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Caring for your Livestock

Afbeelding: All Stock buying

Cattle

Accurate record keeping is an essential part of owning cattle.  Records must be kept of the following:

  • Eartag no.
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Breed
  • Dam identity
  • Dates of any movement off / on from or to the farm
  • Details of where an animal has moved to or from

Each animal must have a passport which accompanies the animal on every movement throughout its life, with each movement being reported to Cattle Tracing Service within 3 days (www.bcms.gov.uk)

Tagging
Beef animals must be tagged in both ears within 20 days of birth or before the animal leaves the holding.  Ear tags can fall out and be lost, these must be replaced within 28 days after you notice them missing.

Afbeelding: Sheep housing

Sheep

If it is the intention to keep large numbers of sheep it is advisable to have adequate and safe handling facilities.  This allows the sheep to be easily inspected and treated regularly which is necessary for the well being of sheep.

Tagging
All sheep born after the 1st January 2010 will have to be electronically tagged.  The tag will contain the individual's animal number as well as the flock details.  This is to make the movement of livestock quicker, safer and easier to trace, especially in times of disease outbreak.

Lambing
Lambing can be one of the most stressful periods of the year, but at the same time it is probably the most rewarding.  To see a ewe licking life into a newly born lamb never ceases to provide a thrill, even to the most experienced shepherds.

Pointers to be aware of as you approach the last six weeks before lambing:

  • Feeding rates should be increased to take into account the rapid developing foetuses
  • Clean lambing pens should be prepared, with plenty of clean straw to provide a warm welcome to the new arrivals
  • The "medicine chest" should be checked and stocked with all the necessary items.  If unsure what is needed ask your vet for advice.
  • A "warming box" should be prepared for reviving weak, new born lambs. For those lucky enough to have an Aga - this can double up as a warming box on cold winter's nights to revive a chilled lamb!
  • Make sure you have a supply of powdered colostrum to ensure that all lambs receive an adequate supply in the first couple of hours.  This is available at most Agricultural Stores.  A supply of Ewes Milk Replacer such as Ewbol Easimix may be worth having in stock to feed to orphan lambs.

Shearing

The ewes and rams should be shorn in the late spring when the fear of frost has gone.  This should be carried out by experienced shearers to avoid the skin being nicked or cut.

Shearing greatly reduces the risk of fly strike in the warm weather, which can be a significant cause of sheep mortality throughout the summer months.

Afbeelding: goat housing

Goats

If you provide your goats with the basic requirements of fresh air, dry housing, clean land, roughage, concentrates, fresh water and plenty of fuss and affection, they should pretty much take care of themselves.

There some requirements that you will need to undertake such as vaccinating, worming and foot trimming.