News & Advice

How Prepared are you for a Hot & Dry Summer?

Dec 12, 2018 | Lifestyle Farmers

When keeping animals, whether as pets or for production purposes, there are five non-negotiable rules that need to be followed at all times, in order to ensure animal welfare is upheld.

1. Freedom from hunger or thirst

Animals should always have access to fresh drinking water and have an adequate diet on offer in order to maintain full health and vigour.

2. Freedom from discomfort

Animals should be provided with an appropriate environment, including shelter and a comfortable resting area.

3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease

Diseases and health conditions should be prevented whenever possible, or rapid diagnosis and treatment of conditions should occur so that the animal experiences as little discomfort as possible if suffering from a health condition.

4. Freedom to express (most) normal behaviour

Animals should be provided sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.
Q. Why did the Bull start a fight with his buddy?
A. There was real beef between them!
Just remember where Bulls on your property “to express (most) normal behaviour” is extremely dangerous more so around mating time as Bulls weigh in at 1.1 Ton machines.

5. Freedom from fear and distress

Animal conditions and treatment towards animals should avoid mental suffering. Animals should be handled with care and respect at all times.

With taking all the above into consideration, preparation for the worst-case scenario on a small block is essential planning.
Today we are just touching on the First Freedom, “Freedom from hunger or thirst “. So to help with planning we have got some estimates of what you may need on a lifestyle block.

You may need to offer your stock more than pasture in order to balance the diet, particularly during times of pasture deficit (when the grass is not growing).

Other options may include but are not limited to;

Hay: this can be made on-farm and stored for when it’s needed, or purchased in.

Silage: this is essentially pickled grass and making silage is a great way of preserving grass in times of surplus and transferring it into times of pasture deficit.

Grain: (barley, wheat, maize, oats) this can be purchased individually bagged or as a pre-mix

Compound feed: pelleted feed is a good species-specific option that is easily accessible and convenient.

Something to ponder is one livestock unit requires approximately 520 kg good-quality pasture per year. One livestock unit is equivalent to an average ewe rearing a single lamb. Fully grown beef steers or heifers are 6 livestock units while horses are 10!

Now how much clean potable drinking water is required for your stock?

As a guide to how much stored water you may need per day, per animal;
Poultry: 100 – 250mls
Sheep: 3 to 12 litres
Goat: 4 to 10 litres
Alpaca: 2 to 12 litres
Deer: 6 to 12 litres
Pig: 10 to 35 litres
Horse: 18 to 45 litres
Beef Cow: 30 to 55 litres
Dairy Cow: 30 to 75 litres

*The higher numbers represent the amount of water recommended for lactating animals or hot dry summer conditions

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