A lot of people romanticize the idea of running a farm. They imagine waking up at the crack of dawn, tending to the animals, and then retiring to the house for a home-cooked meal at night. While there’s truth to that image, it’s also important to know what you’re getting into before jumping into farm life. Here’s what you can expect when running a livestock farm:
Being Responsible for Multiple Animals
One of the first things you’ll need to get used to when running a livestock farm is being responsible for many animals. Here are a couple of things you should know about caring for farm animals:
Farm Animal Breeding
Raising healthy and productive animals is essential to the success of the farm. One of the key ways to ensure that animals are healthy and productive is through careful breeding. By selecting animals with desirable traits and breeding them together, you can produce offspring that are more likely to inherit those traits. For example, cattle are often bred for their meat production potential. Farmers might select cows that are especially well-suited for beef production and breed them together to produce calves with superior beef-producing characteristics. For this purpose, the most common cattle breeds in the US include Black Angus, Charolais, and Hereford. These breeds have all been selectively bred over time to produce high-quality beef. So if you want to increase your Charolais herd, you should also get a high-quality Charolais breeder whose traits you want to see in your calves. Through careful breeding, you can make significant progress in improving the health and productivity of your herds.
Raising Farm Animals
Agricultural animals play a vital role in the food system, providing consumers with essential sources of protein and other nutrients. However, raising livestock can be a challenge. Animals must be given proper care and housing, fed a nutritious diet, and protected from disease. When done correctly, livestock production can be humane and sustainable. However, when animal welfare is neglected, it can lead to significant suffering. That’s why as a farmer, you must be prepared to provide proper care for your animals. This includes ensuring adequate shelter, food, water, and space to roam. It also means keeping them free from disease and parasites. In addition, you’ll need to handle them in a way that minimizes stress and prevents injury.
Getting Your Hands Dirty
No matter how much you love animals, there’s no getting around the fact that running a farm is a dirty business. You’ll be covered in mud, manure, and other grime daily. And while it might not be the most glamorous job in the world, someone has to do it. This is because cleanliness is essential to the health of both animals and humans. That’s why you’ll need to ensure that your farm is clean and free of potential health hazards. This includes regularly cleaning the animal pens and ensuring that there is no standing water or other sources of contamination. In addition, you’ll need to be vigilant about preventing the spread of disease. This means isolating sick animals and practicing good hygiene when handling them.
Long Hours of Work
Running a farm is no 9-5 job. You’ll work from sunup to sundown (sometimes even later), seven days a week. This is because you’ll be responsible for all aspects of the farm, from feeding and watering the animals to cleaning their pens and dealing with any health problems that might arise. Sometimes, you also have to pay special attention to individual animals, especially if they are sick or pregnant. Making sure your farm animals are healthy and happy is a full-time job, so be prepared to work long hours. It can be physically and emotionally demanding, but it’s also rewarding to know that you play a vital role in the food system.
Expect There Will Be Good Days…and Bad Days
Even if your entire farming operation is well under control, there are still instances out of your control. For example, you may have a disease outbreak in your herd that requires treatment you weren’t financially prepared for. Or, you may experience severe weather conditions that damage your fences or pastures. However, the key to success is to expect the unexpected and have a plan to deal with it. By being prepared for the unexpected, you can minimize the impact on your operations and ensure that your farm runs smoothly, even on bad days.
If you’re considering running a livestock farm, you must know what to expect. It’s hard work, but it can also be gratifying. So if you’re ready to get your hands dirty and put in some long hours, go for it!