Good livestock management is one of the most important aspects of a successful ranch operation. Livestock such as cattle, sheep, horses, goats, and pigs have different needs in terms of shelter, food, water, and exercise. You, as a ranch owner, should know how each animal should be managed to keep them healthy and productive all year round.
Here are some farm animals you’d typically see in a ranch, as well as the proper care for these different species.
It’s always best to start small when starting a cattle farm for the first time. Imagine starting immediately with a herd of massive animals like these – that can be immensely overwhelming! Maybe two cows could be a good start for you to learn the ropes. Then increase your cattle population once you get the hang of things.
A spacious and well-ventilated shed would make the best shelter for cattle. You also need to have a clean source of water nearby since these animals need around 10 to 20 gallons of fresh water per day – even more when the weather is hot. Cattle thrive on an excellent rotational grazing system. Letting them travel from one pastureland to another allows them to munch on newly grown grass. Complement your cattle’s pasture grass intake with fresh hay, as well. That way, your cattle will be healthier and more productive. Just make sure that all poisonous plants such as lupines and silver leaf nightshade are removed beforehand.
Sheep require a sturdy shelter with proper ventilation and protection from the elements. For added comfort, cover their living area with hay or straw bedding. Since they are grazing animals, a shaded area in the pasture will also work. Preparing your pasture is crucial to raising sheep. In case your pasture doesn’t have enough grass, keep your sheep healthy and well-fed with quality supplementary feeds like hay.
Sheep also have a tendency to go astray. Apart from having a well-trained herd dog around to keep straying sheep in check, you will need a good fencing system. Since sheep can jump over fences, too – not just in dreams – you’ll want your fence to be at least 1.5 meters tall. You keep them in and predators out.
The healthier your goats, the more milk they’ll produce. So house them in a warm, dry, and spacious structure. As with the rest of your grazing animals, let them roam the pastures and nibble on grass. Complement these with hay for them to chew on. Also have provisions for water.
Just like sheep, goats require a higher fence made of either welded wire or strand electric fencing – one that they won’t be able to easily destroy or jump over.
Horses should graze freely in a pasture that will give them all the grass they need to keep them strong. Keep them hydrated, too, since they move around a lot.
As part of their grooming regimen, horses’ hooves need to be trimmed every six to eight weeks to prevent injury.
Shelter-wise, horses also need indoor and/or outdoor housing. While many horses can adapt to the outdoor living environment, it’s always best to build well-ventilated structures for times when weather extremes can take a toll on them.
Knowing what your livestock needs is crucial to your ranch operation. For more tips and guidance on owning and buying land for sale in Weatherford, TX, get in touch with HBS Real Estate Today by calling 817.550.6666. You may also leave us a note here.