Volunteer FAQ Editor Needed

gwannouncementsSeptember 28, 2010

We are looking for someone to help create an FAQ for this forum. While compiling information should be a group effort, one person would be charged with pulling it together into useful FAQs. This could mean a new document OR just pointing to helpful posts that are already on the forum. A good example of a helpful FAQ can be found here: Winter Sowing FAQ.

If you have a desire to make this forum even better, have good writing skills and work well with others, please reply to this thread or send us an email --Letters to Garden Web.

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Hello Moderators. I just typed up this general faq for this forum regarding livestock general care. I tried to keep it very general and I hope you take it into consideration (with general suggestions from other forum members) and post it for others to benefit.

General Care of Livestock

Owners should research the care and feeding associated with owning their species of livestock beforehand. Good basic care will go a long way towards keeping livestock healthy. Starting out with healthy animals will go a long way towards a positive livestock ownership experience.
Some considerations are:

What type of housing is best for your climate? Warm southern locations may need only a basic 3 � sided shelter to house their animals, while northern locations should offer 4 � sided shelters to protect from sleet, snow, and wind chills. Generally speaking the shelter should be dry and provide adequate ventilation to avoid respiratory illnesses. Shelter should be adequate for the number of animals to be housed. In colder climates protection from the wind and driving rain/sleet/snow is important.

Feeding and diet:
Feeding and diet can be a complicated subject particularly when speaking generically. Will your species have pasture available to them full time, or will you be supplementing in part or completely? In general roughage (hay, pasture, and/or forage) should be the bulk of the diet for livestock. Concentrates (grains) should only be a supplementation to the forage provided. Lactating nursing & pregnant animals may need additional concentrates to keep up on the demand required either for nursing young or milking purposes. Owners should keep in mind that concentrates in overabundance can lead to impacted rumens (stomachs), founder, laminitis, urinary calculi, or other issues so it is important that the diet be balanced based on individual needs.

Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

Additional considerations are the mineral content of forages and concentrates (grains) provided. Some mineral deficiencies can take years to show up and it is best to confer with local breeders, your veterinarian, and/or a nutritional specialist familiar with your locale. It is also important to understand that not all mineral supplementations apply across species. A good example is copper; sheep for instance are known to be sensitive to copper, while goats need and can tolerate higher amounts of copper. The exact amounts are still being evaluated at the time of this writing. Never assume 2 species that look alike and generally lumped together have the same needs. Owners should research species individually.

Routine vaccinations and preventatives:
Owners should be aware of what vaccinations are available for their species and what (if any) side effects and/or ramifications can be had from those vaccinations. Vaccinations can be considered cheap insurance to help ward off problems. Being familiar with what parasites and worms are problems with your species can help keep animals healthy. De-worming regimes and effective de-wormers can fluxuate greatly depending on locale and species. In many areas resistance to de-wormers is growing and suggestions from local owners should be sought in addition to performing a fecal to target problem worms and parasites. If owners wish to raise animals naturally or organically they should research what is acceptable practice within the industry.

Know what is normal:
Livestock require daily attention. During feeding times owners should observe the animals in their care. By doing so they can spot a problem at the onset and treat or correct the problem (hopefully) before it becomes life-threatening. To do this they need to know what is normal for their species. Owners should know what body temperature their species should be at. Often taking a sick animals temperature can help diagnose a problem. Other symptoms that than indicate a problem are: runny goopy eyes or nose, lethargy, diarrhea, redness or itching, swelling or bleeding, irregular lumps or bumps, limping or abnormal walking, rough coat or "puffing up" of the coat, abnormal stance, failure to get up, incessant or abnormal crying/bawling/neighing, abnormal stance. This is just a partial list, other symptoms can and do occur, the bottom line is owners should be aware of what is "normal".

Mentoring and being a Mentor: A good mentor can be an invaluable asset in determining a proper diet for your species, locale, and purposes. One should note also, that there is not one best way to care for livestock, and what works for one owner may or may not work for another. There are as many ways to care for livestock as there are owners of livestock. Each owner by evaluation and trial and error will tailor best practices to their species, locale, and purpose. When in doubt, seek professional advice, and if you find something that works for you, share your information with others.

With proper care your chosen livestock species will thrive and flourish.
Note: The author is not a veterinarian and any and all information posted should be used at the owners discretion and risk.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2010 at 8:18AM
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