Looking after cattle on your farm has never been more demanding than ever before, due to new regulations for the safety of consumers who buy the dairy produce or meat, and owing to tighter margins requiring most farms to operate skeleton staffing.
The specifics of raising or looking after cattle depend to some extend on the breed and their purpose, and your local farmers association will probably have a library of the latest journals and farming textbooks you can browse.
Generally cattle need at least an acre to an acre and a half each of good grazing, without which expensive feed will need to be bought. Cattle need good strong fences to pen them in, the average cow could easily push over a flimsy fence, but you may also prefer to have electric fencing within pastures to rotate the grazing.
Cattle require a clean source of drinking water, the average cow will easily drink several gallons per day, and today’s regulations stipulate that water and food must be available to cattle throughout the day, it is not sufficient to bring them into shelter before they feed.
In the winter months cattle need plenty of hay, but all thru the year they will need supplements to keep them healthy and prevent disease. Typically the supplements will be made of salts and minerals.
During parasite season cattle need to be sprayed and drenched on a regular basis, this acts as a repellent for insects, and an anti-parasitic and failure to do this could cause cattle to become ill. Cattle that are ill may not be sold at market, and in the case of dairy cattle, their milk will be wasted.
Cattle are gentle creatures that are easily scared, and due to having eyes on the side of their heads they also have panoramic vision, allowing them to see and anticipate more than we credit them with, unfortunately this also makes them quite nervous, so it is essential to treat cattle calmly and humanely to avoid frightening them.