If you own livestock, you know the importance of protecting your animals against unwanted predators and disease. While it is impossible to keep your eye on them constantly, there are some things you can do to limit the dangers to your livestock.
Employ your animals’ natural instincts
A herd of cattle will have an instinct to ‘bunch’ if threatened, meaning a predator will find it difficult to target one individual. It’s also worth looking at other animals to help protect livestock, such as dogs, donkeys and llamas. These animals will naturally detect and deter predators, particularly as they have great hearing and vision. Pigs can help deter wild boars as they are a close relative, plus, due to their smell, they can be a deterrent to other animals.
To prevent disease spread, escape and injury, ensure fences and borders are well maintained, strong and tall enough for your largest animals. If you’re wanting to protect your animals from walkers and their dogs, it might be possible to erect fencing along a footpath to separate your livestock, although you’ll need to speak to your local authority. Dog walkers should keep their pets on leads to avoid attacks on livestock but ensure you display signs to remind them of this if they are able to access your land.
If it’s possible, consider housing livestock indoors overnight to further minimise risk.
It’s a good idea to take out farming insurance to offer additional protection for your livestock as well as other aspects of your farm or holding.
Regular vet check-ups
It goes without saying that your livestock will need regular checks to maintain good health and disease prevention. Picking up any problems early will minimise the spread of disease to other animals and enable quick treatment. Ensure that your vet specialises in livestock and is licensed and certified for your needs.
It’s important to be aware of the health of your livestock to avoid disease. This means buying from reputable breeders, keeping animals up to date with vaccinations and quarantining incoming and outgoing livestock. Water and feed troughs should be cleaned regularly, and any farm visitors should be trained on disease prevention.
Following these guidelines will ensure your livestock are kept as safe and healthy as possible and will help limit any risks.