Maintaining happy and healthy animals helps you improve your agricultural productivity. Also, you promote sustainable agriculture, ethical animal treatment, and profitability. You get high-quality and safe animal products (eggs, meat, and milk).
Implement various measures to keep livestock diseases at bay. Create a conducive environment that promotes good health and contentment for your livestock through best hygiene practices, minimizing possible stressors and stimulating their natural behaviors.
Proper feeding and vaccine administration also promote their well-being and optimal health. Well-cared farm animals have a lower risk of contracting diseases, minimizing the likelihood of transmitting to animal handlers and consumers of animal food products.
Below are seven essential tips for maintaining livestock happiness and well-being.
1. Proper Feeding
Balanced and nutritious food enhances good health and high productivity in livestock. A nice blend of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water boosts animal immunity. Livestock need proper mineral nutrition, like amino acids, zinc, and copper, to boost their immune system.
Consult your veterinarian, and develop a specific diet plan that meets the individual dietary requirements of your farm animals. Remember to include soy in the animal feed as it is the primary source of proteins and amino acids, boosting meat and dairy production. Farm animals have different nutritional needs for various stages like pregnancy, animal growth, and milk production, requiring regular diet review. Always give the animals fresh food and regularly monitor feed intake, adjusting whenever necessary.
Water is essential for livestock for controlling body temperature and transporting food nutrients and hormones along the digestive tract. Give them adequate, clean, fresh water since the quantity and quality of the water directly impact their health.
2. Proper Shelter
A functional shelter (a barn, shed, solid fence, etc.) protects your livestock from harsh weather elements, stressors, and possible threats, keeping them relaxed and productive. The ideal size of the shelter depends on the livestock population. It should be spacious enough to accommodate all your farm animals and be well-ventilated for proper air circulation.
Build a sturdy shelter that does not pose structural dangers to your farm animals. It should also have a proper drainage system to prevent disease outbreaks. Constantly monitor it to identify and address potential hazards.
3. Enough Space
Livestock need adequate space to move around freely and catch some fresh air. Consider the recommended number of farm animals per acreage before farming or adding more livestock. Putting your flock in a vast land prevents congestion and overgrazing.
Ample pasture space for the herd also accommodates normal activities like social interaction, exercise, and exploration, promoting calmness and minimizing stress. The grazing area should be well-fenced to keep the animals from escaping and regularly monitored to keep away possible predators for your livestock’s safety.
Livestock confined in shelters should also enjoy ample space and proper ventilation to prevent disease spread, stress, and injuries.
4. Minimize Possible Stress
Raising healthy and happy livestock entails protecting them from stressors like transportation, heat stress, and routine change. Stress affects their productivity. Some stress signs in livestock are restlessness, reduced appetite, aggression, and increased heart rate.
Avoid unnecessary transportation of farm animals. If you have to, put necessary measures to limit stress by employing well-designed facilities, pairing familiar livestock, and seeking skilled handlers who understand low-stress techniques. Also, improve human-animal interaction, handle them with the utmost care, prevent overcrowding, and maintain consistent routines.
5. Give Necessary Shots
Farm animals are prone to diseases caused by bacteria or viruses, informing the essence of animal vaccines in combating common diseases and keeping your livestock healthy and happy.
Consult a specialized livestock veterinarian to determine suitable vaccines for your livestock, the frequency, and other vaccine protocols. You can administer animal shots depending on disease history on your farm and possible exposure to certain diseases. Note that vaccinations work best when administered to healthy animals, boosting their immune system.
6. Maintain Good Hygiene
A clean and hygienic environment keeps livestock diseases and parasites at bay. Regularly clean the barns or sheds and keep them dry to enhance animal comfort. Also, wash the livestock bedding often to prevent pneumonia caused by soiled beddings.
Piles of manure and mud in the livestock shed make the space unbearable for the animals but serve as a breeding ground for disease-causing microorganisms. Develop a sustainable waste management system for manure and mud build-up.
Clean and disinfect the livestock feeding and drinking equipment to minimize disease contamination. Consider several biosecurity measures to inhibit disease invasion from external sources. For instance, quarantine the animals for three to four weeks upon return from animal exhibits to minimize disease spread.
7. Promote Natural Behaviors
Create a supportive environment for livestock’s physical and mental well-being by enriching their space with additions like toys (balls and ropes), scratching pads, and puzzle feeders. It enhances their stimulation, prompting natural behaviors like foraging, exploring, and social interaction.
Offering sizable pasture space, large pens, or feed varieties promotes social interaction and foraging behaviors. Toys enhance playfulness, and scratching pads stimulate grooming habits. Environmental enrichment promotes positive natural behaviors in livestock while suppressing stress and aggression.
Promoting Healthy and Happy Farm Animals
Caring for your livestock promotes happy and healthy farm animals. You also benefit from high productivity. Provide the perfect conditions for your herd by constructing a proper shelter, maintaining high hygiene standards, ensuring enough room, and enriching their space to promote natural behaviors. Prioritize their optimal health through proper feeding and timely vaccinations.