Raising Beef Cattle For Dummies
Raising livestock is a very profitable business venture to get into when you are a farmer. A number of livestock farmers raise cattle for beef and milk production since these products are in high demand in markets worldwide.
Beef is one of the most consumed meat and the price of quality beef is on the raise thus giving the opportunity for beef farmers to make some great profits. Anyone can raise cattle for beef but there are certain things a farmer has to know in order to manage well, healthy, quality beef cattle.
How To Select Healthy Beef Cattle.
When starting out in raising healthy beef cattle the first step is to choose the right herd cattle and transporting them to your farm as smooth as possible. You should follow these guidelines below when starting out in your livestock farm:
- Before you bring your first set of beef cattle you should prepare the facilities for them. Your cattle will require large grazing areas that is well fenced, a strong corral, clean loafing, some pasture and shelter.
- When purchasing your cattle try to only get healthy livestock. To determine if your cattle are healthy their eyes should be bright, alert and free of any discharge. They should breathe regular and smooth, with no coughing. Their body has to be fully rounded and not hollowed out. And should move around freely and walk straight.
- Cattle with swollen legs or joints and mucus coming out of their nose should be avoided at all costs. These are signs of that the livestock is sick and the illness can be passed on to the other cattle, or even worse humans.
- If you will be using your own trailer to transport your cattle you should make it a point that the inside of the trailer is clean so to reduce the chances of the transmission diseases. The floor should not be slippery causing the livestock to slip and fall. To avoid that from happening just spread some soil on the floor.
- Being transported can be a stressful experience for livestock, so when you are off-loading the cattle try to do it in a quiet manner. Be calm and take your time. Some farmers use whooping to direct cattle, this may work but you will find it harder to load them next time, since you just scare the cattle with the whoop.
- After you have off-loaded the cattle, first check them for any injuries which they may have got while being transported. Once you have done this you can take them to their shelter pen. Make it a point that the pen has some quality hay on the floor for the cattle to rest on, and some clean water for them to drink since they will be thirsty from the journey.
- Your new cattle should be separated from the rest as a safety precision to reduce the spread of any diseases. This is a quarantining procedure that will help reduce the spread of diseases through direct contact, air, feed and water, and equipment. This can be done for a period of 21 to 120 days.
Your Beef Cattle Feeding and Watering
Taking care of your livestock’s dietary needs is a great way of keeping your cattle healthy and well. Below are some tips of taking care of their dietary needs:
- When you’ve been feeding your cattle a certain type of feed and you now want to change to another, make that change gradually. Like over a week period. Abruptly switching feedstuffs can harm the useful bacteria in your livestock stomach and can cause a toxic change of the pH level in the bovine’s digestive juice.
- Raising beef cattle a farmer should prepare themselves for big appetite animals. These type of cattle can eat up to three percent of their body weight a single day, only on dry feed.
- To help keep the livestock’s digestive systems working correctly you should provide your cattle with some forage. To do this you should let them graze pasture or give them dried harvested hay.
- To help supplement forages you can use concentrates. Supplements are useful in times of drought when there is less pasture. They help the cattle add the required nutrition’s and put on the needed fats. Good sources of energy of your livestock are oats, barley, grains of corn and wheat. Other supplies of energy and protein include cotton seed meal and soybean.
- To add to your cattle’s diet and help in keeping them healthy is to add minerals and vitamins. This should be given to your livestock as a mixture and serve it to them in a free choice feeder for livestock on pasture.
- During the hot months cattle can drink a lot of water of up to 18 gallons. So make it a point that your livestock have access to a lot of clean water to quench their thirst.
- Only provide your cattle with wholesome feedstuffs since they are healthy, don’t feed them hay that is musty or soiled by animal feces.
Managing Healthy Beef Cattle
As a livestock farmer it’s your duty to provide your livestock with care so to help them fight off diseases and don’t fall sick. Preventing diseases is better than giving them medical care. Below are some guidelines to follow in helping your livestock stay healthy and content.
- Try to reduce the stress your livestock may have by providing them with a stress-free environment. Even animals can get stressed out giving way to diseases. Interact with them so they can get used to you and be happy when you around them.
- Decreased appetite in cattle is a sign of some sickness, so you should monitor your livestock’s feed consumption. Healthy beef cattle have rounded full stomachs and like to eat no matter what.
- You should implement an immunization and vaccination schedule for your livestock and keep up with it. When breeding livestock you may also want to have a reproductive vaccination program. There are a lot of highly effective vaccines on the market which are fairly priced. And when using them be sure to read and follow the guidelines written on the labels.
- Make connections with other farmers in your area to share some ideas on raising healthy cattle. Also develop a good relationship with your local veterinarian to give you well sound advice on raising healthy cattle.
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