Most people who own a farm also tend to raise their own farm animals. There are many reasons why some farmers love to have animals in their fields. Some may need these farm animals to assist them in their daily tasks, for livelihood purposes, or simply because it’s one of their hobbies.
If you are one of those who may be interested in getting farm animals, you should know that taking care of them comes with a few challenges and responsibilities. Just like having a pet, you also need to create a plan on how you’re going to manage them, especially if you’re planning to raise various kinds.
To help you get on board, here are the eight best tips when taking care of farm animals.
Get To Know Your Animals
Before you bring in your farm animals, you need to get to know them first. You can do your research or consult a livestock veterinarian to help you understand these animals, their personalities, and their different needs and requirements. Once you’ve brought them to your farm or barn, take your time interacting with them to make them feel at home and comfy around your presence.
The best way to take care of your animals is when you’re well-prepared and well-equipped for all their basic needs. So, before their arrival, make sure you have the complete supplies like food, animal vitamins, and so on. You can also purchase a water tank that can be used to water live stock. Keep in mind that water is important for your animals’ growth, reproduction, as well as regulation of their body temperature.
Feed Them With Nutritious Food
If it’s your first-time raising farm animals, it’s recommended that you collaborate with a vet or an animal nutritionist to help you buy the right food for your animals. Take note that each type of animal requires different foods and nutritional needs, which means you can’t buy one type of food or grass for all of them.
Besides their breed and kind, there are also other factors you’ll need to consider when buying their food, such as their age, level of activity, and health conditions (e.g., pregnancy, sickness). Remember, these animals’ nutrition can significantly impact their ability to produce animal products, such as eggs from chickens or milk from cows and goats.
Prepare An Appropriate Shelter
Just like your at-home pets, farm animals need shelter, too, as it can influence their growth and development. Some may quickly assume that since they’re animals, they can thrive and live together under one roof. However, every type of animal needs different shelter specifications. For example, cows need to be sheltered in an enclosed pole barn with proper ventilation and filled with clean straw for their bedding. Meanwhile, your chickens can be sheltered in a spacious cage made of hardwood, then provide a small opening on each cage so they can peek out their heads when it’s feeding time.
When providing shelter for your animals, make sure to separate them into groups according to their kind. Some animals like sheep, cows, and chickens feel more at home and comfortable when they’re kept with their herd or friends. Furthermore, it’s also ideal to separate the young calves from the adult cows so the calves will get used to feeding themselves with hays.
Maintain The Cleanliness of Their Living Space
Aside from sheltering them, it’s also important to keep their living space clean and well-kept for their optimal health. Leaving their barns or shelters uncleaned for a day or two could promote diseases that could infect your animals in no time. This is true, especially if you leave their droppings scattered on the floor or near their food or water supply.
So, make it a routine to clean their shelters at least once or twice a day to ensure their living areas are clean. While doing so, you can also take your time to check their fences, locks, or gates and see if there’s any damage or repairs needed to prevent them from running away or getting injured by loose fences or nails.
Give Them Clean Water Every day
As mentioned earlier, it’s recommended that you invest in a water tank for your farm, so you have steady and easy water access whenever you need to feed them. As much as possible, always check on their water supply to ensure it’s clean and fresh. Providing them with dirty and contaminated water could put them at risk for diseases that could refrain them from producing animal products, or worse, result in death. So, always keep an eye on your water tank and ensure it’s safe for their daily consumption.
Provide Regular Medical Attention
Anyone can get sick, including your animals. To ensure their immune systems remain strong against any sickness, you need to provide them with regular medical attention. You can work with a livestock veterinarian to help you keep an eye on your animals’ health and ensure they’re all completely vaccinated.
If one of your animals gets sick, immediately separate that animal from the rest of the group to avoid contaminating the healthy ones. Then, immediately seek the vet’s help to have the infected animal diagnosed and treated before it’s too late.
Maintain Proper Grooming
Keep your farm animals happy and healthy by grooming them regularly. Every type of animal may require different grooming techniques, so, make sure to consult the vet first and learn more about how to maintain proper grooming for each kind.
Overall, taking care of farm animals isn’t that hard, as long as you’re knowledgeable and well-prepared. Just remember that farm animals have emotions, too, and they also deserve the right care, respect, and the freedom to do their own thing or socialize with their herd.