Livestock farming is one of the most sustainable means of food production in Nigeria. Can you guess why? It’s simple.
People love to eat and use meat to prepare various dishes, hence, its demand would continually increase which explains why it is a source of livelihood for many farmers.
Despite its high rate of profitability, starting or maintaining a livestock farm can be quite challenging which explains why only a few people venture into it and actually succeed.
This is mostly due to the fear of the inherent risk involved. Cases such as illness, the death of animals, cost of feeding and maintenance, amongst others can be quite common if the farms are not handled properly. This, however, does not diminish the fact that it is highly profitable in Africa.
The aim of this post is to suggest the best livestock farming practices to adopt that would not only help to save animals but the cost of visiting the veterinarian as often as possible.
Let’s take a look at some of these sustainable livestock practices:
1. Find your Why and What
Above every methods or farm practices, you are about to read below, the first thing to pay attention to is why you want to go into livestock farming and what area of livestock farming you want to invest in. You may want to put the high rate of demand and purchasing power, capital, cost of maintenance, environment and other factors into consideration while doing this.
Some of the common livestock farming business in Nigeria to invest in are:
- Poultry Farming
- Cattle Rearing
- Fish Farming
- Goat Farming
- Rabbit Farming
- Snail Farming
Ensure you conduct proper market research and a feasibility study based on your level of experience and access to relevant knowledge and tools before making a choice.
2. Observe, Take and Evaluate Vital Signs
This point can never be overemphasized. Animals require close observation from time to time just like humans too. Get to know your livestock properly so you can easily tell when there are changes in attitude, behavioral patterns, feeding habits, movement, body condition, etc. When any abnormalities are noticed, immediate actions should be taken by the farmer and the animal should be taken to see a veterinarian.
Often times, the caretakers or herdsmen of this livestock just give them their daily meals or take a peek into their homes without spending quality time to observe each individual animal. This explains why sick animals are only found at critical points before they are given medical attention.
Every farmer needs to know the kind of livestock they wish to invest in, read about them and the possible illnesses and diseases that are associated with them.
3. Handle Animals With Care
Every animal deserves to be loved and cared for. Another reason why knowing the kind of animal and their behavioral pattern is needed. Animals handle stress differently and when undue pressure is meted on them, it could lead to a change in attitude and reduce the effectiveness of healthcare. When tending to animals, try to reduce the number of unknown persons handling them and ensure that the few that do are competent. Animals are more receptive to familiar faces. Avoid jerking movements and loud voices when moving around the farm.
4. Always Keep A First Aid Box Close:
Every home is recommended to have a First-Aid Kit and the same is applicable to livestock farmers. Simply put, First-Aid is the first treatment given to an injured or sick animal. It could save you a vet call if done properly.
Some of the tools that make up a proper first aid box include:
- Small Digital Rectal Thermometer
- Cotton roll
- Veterinary lubricant
- Disposable Syringes and needles
- Non-stick pads
- Sterile gloves
- Epsom salts
- Cotton Swabs
- Bandage Scissors
- Sterile saline solution
- Antibiotic ointment
- Penicillin (ask your vet for the right dosage)
- Clean towels
The list is quite endless but this should be good enough for a start. Sometimes, however, natural remedies can be applied for first aid treatment such as Honey which can be used to treat wounds and Goat Milk to feed mammals (goats, rabbits, lambs, etc) without parents. Before administering any of this, please seek professional advice from a veterinary doctor.
Other livestock farm practices include:
This is the removal of the testicles from male animals. It is done mostly at birth using a blade or elastic ring. It is done to curb unnecessary breeding and makes them easier to handle when they become sexually mature.
This is simply the process of removing horns from cattle or goats. Livestock without horns are less likely to be injured, hurt and are easier to manage. Kindly ensure it is done early enough to reduce the level of pain they are likely to feel when this is done.
This is basically done for poultry farming. Here, the beaks are partially trimmed to avoid cases of feather pulling, cannibalism, injuries or bruises that might occur from these animals pecking at each other out of frustration or anger. This process has to be done when they are one week or 8-10 weeks old. However, it could lead to a drastic loss of weight if not done properly. It is also known as beak trimming. You can also read up other strategies for raising healthy poultry here.
This is a farming technique done for easy identification of livestock by their farmers. It is done by either by tattooing, ear tagging, ear notching, amongst others. It helps for record keeping, and with identification when any of the livestock goes missing.
Do note that these are general farm practices and does not imply or indicate the exact processes used in Farmcrowdy. Please consult your veterinary doctor and/or experienced livestock farmers for professional guidance.