Is Agriculture Farming?
When people hear the word ‘agriculture’, they tend to think of acres of corn, wheat, soy or some other crop. Yes, while agriculture may mainly focus on crops and vegetation, it is actually a broader term. It incorporates growing crops and raising animals to provide food and materials to people. Farming, which involves cultivating the land and raising livestock, is one part of agriculture.
It’s the farming aspect that we will be looking into today and seeing what goes into operating a farm and some tips on improving it.
There is a minimum amount of care that you should give to your farm animals.
- Provide clean water daily.
- Provide sufficient food. (each animal may require a different diet).
- Keep their living areas clean.
- Provide proper grooming if necessary.
- Provide adequate exercise, or room enough for the animal to roam.
It sounds like a lot of work, and rightly so. By law, animals are afforded to be treated humanely, so it is your responsibility to take care of them to the best of your ability. Not every farm has the space available to house large animals like cows or horses, so that can make things a bit easier.
Most farms locally raise goats, sheep, ducks and chickens. These animals are fairly easy to take care of. When it comes to feeding them they are all basically herbivores, meaning they are sustained by plants. Sheep and goats mainly eat grass, but you can improve their diet by including grains such as oats, rice and barley. You can also add in some vitamins and minerals but mixing in feed pellets into the everyday meal. Of course constantly having to buy extra food can be a steep on your pockets, so some farmers actually get into making their own pellets. They use a special machine designed to make pellets from just about any sort of organic food.
In fact, a lot of farmers use the leftovers from their crops as feed for the animals; nothing is left to waste. I’m going to include a link below to help you out on sourcing a pellet maker if you’re interested.
Ducks and chickens are quite similar to goats in that they can eat the same type of foods, albeit with less grass. They eat grains like corn, wheat, rice and barley. They also eat small insects and lizards, if you believe it, you don’t have to go out and buy the bugs though, just let them roam and they will find the little buggers themselves.
Aside from food you’re going to have to look after your animals’ health. Just like us, they are susceptible to illnesses and infections. You are going to have to keep a close eye on them and become familiar with their motions to notice if anything is wrong with them. On a daily, you will want to check animals like sheep or goats for cuts and scratches, unusual lumps or abrasions. They aren’t going to come and tell you. (you’re not Dr. Do-little). In such instances where one or some of your animals get sick you are going to have to have medicine on hand to help them. Each type of animal is different of course, so you’ll need to learn the best way to take care of them. If you aren’t capable of doing this, then you should have the number of a vet on hand.
Hosing for your animals are another thing too. No, not your own home. They’re going to have to need adequate shelter from the elements and other dangers. In the region where I live we only have two main seasons. It doesn’t snow, but still, the nights can be cold. A shed or barn could be used to house them, somewhere with enough ventilation for light and air, but covered so as to keep out the rain. Sheep and goats aren’t large, and are also herd animals, so it isn’t necessary to have individual stalls for them. Although you may want to keep such spaces on hand to house the few that may be sick or pregnant and require extra care and attention.
Chicken and ducks require even smaller habitation. At the same time, because of their size, they tend to fall prey to other animals. Dogs, snakes and rats would not hesitate to make a meal out of a chicken. So a proper enclosure is needed, one with small enough mesh wiring to keep out those pests.
There is a great deal more that takes place on a farm when it comes to animals and agriculture. In another post I will be going into more details on certain animals and their care. Until then, do your research and see what you might be interested in and what you can handle.