Requirements For Livestock Management
Apart from crop farming, livestock production is another type of farming activity. Farmers keep different types of animals for the following reasons:
a. To keep animals alive.
b. To make profit from the sale of the animals.
c. To supply food needs like meat, egg and milk.
d. To produce raw materials for clothing and leather industries.
e. To provide means of transporting farmers and their products.
For a successful livestock production, certain things are generally needed. These things include:
One of the basic requirements of any livestock production is good housing. Although certain animals could be allowed to move about freely, the fact still remains that they must be under some form of protection.
Animals Are Kept In Houses For The Following Reasons:
i. To protect them from rain, sun and wind.
ii. To protect them from predators and thieves.
iii. To provide a good environment for taking care of them.
Predators are animals that naturally eat others.
Types Of Animal Farm
The type of animal houses provided, depends on the animals to be reared and what they produce.
The following are different types of animal houses;
1. Cage: A cage can be provided for the rearing of chickens. The cage could be made of wood, bamboo or wire mesh.
2. Brooder: A brooder is used to rear young chickens. It could be made of wood, aluminium, or cardboard. Usually, it has space for water and feeds. Electric bulbs are also installed to give light and warmth to the chickens.
3. Hutch: Hutch is used for rearing rabbits and guinea pigs. It is made of zinc, wire and woods. The rabbit hutch is usually a bit different from guinea’s pig’s hutch.
4. Pen/Sheds: Pen or shed is an enclosed area used for rearing of animals especially cattle and sheep.
Requirements For A Good Animal House:
Considering the reasons for the need to house the farm animals, A good animal house should;
a. Give protection against rain, heat and wind.
b. Give protection against pests and parasites.
c. Provide adequate space for animals activities.
d. Allows for easy removal of dung and animal waste; and
e. Provide space for feeding and water troughs for the animals.
The food eaten by animals is called feeds or feedstuff. Animal feeds contain some nutrients such as water, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.
You can mix two or more different feeds to get a balanced ration for the animals.
Below are some of the classes of animal feeds and their sources.
i. Feeds that give protein to the animals include groundnut plants, bean seeds, soybean seeds, fish and peas.
ii. Feeds that supply carbohydrates to the animals are maize, guinea corn, water leaf plants and sweet potato tubers.
iii. Feeds that supply fats to animals are cotton plants, palm fruits and fish meal.
iv. Mineral needs of animals are supplied by different types of grasses, cowpea plants, maize plants, water leaf plants and soybean plants.
Preparation Of Livestock Feeds:
The following processes are taken in the preparation of livestock feeds;
i. Grinding and Crushing
The grains are grind so that they can be mix easily with other feeds. Grinding or crushing also makes the preparation of a balanced feedstuff possible. Digestion too becomes easy with the ground or crushed grains. Grinder or mill can be used to grind grains. Mortar and pestle too could be used when mill or grinder are not available.
Grasses and root feeds are usually chopped into smaller pieces before they are fed to young animals. Chopped grasses and roots could be mixed together and left for a while before giving them to the animals. This will make them more palatable and easy to digest.
Feeds are cooked at times in order to make them suitable for animals. At times, when animals are fed with raw feeds, they stool without control. So, it is good to cook certain feeds of animals. For example, potato must be cooked before it is fed to cattle and pigs.
Another general need for livestock production is the selection of good breed of animals. There are different breeds of animals. The difference in the breeds are in the following respective:
i. The colour of the body.
ii. The possession of horns; and
iii. The shape of the body.
For example, the breed of cattle with horns are different from the breed without horns. Also, hens differ in colour, shapes and size of combs.
Individual animals within a group or species that share some characteristics which are not found in other members of the groups are not of the same breed.
Qualities Of A Good Livestock
A good livestock is the one that:
a. Grows fast.
b. Is healthy; and
c. Is not easily attacked by diseases.