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Thread: Animal Husbandry and Common Sense

  1. #1

    Animal Husbandry and Common Sense

    I don't get upset very often, but with this down-turn in the economy, I thought people getting back to raising their own livestock would be a good thing. I belong to a Homesteading Forum as well and I just got done answering 3 or 4 questions regarding common sense approaches to raising goats, chickens and calfs.

    I am wondering if we are just out of touch with animal husbandry. One woman wanted to know if it was okay to basically not feed her goats, try to milk them when it was convenient and leave for 4-5 days at a time. I just wanted to scream through the computer "If you don't have time to properly care for animals...DON'T GET THEM."

    I am sorry for the rant here, but it just bugs me that people don't understand simply animal husbandry rules. I like to check on my animals at least once a day. I know some animals like sheep and cattle are pretty self-sufficient this time of year, but still I think its just common sense to check on them. They might be stuck in a fence, or have bottle jaw or some other ailment. I also know that they are basically employees of mine converting green grass into red marbled meat, and that some day I will be eating that meat. Still a well fed, well cared for animal not only is morally right, they also taste better. Just because you are going to eventually slaughter them, does not mean you can't treat them good and care for them properly.

    As I said, I thought people being driven to raise their own food would be a really good thing, but I am beginning to wonder if maybe we as a society have just gotten too lazy to care for them, or lack the time to properly care for them. I know no one on here is like that, but if you run into people like this, try and convince them to carefully consider livestock and their needs (feed and time wise) before bringing them home. I am afraid livestock rescue missions will be over-run in the next year or so.
    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 06-21-2008 at 07:21 PM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hi Travis.

    I believe that all this comes from some sort of romantic vision of what is a farmer's or livestock farmer life.

    Animals eat every day as we do, and they do no take holydays, crops need to be taken care of, the soil prepared, the seeds planted, the plagues controlled and at the end harvested, and they do not take holydays also.

    Having a pet is not breeding livestock, while people are not shy of picking up their dogs dung, if they had to shovel manure for a whole day maybe that romantic vision would get more down to earth, and they wouldn't go asking those questions.
    Best regards,
    Toni

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    web site:http://www.toniciuraneta.com
    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    There was a story of a man who had a horse that pulled a cart the man sold items from. Being a frugal man, he decided to save money on the feed he bought for the horse. So, one day, he cut down the amount of feed just a tiny bit. A few days later, he cut it down some more. This went on, apparently successfully, for several weeks. Then the day came that the man decided the horse did not need feed at all anymore. He went out to hitch up the horse to the cart for the daily rounds. The horse was dead.

  4. #4
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    Dang Frank he just got him were he wasnt eaten nothin.
    Jay

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    There was a story of a man who had a horse that pulled a cart the man sold items from. Being a frugal man, he decided to save money on the feed he bought for the horse. So, one day, he cut down the amount of feed just a tiny bit. A few days later, he cut it down some more. This went on, apparently successfully, for several weeks. Then the day came that the man decided the horse did not need feed at all anymore. He went out to hitch up the horse to the cart for the daily rounds. The horse was dead.
    Wow Frank, apparently that guy did not read "Grass Fed Cattle" Its a book that talks about that very thing. That is, he changed his calving season so that it was in the middle of summer, that way his calfs would be big enough to survive the cold winter, but not so big that they ate a lot. He then would make them forage all winter on the dead, dying grass UNDER the snow, making them eat snow for water intake.

    His theory was, yes they lost weight in the winter, but he saved so much on feed, that by the time the grass started growing again, the cows would eat enough grass to make up for their weight loss in the winter.

    Now it sounded alright, but having cows in the winter without feed in Maine would never work. First off, the neighbors would rat you out and they would take the cows.

    Second we get 4 feet of snow here. Cows could never forage for food 4 feet under snow, much less move through the snow.

    Third, it would take 2 million acres to raise cattle on dead grass in the middle of winter.

    Of course this guy made most of his money selling books (and I was the dope that bought one from him as well so how can I kick on him on that huh?) But I don't think it came from raising cattle for a living. One good old fashioned winter and his theory would be blown out of the water. It was an interesting book otherwise, but you really had to glean the good from the bad.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  6. #6
    Travis,

    I'm going to PM you a story that actually happened to a family member of mine. I wouldn't put it out for public display here. It would violate the rules.

    That said, all to often when these things happen I really think a lot of folks are just ignorant of what it takes to raise animals. There is a distinct difference between being ignorant (unknowledgeable) and stupid (incapable of learning). A lot of folks have this misty eyed dream of farming and really don't realize how much knowledge it takes to be a "dumb farmer". I come from a long line of farmers....they are typically vets(animal doctors), chemists(fertilizers, insecticides), electricians, welders, heavy equipment operators, mechanics, manual laborers....and oh yes....fathers, wives and husbands too. Equal rights came to the farms long before it came to the cities, I suspect. Farm wives fill in and assist and have always done so.

    I really think it ignorance....not knowing any better, most of the time.

    JMHO.
    Ken
    ------



  7. #7
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    Morrison's 'Feeds and Feeding' is the acknowledged 'bible' for those interested in properly raising farm animals.
    Last edited by Frank Fusco; 06-22-2008 at 02:06 PM. Reason: typo

  8. #8
    I used to get the Stockman's Grass Farmer newspaper every month, but I had to stop getting it. The editors and such had good quality articles, but it got to the point where they were buying stories from anyone and everyone and over time the newspaper got to be ˝ good stuff and ˝ unsubstantiated thoughts and ideas from people that had no clue about farming.

    This one article was from a woman that had no clue what she was talking about. She went on for 2 pages about how cows could be used to clean up roadside ditches and other vegetation problems instead of using pesticides.

    Well if she did a bit of research she would have realized cattle would be the last animal to use. They like grass and grass only. Sheep are the browsers that PREFER weeds. They also flock together and can be held into a tight, natural mower configuration, not to mention grazing so low that they will kill the vegetation if left their long enough. (cattle graze at 5-6 inches) A bit more research would have proven that in NH they use sheep to graze under powerlines to kill the vegetation where people do not want herbicides to be used.

    It was just a poorly written article, with endless thoughts from someone who did no research. After reading those articles month after month I just gave up on it. Countryside Small Stock Journal is another periodical you should read sometime Frank. That will make you laugh as well. Same content.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Good story, Travis. Yes, there are a lot of misconceptions about raising farm animals. I really get a kick out of old timers who have been around cattle all their lives but still believe the old, unfounded, tales. One, I know won't cut except when the stars are in the sign of the foot. (whatever that means. astrological thing.) Many others absolutely will not touch a bull on the head for fear it will make him go crazy and stomp you to death. I have rubbed and petted many a bull on the head. Like any other animal, once they get accustomed to being touched they calm down and actually like being petted. Another is that once a cow/bull is halter broke they never forget it and can always be easily led, even years later. Now, that is real....uh...bull deposit. If you break an animal to halter, they need to be led periodically to keep them trained to lead. Been there, done that and been dragged around enough to really know. The animals are OK. Its the folks that are funny critters.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Its the folks that are funny critters.
    Ain't dat da truth!
    ________

    Ron

    "Individual commitment to a group effort--that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work."
    Vince Lombardi

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