More of this
Less of this
And more of this
• When it comes to farming there is
preventative maintenance & reactive
maintenance, both are management choices
• Information comes in various forms: research,
reality, internet, perceptions, and hearsay
• Each of us must decide what works best for
JUST A LITTLE BIT GROWS INTO ISSUES
• Animals become sick from initial exposure to small
quantities of bacteria, viruses, or parasites
• Animals can not communicate feelings
• Missed indicators or lack of attention leads to
• Animals health is compromised, problems and expenses
Backyard biosecurity means doing everything you can to
protect your animals from diseases
What kind of resources are needed?
Will this be a full-time or part-time endeavor?
Do I expect this to be profitable or hobby?
Recognize hybrid vigor makes for hardy animals
Raising healthy livestock on small acreages can
become a family project
Develop a better understanding of issues and
develop plans to insure healthy, productive
BEFORE YOU BUY THE FIRST ANIMAL
How much space do I have?
What are my financial constraints?
What type of animals interest me?
What do I know about production of ____?
Where can I find more information?
Which veterinarian will I work with?
How will I dispose of manure & dead animals?
How close are my neighbors, will they object,
and do they have animals?
• What is my exit plan?
• One animal unit per
• Rabbits – 1.5’x1.5’x2’
• Chickens - 1.5’x1.5’x2’
• Goats & Sheep
– Housing – 3’x6’
– Grazing – 3-4/acre
– Housing – shade
– Grazing – 1 per 2 acres
PURPOSE & BREEDS: Goats & Sheep
• Meat, dairy, fiber, or maintenance?
– Meat – Boer, Kiko, Savannah, Spanish & etc.
• Small – Pygmy, Brush
– Dairy – Alpine, Sannen, La Mancha, & etc.
• Small - Nigerian Dwarf, Pygmy
– Fiber – Angora & etc.
– Meat – Katahdin, Dorper, St. Croix, & etc.
– Dairy – East Friesian, Lacaune, and etc.
– Fiber – Merino, Corriedale, and etc.
• Small - Cheviots, Babydoll, and etc.
PURPOSES & BREEDS: Rabbits & Poultry
– Meat – New Zealand, Californian, Harlequin & etc.
– Fiber – Angora and etc.
– Smaller – Dutch, Rex, English Spot & etc.
– Egg layers – Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rock,
Cuckoo Maran, and etc.
– Smaller – Silkies, Polish Top Hats, and etc.
ANIMAL FRIENDLY URBAN SPACES
• Minimize noise stress
– Animals are like people, they can tolerate some
noise stress, but not continuous and/or loud
• Maintain clean living quarters and grounds
– They need clean living and grazing environments
to maintain a healthy living status
• Provide relevant/adequate nutrition
– They need adequate nutrition to maintain good
body condition and a healthy immune system
Nutrient needs for animals includes: water, protein, fat,
minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and etc.
Example of protein ranges:
• Goats – 10-16%
• Sheep – 8-14%
• Cattle – 8-14%
• Poultry –15-18%
• Rabbits – 12-17%
Never underestimate the importance of water, fat, and
minerals (copper & selenium)
• Failure to develop a working relationship with
• Inadequate nutrition - failure to meet nutrient
needs & provide minerals
• Internal (gastrointestinal)& external parasites stomach worms, coccidian, lice or mites
• Respiratory distress - dust or vapors from
excessive build-up of urine and wet manure
SPECIFIC HEALTH ISSUES
Young are most vulnerable
• Goats & Sheep
– stomach worms, coccidiosis, lice. pinkeye & sore
– coccidiosis, sore hocks, pinkeye, enteritis
– Stomach worms, coccidiosis, cannibalism,
• Ideal animal welfare
• Learn what works for
others, keep up with
• If it sounds too good to
be true it probably is
• There are no magic pills
• Sunshine – Lots of sunshine, with access to shade
• Fresh air – Lots of fresh air with shelter from
• Lime – Spread lime (powder) as needed in loafing
areas & where urine and manure accumulate
• ACV - Maintain small percentage of apple cider
vinegar in water vessels
• Sanitation - Clean feeders and water vessels as
• Never assume anything
• Develop a working relationship with a vet
• Learn about varying nutrient requirements of
• Learn about benefits of minerals
• Learn relevant signs of unhealthy animals
• Learn how to do fecal-egg counts and
• Develop a health management program,
monitor, and adjust as needed
• Preventative strategies tend to be less
expensive in the long-run
• Cull animals with continuous health problems
• Nutrition, minerals, sanitation, and biosecurity
are essential to animal health
• Vaccinate for appropriate disease concerns
• Treat specific illness/disease, not shotgun
• Ask yourself, is it necessary and is it working?
• Find vet that is knowledgeable, or willing to
learn and work with you
• Do not allow excessive accumulation of
manure, urine, or moisture; use gravel as
base where appropriate
• Clean out barn, cages, living quarters as
• Spread lime between and after cleanings
• Rotate grazing areas and housing (small
animals) where possible/appropriate
• Set aside a separate area that can
accommodate new or sick animals
• Isolate new or sick animals (ASAP), 30 days
• Minimize outside vehicle, animal, and human
traffic on your farm
• Have a set of shoes for farm visits and another
set for your farm, offer/use shoe covers
• Wash clothes in between farm visits
• Set up shoe baths where appropriate
FOOD SAFETY & ANIMAL WELFARE
More than likely your animals or their
byproducts are destined to be a food product
Follow guidelines' regarding medicinal
withdrawal times on meat, dairy, and poultry
Learn, implement, and validate best
management strategies and practices
Keep health & reproduction records
Treat animals humanely and learn
• Restrict access to your livestock enclosure/areas or housing
• New animals should be kept separate from your herd/flock for
at least 30 days prior to putting them with the rest of your
• Keep a pair of farm shoes and outerwear on hand that you
wear only around your farm.
• Install a foot bath step pan with disinfectant and a hand
washing station at the entrance to every area.
• Inspect your animals for signs of parasites and take appropriate
• Tools such as feed scoops, shovels, rakes, and brooms must be
cleaned with soap and water, then disinfected before and after
you use them.
• Dead animals should be quickly and properly disposed by
burial, composting or incineration.
The Merck Veterinary Manual
Outreach and association meetings
Books and magazines
Alabama Cooperative Extension System
Rabbits & Small Ruminants
• There a lots of websites out there with
quality information, and some with
• Don’t be afraid to make
mistakes, learn from
• It is cheaper to learn
from other’s mistakes
• By practicing backyard
biosecurity, you can
animals and enjoy a
quality of life
• Robert Spencer
• Alabama Cooperative
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