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Raising Small Livestock: The Devil’s in the Details

A lot of people would like to raise some sort of livestock – whether it’s chickens or pigs or lambs or whatever – but they are stopped by lack of experience and fear. Actually, raising animals is pretty simple (not necessarily easy – which is a whole different deal):
— Make sure they have the nourishment that works for them.
— Make sure they have protection from predators.
— Make sure they have water. All the water they can drink. There is no such thing as too much water for livestock. Trust me on that one.

Even when the water has been sitting out in a watering trough or water-er all day long and is the temperature of bath water, as long as they have access to it, livestock will drink it. And it will keep them alive. They might not like it; it might have slime on the bottom. But in 100 degree temperatures, it will keep them alive. The younger they are, the closer to birth they are, the more they need water and lots of it. And the greater the chances that if they don’t or if they don’t have access to it, they will not make it. The higher the temperatures go, the faster they will expire without water and access to it.

This past week, the temperatures up in our area were absolutely mind-blowing. High 90s every single day. The first day was a holiday and although we filled all the animals’ waterers full, we also took off to do ‘our own thing’ for the day, forgetting …that sometimes, things happen. The chicks in one of the pens tipped over the waterer. We did not get back until late in the day. You can guess the result, though we were lucky and only lost a dozen. These were not brand new chicks; these birds were 6 weeks old. But it did not matter. No access to water and within a few hours, overheating. For the rest of the week, our son was at home and every day, he went up a couple of times during the day to check on the animals, make sure they had plenty of water. No more losses.

Water – it’s what animals need. All the damn time.

(photo courtesy of oddobjects)

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