Reader’s Digest “Back to Basics”
Raising livestock is an every day affair. It may only take a few minutes a day, but you can never skip a day. Cleanliness is the single biggest contributor to livestock health. Feeding and shelter requirements vary from one animal type to another, but they all require good sanitation to stay in the best health.
Before purchasing any animals, check with local authorities to make sure they are permitted in your area. We learned that we can only have 8 chickens in our area and no roosters. Determine an estimate of how much food will be required and if you have the space to grow some of it or will you need to purchase it and determine some sources.
Planning is the beginning of successfully handling livestock. Be sure the feeding and watering equipment is protected from contamination and the shelter is easy to clean. If you have pasture area, it should be free of boggy areas, poisonous weeds and dangerous debris. Use fencing to contain and protect your animals and traps to protect them from predators. Keep feeding and watering equipment clean daily. Make sure they have dry bedding and check them daily for signs of trouble.
Once or twice a year thoroughly scrub and disinfect your animal’s shelter. Haul out all old bedding to the compost heap and replace it with some that is clean, new and dry. 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 house with a stiff bristled brush to remove caked on dirt, then go over everything again with a disinfectant formulated for use with livestock. Follow the directions on the disinfectant and allow plenty of drying time before reintroducing animals back inside. Do this any time an infectious outbreak occurs or before bringing a new animal into the shelter. If you buy a new animal, keep it quarantined until you are sure it is healthy. Some farmers pen the new animal with a member of the existing herd to be sure the new animal isn’t a symptom-free disease carrier. If they are, then only a single animal is lost and not the entire group. If you take an animal out to a show, isolate it for a while upon return before introducing it back.
a clean environment is the best way to guarantee healthy, profitable and attractive livestock.
Source: Reader’s Digest, 1981 (New York), Back to Basics, p. 182.
Billie Nicholson, Editor