Ten Tips to Help You Manage Sheep Predators

There are measures to help ensure sheep predators have a harder time killing your sheep thus encouraging them to seek other sources of food. Utilize a combination of management methods to help prevent coyotes and other sheep predators from taking too big a bite out of your sheep ranching profits.

1. Use a livestock guardian animal. This is another animal who has developed an affinity for sheep and a willingness to defend the group. Livestock guardian dogs are the most common among sheep producers. Other guarding animals include llamas and donkeys.

2. Care for and train your livestock guardian dogs so that they become effective guardians of your flock. A dog that is over at the neighbours, or too rough with the animals is not really being effective. These dogs require some effort on your part to help them learn what the job is.

3. Build good fences and maintain them. Good fencing can be a deterrent to predators. Electric fences, Electra-netting and field fence (page wire) are types of fencing commonly used as sheep fencing.

4. Check the flock at least once a day and vary your routine on occasion to keep predators on their toes. You leave a scent trail and are a visible presence on a regular basis. At the very least checking often will give you an early heads up if predators are moving in.

5. During times of high predator pressure consider bringing the flock closer to home or pen them in a night pen if feasible. If the flock is remote consider spending the nights near the flock during high pressure times or hiring a shepherd to do so.

6. Remove the carcass of any animal that has died. Leaving carcasses on pasture or at the yard attracts unwanted hunters and scavengers to the area. This entices animals to return to your place for more. Once started there, it is a small leap to the live ones nearby.

7. Utilize multi-species grazing. Bonding and grazing sheep with cattle can lead to added protection for the flock. The key to this is bonding the livestock to one another first.

8. Building a flock with strong flocking behavior will serve in developing individual animals who know how to graze as a flock. This flocking behavior offers each individual ewe and lamb the very protection they need to ward off sheep predators.

9. Pay attention to the behavior of the flock. Does the flock act skittish one day? Have they changed from their normal routine? These are signs that they are being bothered and this gives you a heads up to do some observing and scouting to curb the problem before it escalates.

10. Use a combination of the various tips. While no single action will be the be-all-and-end-all answer a combination of solutions can go a long way to ensuring adequate protection from coyotes and other sheep predators.

Methods of Identifying Livestock

Identifying livestock is an integral part of raising animals whether for a hobby or as part of a large farm operation. Having easy to read identification on animals allows producers to keep better records and aids in management. Many laws in regard to animal identification deal with interstate travel and not travel of livestock within the state. The main species benefiting from identification include:

• Poultry and waterfowl species
• Beef cattle
• Dairy cattle
• Swine
• Sheep
• Goats

Poultry and waterfowl are generally identified with a plastic or metal leg or wing band. The band is generally imprinted with an identification number and can be found in metal or plastic. Wing bands are similar though are applied through the cartilage in the wing and have been identified as causing stress for hens in group settings. However wing bands are much easier to read than leg bands. Plastic leg bands are economical and are easily removed. Depending on the style of band, small specialized pliers are used to attach the bands to the poultry.

Metal or plastic ear tags are ideal for cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. Plastic ear tags are one of the more economical and commonly used identification methods. The tags are easily read while working animals and can be simply applied with specialized pliers. Many different options are available such as being printed on more than one side or with specialized numbers. Disadvantages include: ripping out and damaging the animal’s ear, and are easily removed if animal is stolen. Ear tags are best used for market animals or smaller livestock operations.

Electronic devices include: implants, boluses, leg bands, neck tags, and neck collars. These are the most expensive method of livestock identification. Included species that use these methods are: cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. Electronic devices are especially useful in dairy operations where a scanner is used to record each cow’s milk production and feed intake. Boluses can only be used by ruminants such as cattle. One major disadvantage is the need for a special scanner for each of the various types of microchips that are in production.

Ear notching is generally used by swine producers. This identification method is extremely reliable, permanent, and economical. Several numbering methods exist, but all identify the pig by its litter on its right ear, and the individual number on the left ear. The only cost is economical “notchers” which cut a small triangle out of the pigs’ ears. It is best done when the pig is less than three weeks old.

Tattooing is a permanent identification method used on cattle, sheep, goats, and swine. Special tattooing pliers are used and must be appropriate for the species. Tattooing is often used for breeding and show animals. Cost is minimal, but does take a person who experienced livestock tattooing, if not applied correctly the tattoo will not be legible as the animal ages.

Nose printing is often used for show cattle, sheep, and goats. Often messy, but like a human’s fingerprints’ a nose print is unique to each individual animal.

Hot or freeze branding is generally used on beef cattle to identify owners. Many western states have extensive laws on brands. Brands need to be registered and there are strong penalties for attempting to change an animal’s brand. Like tattooing branding is permanent, and requires experience.

When choosing an identification method for your livestock or poultry consider what is economical for your operation, and what works best for your livestock or poultry species.

The Two Profitable Birds You Can Raise As a Livestock Farmer

Being a livestock farmer for a living has gained momentum amongst people that want to make extra money as a livestock farmer. But before you too begin this venture you have to know that there is a lot involved in order for you to get profits from your livestock.

Raising livestock for profits requires you to dedicate a lot of your time to caring and managing your livestock. You also have to be prepared to invest some money in your project. Below are two types of livestock you can raise that don’t require that much investing to raise.

Chickens:

They are lots of reasons one can come up with on why you should raise chickens instead of other livestock. Chicken eggs are great treating and profitable. The meat is eaten by almost everyone all over the world which makes it a product that is always in demand.

These birds have their own personality and uniqueness which make them unique birds. You can keep chickens in your backyard and still live your everyday life, at the same time meet the demands of your chickens. They can help fertilize your garden at the same time keep it clean by eating insects, beetles and worms.

Owning chickens is low maintenance as well. You can feed them once a day and don’t need to bath them or take them for a walk. The only thing required from you is to build a chicken coop, feed them and collect your eggs.

Ducks:

Raising ducks is growing in popularity amongst livestock farmers. A lot of farmers raise ducks not only because they are profitable but because they live longer then chickens. Their houses are cheaper to setup compared to chicken houses and are less prone to common diseases.

When raising ducks the first thing you have to do is build then a house that they can call home. The house can be a simple house built by cogon or bamboo. Some farmers build an artificial pond next to the house for the ducks to swim and enjoy them selves.

The next thing is to feed them. New born ducks should be fed starter mash and when they turn six weeks old you can start feeding them grower mash. Ducks that are older then four months can be given laying ration.

Duck products are high in demand. The eggs are big and taste a lot better then chicken eggs. Their meat is great tasting as well and is mostly served at high quality restaurants and hotels. This means if you produce duck products you can make a lot of money a duck farmer.