Cleanliness and sanitation for livestock

July 29, 2015

Cleanliness is the single biggest contributor to livestock health.  Feeding and shelter requirements vary from one farm animal to another, but all will require good sanitation to stay in top condition. Follow these tips to keep your livestock in optimal health.

Cleanliness and sanitation for livestock

Begin with careful planning. Be sure the feeding and watering equipment is protected from contamination and that the shelter is easy to clean.

1. Make a safe pasture

  • If you have a pasture, it should be free of boggy areas, poisonous weeds and any dangerous debris.
  • Use fencing and traps to protect your small animals from predators, and guard against flies by installing screens.
  • Routine daily care is important too.
  • Wash equipment after each use, keep bedding dry and check your animals daily for early signs of trouble.

2. Keep animal shelters clean

  • Once or twice each year thoroughly scrub and disinfect your animals' shelter.
  • Haul all old bedding to the compost heap and replace it with clean, dry material.
  • Take all movable equipment outside, wash it thoroughly, and let it dry in the sun; sunlight is an excellent disinfectant.
  • Scrub the inside of the enclosure with a stiff brush to remove caked dirt, then go over everything with a livestock disinfectant.
  • Follow the manufacturer's directions and allow adequate drying time before returning the animals to their pens.
  • These basic sanitary procedures should be followed in the event of an outbreak of disease or before a new animal is placed in the shelter, for instance, if you put a new feeder into a pen used by last year's feeder.

3. Keep strange animals away

Try to keep strange animals away from your livestock; if you buy a new animal, keep it quarantined until you are sure it is healthy. If you take an animal to a livestock show, isolate it for a while when you return before reintroducing it into the herd. Some farmers go so far as to pen one member of their herd with the new animals to be sure the new ones are not symptom-free disease carriers. If they are, a single animal only need be lost, not the entire herd. Some poultry farmers slaughter their entire flocks and start with a new batch of chicks instead of trying to introduce a few new birds at a time.

Remember: a clean environment is the best way to guarantee healthy, profitable livestock.

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