Basic Livestock Care

Basic livestock care:

Animal Husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with the breeding of livestock that are raised for meat, fiber, milk, eggs, or other product.

It’s crucial that as a livestock carer you understand the basic needs of caring for your animals before stocking your farm with livestock.

Good husbandry, hygiene and proper nutrition are all essential to farm animal health. 

At a basic level, you should ensure that your small farm animals have:

  • Clean water in sufficient quantities daily (dairy cows for example need up to 150 litres each a day!)
  • Sufficient food and possibly supplements to meet nutritional requirements
  • Clean, disease free living conditions including paddocks and shelters
  • Essential grooming including hoof care and shearing
  • Room to exercise safely, including fencing to keep them from harm
  • Companions for herd animals such as alpacas and goats
  • Regular interaction from you/other carers so the animals are conditioned to be around people
  • Health oversight including regular drenching for worms

Health care

It’s important that farmers keep an eye out on the state of their animals and be on the look out for warning signs such as:-

  • Weight loss/loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased or affected milk supply in dairy animals
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Unusual movement such as limping, difficulty standing or changes in stance
  • Swelling of body parts
  • Nasal or eye discharge

Learning animal healthcare skills is important if you are planning to keep any animals at all even though this does not in anyway negate the importance of a vet doctor.

First Aid

You must be prepared to administer basic emergency care for your animals, in cases when you can’t get in touch with your vet immediately.

The most important tool for treating animal injuries or wounds is a well-stocked first aid kit.

Put together a basic first aid kit with all the essentials including:

  • Absorbent cotton, bandages and gauze dressing pads
  • Adhesive tape
  • Antiseptic scrub
  • latex gloves
  • rectal thermometer
  • Oral syringe (for dosing medications by mouth)
  • Sterile saline solution (for rinsing wounds and removing debris from eyes)
  • Tweezers

Contact livestock247 for advice on local diseases and parasites that may affect your animals and monitor them for any signs of illness.


If you are not experienced at keeping livestock, it’s important that you learn about Animal Husbandry or contact us by sending an email to

The top ways to gain experience are:

  • Learn more tips about animal husbandry by reading posts and articles on our blog.
  • Talk and/or gaining experience with other local farmers
  • Book a session with our veterinary doctors.

If you made it to the end of this article, don’t forget to check out our other post on “Factors that Influence Intake and Digestibility in Cattle” here.