Four Things to Look For When Buying Your Livestock

Purchase of livestock in the market could really be a tedious process due to the environment especially in raining seasons such as this period of the year and more so predispose one to different hazards such as getting scammed by middle cattlemen, buying stolen animals especially when the animals are not traceable, or purchasing unhealthy animals which may look apparently healthy before purchase e.t.c.

For someone who isn’t an animal health professional, there are few things you can look out for in an animal to at least help in distinguishing a healthy animal from a sick one to some certain extent.

You can’t only ascertain the health of an animal by just looking at it to an extent becomes an animal may look apparently healthy but may be found to be diseased after slaughter.

The things to look out for include:

Animal’s general appearance:

Ensure that the animal is alert and aware of its surroundings and inspect the animal while it is standing squarely on all four feet just to be sure it is not lame or has any other body defect.

Check to see if it walks easily and steadily, i.e. if steps are regular; irregular movement suggests pain in its feet or legs.

A healthy animal that is lying down will get up quickly once stimulated too.

Inspect the eyes, ears, muzzle and mouth:

Eyes should be bright and alert, with no discharge at the corners, ears should be upright, move to pick up any sound, and flick rapidly to get rid of flies.

Nose and muzzle of a healthy cow should be clean, with no discharge, and the muzzle moist. The animal should lick its nose frequently, and the

 The Mouth should have not be dribbling of saliva and if possible, check the tongue or lips for any signs of ulcers.


It should be smooth and regular at rest although Activity and hot weather will increase the breathing rate. A cow’s respiratory rate may vary with the ambient temperature and if the cow is stressed, but the adult cow’s respiratory rate should be between 26 and 50 breaths per minute.

Appetite and rumination:

The cow should eat and drink normally if the feed is available. When a herd of healthy cows are at rest, most of them are ruminating. A poor appetite is an obvious sign of ill health.

It is necessary for animals to be stress and injury-free during operations prior to slaughter, so as not to unnecessarily deplete muscle glycogen reserves. It is also important for animals to be well-rested during the 24-hour period before slaughter. This is in order to allow for muscle glycogen to be replaced by the body as much as possible.

However, there are also inspections that should be done after slaughter but that would be best carried out by a certified Veterinary Doctor as diseases such as Tuberculosis and fascioliasis can be detected or show signs on some organs during slaughter.

In conclusion, while the points listed here are to serve as a guide when buying your livestock, the best option is to always buy livestock that is fit for slaughter and traceable.