July on the smallholding

Livestock husbandry and keeping vigilant

By July, those who run any kind of breeding programme on their smallholding will probably be at their maximum numbers. We certainly are.

In the winter we had a total of 23 4-legged animals and just under 40 of the 2-legged variety. We now have 49 and 80 respectively so we have to be extra vigilant.

Once the actual birthing/ hatching is done and dusted, it can be easy to get complacent, especially if all has gone well and losses have been low. There are however all sorts of hazards and dangers lurking in the shadows and some actively seek out the younger animals. So, in no particular order, these are some of our July ‘keeping vigilant’ tips.

Top Tips

☑Keep on top of your faecal egg counts, get that poo tested regularly and worm accordingly – DON’T give your animals a wormer ‘in case’ they have worms: it is wasteful and will encourage resistance.

☑Check water containers at least twice a day, in really hot weather even animals that are still suckling will drink from the water troughs plus, if the troughs get contaminated with poo, some stock will go thirsty rather than carry on drinking from them.

☑Keep an eye on all those creepy crawlies, you may want to use preventative measures to keep them at bay such as spot ons and sprays, every so often we pick up a random chicken and make sure they are lice-free, similarly we may have a really good look though the fur of one of our goats.

As part of your twice daily checking look out for poo that is off ‘normal’, animals that may be apart from the others, animals that don’t come up to say hello that normally do so. It is also worth walking through stock and ‘making’ them get up if they are lying down just to check there’s no lameness or wounds.

Don’t miss our ‘Top tips for managing the muck heap’ in the latest issue of farmland. Vist and turn to page 27

Farmland Magazine


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Jack Smellie

Jack Smellie and David Chidgey run a ten-acre smallholding in North Devon. The duo run Smallholding Courses and Family Learning Sessions at their site near Chulmleigh and will be bringing monthly smallholding advice, tips and a diary of life at Relaxed.

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