Livestock farming can simply be defines as raising of animals for use or for pleasure. In this article, the discussion of livestock includes both beef and dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, mules, asses, buffalo, and camels; the raising of birds commercially for meat or eggs (i.e., chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, and squabs) is treated separately.
Let us discuss how you can handle the introduction of new animals into your ruminant farm. Adding new ruminants to existing herds poses a certain amount of risk. Make sure to check off the important information prior to purchasing because as a farmer, you have a duty to prevent the spread of disease between animals, from animals to humans, and from humans to animals.
Please note that from whatever source they are coming from, it is not advisable that you introduce new animals directly into your ruminant farm because they could introduce disease to your farm therefore, it is necessary that new animals are quarantined for at least a week before they are added to the animals on your farm and during this period, the new animals are observed for any sign of ill-health and they are also given some disease prevention treatment.
Often times, some ruminant farmers come up with questions like: “I have some female animals but no male yet, is it advisable for me to hire male from another farm to mate the females”?
Well, like I always advice them, hiring male from another farm to mate your female is risky as reproductive diseases do spread faster through this means.
You are not in control of the health management of the farm from which you are getting the male from and so, you cannot guarantee its state of health.
Therefore I would rather advice that even if you have only two animals, let one of them be a male and the other a female. However, if you must use male from another farm for mating especially in cases of cross-breeding, then make sure that you do all possible to ascertain the state of health of the animal in question.
Also in cases like you giving out your male animal to male female animals on another farm, there are two ways to do this. It is either you separate a male for mating female on another farm that is not used for mating on your farm especially if you are involved in cross-breeding.
This will prevent your farm from getting diseases from another farm. However, you should maintain a good health status of your male regularly so that it doesn’t transfer diseases to the farm where it is being used for mating.
On the other hand, using a male that you use on your farm for mating on another farm could be very risky and not advisable because it is an easy way of introducing diseases to your farm from another farm therefore as much as possible, this should be avoided.
Pre- and Post-Purchase Ruminant Animals Tips
1) Pre-purchase Tips
- Vaccination status. Ask for complete vaccination records to make sure the animals you’re potentially integrating into your herd or flock have been properly vaccinated.
- Herd or flock health status. Ask about the farm history of disease. Various species are susceptible to various diseases, and to protect your investment it is essential you are aware of any issues.
- Deworming/anti-parasitic programs. Check fecal egg counts and get a history of past deworming practices. Animas should also be checked for signs of lice, mange, ringworm and wards.
2) Post-purchase Tips
You have done your due diligence prior to purchase! Now, in order to protect your existing animal population at your farm, it is important to quarantine, or separate, your new animals to ensure their health.
- Quarantine new animals for a minimum of three weeks before introducing them to your entire heard or flock.
- Use separate housing, if possible, and separate feed and feeding areas and water sources.
- Provide booster vaccinations if necessary.
- Minimize stress as much as possible by providing clean, dry and comfortable housing with adequate ventilation.
- Always tend to newly added animals last. This will help prevent human cross-contamination.
Once you have completed the quarantine period and none of the animals have exhibited any signs or symptoms of illness or disease, it is safe to integrate them into the rest of the herd.