If your livestock is your livelihood, then you should want to make sure they stay safe and healthy all year long. It’s more expensive to treat sick animals than it is to prevent them from getting sick. Follow these guidelines to keep your farm animals healthy:
Good nutrition is the baseline of good health—this applies to animals as well as people! Different animals have different nutritional needs, so the food you buy may vary significantly from animal to animal. Their diet also depends on the animals’ age, their level of activity, and the stage of reproduction (if they’re pregnant or feeding their young).
Test their feeds to see if your animals are receiving the proper nutrition. A veterinarian can help a lot with this task! If they are lacking in any nutrition, you can supplement them with mineral mixtures and adjust them to overcome deficiencies. Mineral nutrition also helps animals with their vaccines—it’ll make them more effective!
Giving your animals vaccines regularly is one of the ways to keep them healthy and happy for longer. Vaccines work to limit the spread of disease on the farm. If you wish to store vaccines on site, then you will need proper storage temperature. You should also keep track of the vaccines’ expiration dates so you can throw them away when they expire. In order to vaccinate animals, you will also need clean needles and, of course, know how and where to vaccinate them. If you don’t know how to administer a vaccine, ask a veterinarian for help.
It’s important to vaccinate animals when they’re already healthy so the vaccine is the most effective. A healthy animal’s immune system will get the most out of the vaccine. If you know your animal will soon be going through a stressful event like weaning, transportation, or castrating, vaccinate them two weeks prior. Stressful events may make animals more prone to falling ill, so vaccinate them before that can happen!
A clean facility will keep animals safe and happy. Regularly clean their housing to ensure they have a clean and dry environment. Make sure the space has adequate ventilation to help with air quality. Animals are able to adapt well to cold weather as long as they are well-fed and have a good coat of fur/wool/hair. Clean, dry bedding is a must for your animals’ health.
If you have an animal that is ready to give birth, make sure they give birth out in the pasture. After they give birth, clean up the birthing site the best you can—predators will be attracted to the smell of blood and will come looking for an easy meal.
Animals with hooves (horses, cattle, pigs, and goats) require regular grooming. Their hooves need to be trimmed just like our nails! Hooves are made of keratin and need to be regularly trimmed to keep the animal comfortable. Cleaning and trimming your animals’ feet regularly can prevent animals from going lame. It will also help you catch infections before they become too severe.
Horses need shoes that fit their feet and keep their hooves protected. The shoes they wear will differ depending on the work they do. Make sure the shoes are properly fitted to the hooves or it could cause the horse pain and discomfort.
You may want to consider dehorning cattle, goats, and sheep to protect other animals (and yourself) from injury. It’s also a good idea to dock sheep and pigtails to prevent flies from infesting the area and causing an infection.
In this modern age, we’re no stranger to quarantine. It’s a necessary and preventative measure taken to prevent the spread of disease. You should quarantine animals when you acquire new ones or are traveling with them. You don’t want diseases from other farms to spread to your own. Seclude them for 3-4 weeks to ensure they won’t spread any disease. If you take your animal to a show, then you should also put it in quarantine when you return home. Animals can become stressed from travel and fall ill, or even catch a disease from another animal at the show.
One of the ways diseases spread on farms is through indirect contact. If you interact with other animals at another farm or show you should always wash your hands and change your clothes and shoes to prevent any spread to your own animals.
If you need supplies for your livestock, come visit us at C&C Farm & Home. We have locations in Bolivar, MO and Lebanon, MO. Our stores carry farm and lawn equipment, livestock supplies, hardware tools, and more. Visit us today!