Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Many people think that it is easy to start a livestock farming. Have money, build animal sheds and purchase animals, then everything will be fine.


Money, no matter how much it is, will not guarantee anyone a successful livestock farm.

Even when the vision and mission is clear, livestock farming should be properly planned and implemented.

Animals are living things. They need food, enough of it and of quality to produce whatever they are expected to, be it meat, milk, wool or even feces!

The most important thing is nothing else, but food for the animals. Animals such as cattle, sheep and goats (referred as ruminants) need greed feed in the form of quality grasses and forages.

The firs thing, I mean it is, the first thing that any would-be livestock farmer should do is to ensure that he has enough green feed for the animals.

He has two choices, either to plant the grass and forages or to have another party plant them.

Only when adequate and continous supply of feed is guaranteed, he then should think of building animal shed and purchase the livestocks! Never in reverse!

Remember, the total amount of green feed a ruminant needs is about 10% of its body weight. This means a 200 kg cattle will require 20 kg of wet grass per day!

Then we have to think about the energy, the protein, and the minerals in the feed.

Also, we have to understand the feeding behaviour of the animal...a sheep is a natural does that to obtain its food - graze; a goat is a natural chooses and picks the very best of feed available, if he has the freedom to do so.

But when man intervenes as in commercial livestock farming, man tends to do things in his perspectives. He never thinks like the animals. As a result, most often, ruminants live on pellets and concentrates instead of greens!

Grasses and fodder crops have to be planted well. They do not grow just like that. They need time and caring. They need water, fertilizer, etc
Only then they will be able to be harvested at 4- week intervals. This is to ensure that the animals get high quality grasses and not only fibres!

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