The Home Stores

Livestock Care


The definitive website on homesteading and self sufficiency.



Livestock Care

Do not get the idea that raising livestock is easy; it takes time, patience, and love of animals. Raising livestock can make your quality of life much richer, as even if you break even on expenses, you will have a better quality of meat without growth hormones and unnecessary medications.

You will need the following:

  • Time
  • Adequate Housing
  • High Quality Feed
  • Cleanliness
  • Maximize Health
  • Rodent Prevention
  • Record Keeping

Time

Your time is the most important aspect of animal care. The more time you spend caring for your animals, the more rewarding and profitable your farm will be. Manage your time properly and wisely. Set-up a schedule to complete various chores and try not to put off till tomorrow what should be done today.

Adequate Housing

Make sure your animals have enough space and are not crowded. Crowded conditions lead to illness and very unhappy animals. In addition, always keep living quarters clean. Do not allow any wastes to remain in shelter. Clean up on a daily basis. Make sure housing is protected from the elements so animals can get into a dry and/or warm location. Provide proper bedding and again, clean bedding when soiled.

High Quality Feed

Feed comes in three main types:
  • Milled or Compound - Commercial pelleted food produced in a feed mill and fed to domestic livestock.
  • Fodder - Food given to domestic livestock, including plants cut and carried to them.
  • Forage - Growing plants eaten by domestic livestock.

Compound feeds can be complete feeds that provide all the daily required nutrients, concentrates that provide a part of the ration (protein, energy) or supplements that only provide additional micro-nutrients, such as minerals and vitamins. The main ingredients used in commercially prepared feed are the feed grains, which include corn, soybeans, sorghum, oats, and barley.

In agriculture, fodder or animal feed is any foodstuff that is used specifically to feed domesticated livestock such as cattle, goats, sheep, horses, chickens and pigs. Most animal feed is from plants but some is of animal origin. "Fodder" refers particularly to food given to the animals (including plants cut and carried to them), rather than that which they forage for themselves (see forage). It includes hay, straw, silage, compressed and pelleted feeds, oils and mixed rations, and also sprouted grains and legumes.

Forage is plant material (mainly plant leaves and stems) eaten by grazing livestock. Historically the term forage has meant only plants eaten by the animals directly as pasture, crop residue, or immature cereal crops, but it is also used more loosely to include similar plants cut for fodder and carried to the animals, especially as hay or silage.

Cleanliness

Livestock must be maintained in a clean and hygienic condition. It must provide stock with adequate ventilation and a well drained lying area. Make sure water dishes are clean and water is fresh. Food should be kept so rodents and insects do not have access to it. Daily maintenance of living area is a must!

Maximize Health

Livestock can be infected by both internal and external parasites. Most of these can be controlled through proper management and cleanliness. You will need to lean to recognize them and know how to deal with them so they do not spread and hurt your animals. Livestock may also become diseased. This could be from outside animals, genetics, nutrition or unhealthy living conditions.

Rodent Prevention

Each rat on a farm will eat, spoil or damage approximately $25 worth of grain per year. The adaptability and agility of these animals make getting rid of them particularly difficult. Mice are capable of running up a vertical surface, negotiating a wire like the finest circus performer and can easily jump to a height of 30 cm (12 in.) from a flat surface. In addition to mice and rats, other animals may cause problems but these are the most destructive. They also carry many diseases!

Record Keeping

Record keeping not only keeps information on paper, it allows for proper planning through analyzing the stored data. Nothing is worse than trying to remember something you forgot to write down.