourced foods. The sale of milk, for example, is very strictly regulated.
  • Make sure that there's someone in the area who's available to slaughter your livestock — or to help you learn to do the job yourself.

3. Learn the local laws

  • Before you decide to purchase animals, check with your municipality to make sure they're permitted in your area.
  • Be sure that you have ample space and a clean shelter.
  • If you plan to let animals range-feed, make sure your pasture is of sufficiently high quality.
  • It can take years to develop top-quality grazing land. If your pasture isn't top-grade, you'll have to buy hay.

4. Buy equipment

  • Before the animals arrive, you should purchase necessary equipment, such as feeding and watering troughs, milk pails and storage bins.
  • Be prepared to store what your animals produce. Milk and eggs must be refrigerated, and meat must be salted, smoked or frozen.

5. Consider chickens and dairy cows

Chickens and dairy cows are traditional small-farm animals that pay their way with eggs, meat and milk. A single animal can quickly become a family pet.

6. Make notes of everything

  • Keep track of all expenses and write down exactly how much feed you provide each day.
  • If you have just a few animals, consider recording the amount fed to individual animals.
  • Note how many offspring each animal produces, whether the offspring survive to maturity, and how fast they gain weight.
  • If you have dairy animals, weigh each animal's milk at milking time.
  • Count the number of eggs laid by each of your chickens, ducks or geese and the percentage of the eggs hatched.

7. Keep your records straight

  • Good records are essential, especially if you're curious about the cost of raising livestock versus going to the supermarket.
  • Maintaining records is not a time-consuming chore. The most convenient system is to keep a looseleaf notebook or a box of filing cards near your animals' shelter.
  • Carefully kept records will tell you which animals are producing efficiently and which should be culled.
  • Records will also increase the worth of any animals you choose to sell, and help you decide which offspring will make the most valuable additions to your stock.

Raising livestock can be a rewarding and money-saving experience, but only if you do it right. Keep good records and do the research beforehand. Every bit of information you collect will help you raise better, happier animals.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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