The raising of livestock is a business investment which numerous people take advantage of. One of the primary animals raised in this venture are cows, which are raised for a variety of reasons including meat, leather, fertilizer, milk, butter, other dairy products, as well as for farm draft animals.
There are several basic steps that are necessary for the raising and maintenance of cattle. The first aspect is shelter. Cows, although they require fields in which to graze during the day and in good weather, also need dependable shelter from the cold, the wind, and the other elements. Cows also require shade during the day to keep cool. The animal’s living situation should always be kept clean. If the shelter is dirty, it increases the chance that the animal could get sick and potentially die. In addition, there are some diseases which affect cows that can also pass to humans.
As well as having a shelter for the animals, they also require an adequate amount of pasture space. Similar to horses, each cow needs between one to one and half acres of land. A fence, which is typically made of barbed wire or sturdy wood, is also required in order to contain the animals safely.
As with any living creature, diet is critical to the cow’s well being. The food that is given to a cow largely depends on the purpose that the cow is meant to serve. If the cows are being raised for meat, hay and grain can be fed to the cow but grass is sufficient for the majority of the year. However, if the cow is a dairy cow, hay and grain is preferable to food present in the pasture. Water is also, of course, an integral part of the cow’s diet. Many raisers of cows provide the animals with a water tank or buy property with a pond which can provide a constant water supply. It is absolutely critical that the cows have a steady supply of water at all times as cows each consume multiple gallons of water each day. It may also be necessary for the cow’s diet to be supplemented with minerals or vitamins. Depending upon the area, there may be some nutrients which are not present in the pastures.
During the winter, cows require more attention than they do in the warmer months. Hay is necessary at this time both as food as well as a way to keep the animals warm. Each cow can consume up to 15 pounds of hay a day during the winter which adds up very quickly. You also have to ensure that the water does not freeze over and prevent the animals from obtaining their necessary water.
One of the primary health issues with cows is the infestation of parasites. Worms are very hazardous to the animals as they consume the nutrients that are meant for the cow. Anti-parasite medications should be administered to the cow and the drug should be changed every now and then to prevent the cow from becoming immune to any particular medication.
Another important part of cow maintenance is, of course, milking. In order to prevent malnourishment, cows should not be milked everyday as this can drain them of necessary nutrients. Instead, they should be milked every two or three days.
When a cow becomes pregnant, they are typically able to handle their pregnancy without human intervention until they are about to give birth. Although there are rarely complications, cows sometimes need assistance in the delivery of their calves, particularly aid in pulling the calf out. After the calf is born, it is often a good idea to provide the calf with all of its essential shots. In addition, it is important to ensure that the calf is obtaining enough milk from its mother because occasionally, both the calf and the mother need help in getting the nursing process started.