Considering Animals? Check Out These 9 Livestock Lessons

We've rounded up 9 lessons for anyone considering adding animals to their farm or just want to make raising livestock a little bit easier!

by Daniel Johnson
PHOTO: nskyr2/Adobe Stock

Raising livestock is not a perfect science! If you’ve got questions, search around the site and select the animal you need help with, from cattle to pigs to sheep to exotics—we’ve got solutions. Oh, and chickens? We’ve got tons on information chickens!

Here are some bits of advice to get you started. 

Security Advisers

We’re all familiar with livestock guardian dogs and even livestock guardian donkeys. But a llama can also be an effective livestock guardian. 

Double Your Pleasure

Dual-purpose livestock breeds make economic sense for small farms. If you choose a breed that provides milk and meat or wool and meat, it maximizes the benefits in a tangible way.

Get Your Goat

Goats are incredibly smart and will discover patterns and routines you didn’t even know about. Enjoy their antics but try not to be outsmarted.

Study Rare Breeds

If you’re interested in unusual breeds and are interested in helping to preserve old livestock lines, consider raising a heritage breed. There are hundreds of rare livestock breeds with amazing traits just waiting to be discovered by you. 

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Water On Hand

Have extra 5-gallon jugs or water buckets filled prior to a storm in case of a power outage. You might also fill any troughs if there is time before the storm.

Install the Right Fence

Not all fencing is created equal, and not all fencing types are ideal for every species. Carefully research the right fencing type for the right animal.

 Always double-check to make sure all gates are latched. 

Explore Oxen

Some folks love alternative livestock, and while cattle aren’t exactly unusual, using a trained cow or steer (the definition of oxen) for draft work is a fascinating alternative to machines for some jobs. 

Heated Water Buckets

All sorts of passive methods can be used to keep livestock water from freezing, but when it’s truly cold out, electrically heated buckets are worthwhile. They’re safe, low wattage (only about 120 or less) and make winter farm life so much simpler—no more ice!

Use Fly Strips

There is no shortage of fly control products for the farm. But inside the barn it’s hard to beat the convenience and effectiveness of fly strips—simple fly paper rolls that unravel and hang from the barn ceiling.

No mess, no toxins. They just work.

This article was written by Daniel Johnson, Samantha Johnson and J. Keeler Johnson and originally appeared in the July/August 2023 issue of Hobby Farms magazine.

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