As a ruminant farmer, am sure you will like to have an idea of the space you will need to embark on ruminant farming. Well, the space of land that will be needed depends on all that you want to construct on the farm land.
For instance, If you want to construct only their housing without paddock, the space you will need will be minimal compared with when you want paddock, housing unit, resting shed etc. so, to get the ideal size of the land you will need, I will advise that you invite an expert, tell him/her all you want on the farm, the number of animals you want to start with, your expansion plan and your initial capital. All these will guide him/her in recommending the space needed for you.
There is also nothing wrong in you raising small number of ruminants at your backyard because small number of ruminants hardly constitute nuisance to the environment if they are not allowed to roam. So, raising any ruminants in small number at your backyard may not be a problem.
However, immediately they start increasing in number, you should look for a more suitable land and relocate them there. Most ruminant attract flies and so, raising them in your backyard may soon make your neighbors raise an eyebrow.
Ruminant production has been an essential part of human activities worldwide since ancient times.
The expected increase in world population and per capita income, with an increase in theamount and prevalence of animal products in human diet, urbanisation, with a concentration of population in urban areas and an increase in losses in the supply chain, and the growing con-cern over the environmental impact of animal farming require a long-term global strategy for amore intensive and sustainable ruminant production.
Therefore, solutions to increase the supplyof high-quality products of ruminant origin, without harming human health, animal welfare, and environment, should consider the following interconnected issues discussed in this review:
(a) effects of meat, milk and dairy products consumption on human health, focussing on theimbalance caused by their insufficient consumption, and the alleged increased incidence of cer-tain diseases due to their consumption;
(b) importance of the sustainable intensification ofruminant production systems (e.g. better feed conversion and higher production output per unitof input introduced into the farming system);
(c) environmental impact of ruminant production;
(d) improvement of animal performance by improving animal welfare;
(e) adaptation ofruminants to climate change;
(f) sustainable ruminant feeding (e.g. precision feeding techniques,optimisation of grazing systems, and use of unconventional feeds);
(g) challenges posed by pro-duction intensification to animal breeding and conservation of animal biodiversity; and
(h) strat-egies to increase ruminant production in developing countries, thus achieving food security invast areas of the planet affected by fast growth of human population.
Most farm animals need some kind of shelter to escape the elements. Most people think winter is the most important time to provide shelter but an animal’s natural coat can allow them to tolerate much colder temperatures than people can.
Summer heat can by far, be harder on animals than winter if shade is not available to them either by trees or structures if they are out on pasture, or lack of ventilation in a barn or building. Many livestock animals like pigs and rabbits, do not sweat, so heat stroke can quickly set in.
A simple, three-sided shelter with an open front will meet the needs of many farm animals on pasture and is often the building of choice to raise healthy livestock.
When designing a three-sided animal shelter, make sure the open side faces south, away from prevailing winds. Locate the structure on an elevated, well-drained site and keep winter access in mind for feeding and water handling.
Factors to Consider when planning Adequate Livestock Production (Ruminant Farming)
There are several factors to consider when planning adequate livestock shelter in cold weather:
• Air quality: Animal shelters should be open, providing natural ventilation, or enclosed, using fans and proper air inlets around the ceiling perimeter to provide good air circulation.
Tight buildings result in a buildup of respiration gases, and animal odors, which can irritate the animal’s lungs and cause pneumonia. Dangerous ammonia levels1can also build up and lead to suffocation death of animals and their caretakers.
• Drafts: Animals can stand cold temperatures, but you should protect them from drafts. Constructing panels in front of an open building can reduce drafts.
Consider drafts at animal height, not person height. When animals are allowed to run loose in a pen instead of being hitched, they will search for the most comfortable spots as needed.
• Dry bedding area: Animals will be far more comfortable in the cold if they have clean, dry bedding. A thick, dry bed provides insulation from the cold ground and decreases the amount of energy the animal has to expend to keep warm. Shelter from the snow and rain allows an animal’s coat to remain dry, which provides maximum insulating value.
• Fresh water2: All animals need water to survive. Under cold conditions, provide fresh water often or use freeze-proof watering devices. Animals will drink more when water is 50°F.
• Adequate food: Animals can endure severe cold temperatures if they eat enough food (energy) to maintain their energy reserves (body fat). Animals need energy for growth and maintenance. Extra energy is expended to keep warm.
Therefore, they will require additional amounts of good quality feed during cold weather. For herbivores, free choice hay in hay racks should be supplied in addition to a purchased feed.
Read Also: How to Prevent Flies on a Ruminant Farm
Here are some amazing ruminant animal books to guide you: