Get MOOving With Animal Welfare On Your Farm

If you want any chance at starting a successful farm, you’re going to need to consider this as a business from your first day on the job. Given that most of us start farming in our very own gardens, that isn’t always easy. But, as with any business, you need to think about the money you put in compared with the profits you stand to get out. And, you need to cut startup costs where you can so that you turn a profit sooner rather than later.

But, even while attempting to cut costs, you need to think long and hard about animal welfare. With veganism seeing a 600% rise in the U.S. alone over recent years, it seems consumers care more than ever about how animals are raised. Even those who haven’t jumped on the vegan bandwagon are often unwilling to put money into ethically questionable farms. And, even those who have gone to the vegan side are sometimes willing to buy meat from farms with animal welfare on their minds.

On top of which, countless studies have proven that happier animals are more productive. Milk cows, for instance, are known to produce better milk when they’re happy. You might think you’re cutting costs with tiny living quarters, but profits lost through lessened milk production would soon undo that.

With those two points in mind, it’s clear animal welfare should be a top priority. But, how can you tackle the issue? Read on to find out!

Consider those living conditions

We’ve all seen horrendous images of animals confined to cages so small that they can’t move. As well as doing the rounds on the internet, these pictures are at the forefront of veganism campaigns. We’re sure you’ll agree that the idea of keeping animals that way is awful. From the off, then, you should aim to provide adequately spaced  living quarters. If you can, avoid individual pens and focus on barn spaces with open stools instead. If caging is necessary, make certain your animals have space to turn, and even walk either side. If it came out that you were practicing unethical caging methods, you’d be done for before you knew it.

As well as worrying about space, you also need to consider issues such as lighting. If your animals are inside for extended periods, ensure that they aren’t in complete darkness. If there isn’t much natural light, install artificial lighting, though make sure you turn it off at night time. Horror stories of chickens in continual daylight are another major no-go. Lastly, you should always make sure bedding is clean. This means changing it in the morning, and again at night if your animals are inside all day. As well as looking and smelling awful, unchanged bedding can lead to skin conditions and health complaints you won’t want to deal with.


Provide the chance to get outside

Some farms do opt for continual indoor living, and during the colder months, you may have to do the same. But, wherever possible, get your animals out in the field during daylight hours. As well as ensuring they get nutrients from sun and grass, this can keep your flocks, herds, and customers happy. This may also lessen your workload if you do it right. By turning cows out into the field first thing, you’ll be able to change their bedding once and rest easy it won’t need doing again. You can also save on your electricity bill, here. After all, those artificial lights won’t be necessary if your animals are out in the sunshine.

Give your animals the nutrients they need

As well as being essential for wellbeing, proper nutrition is crucial for getting the best from your animals. Failure here can cause all sorts of issues, from trouble with milk production to bone density. So, make sure you take some time to consider nutrition.To get started here, you’ll want to look out for an animal feed with as much nutritional content as possible. Given alongside a balanced diet, feeds like these can provide an added level of assurance that your animals are getting what they need. Aside from that, you should also provide access to fresh grass, or hay if animals spend a lot of time indoors. And, of course, access to water should be constant. It’s also your responsibility to ensure there are plenty of stocked feeding stations available. That way, no animal will have to fight their way to the nutrition they deserve.

Provide protection from injury

It’s also crucial to note it’s down to you to protect your animals from injury. Again, this applies to both welfare and finance. You should do regular checks to ensure no animals are injured or suffering. You should also do everything possible to uphold the best safety standards you can. That means things like checking for loose and sharp fencing should become a regular part of your day. It’s also essential you do a walk around of your fields before letting animals loose. That way, you can spot and remove any stray shards of glass or litter which pose a risk. And, while the barn is empty, you should also do walk around in there. Either that or keep an eye on things while you’re cleaning. Something like a loose wire or a sharp nail sticking out of wood needs addressing before your animals return. Failure to take care of these aspects could lead to hefty veterinary bills and a lot of lost faith from your customers.

Conclusion

Cutting costs isn’t always the best option, and never is that more relevant than when it comes to your animal’s welfare. Even if you have to raise the prices of your products to keep up here, many people are willing to pay the price for ethical practices. And, that would allow you to get ahead here without spending a penny extra. On top of which, you’ll then be able to sleep easy at night knowing your animals are as happy as can be.

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