Constructing a house for your animals is one of the first steps of setting up a farm. Many farmers put emphasis on purchasing good animal breeds and nutritious feeds. Quality housing food animals, however, is also among the most important factors to consider when starting a farm.
For animals to perform well, they need to be housed in a good environment that fosters good production. This article focuses on the 5 essential features that every farmer should put in place when constructing a livestock house.
Important Features of Livestock House
When selecting a location for a livestock house, you should ensure that it is easily accessible by road. Different people will need to access your farm. These include consultants, buyers, and other farmers. More so, you will also need to be able to transport feed and other inputs easily to your farm.
Good accessibility, however, does not mean that you should locate your farm next to roads. Most animals prefer quiet places. Too much noise may cause stress in animals, consequently lowering production.
Choose a secure location for your livestock house. The animals need to be protected from all kinds of intruders. Theft of livestock is a common problem that many farmers face in some regions in Africa. Avoid setting up livestock farms in areas that are known for livestock theft.
It is also common for wildlife to invade farms and kill livestock. You should therefore avoid setting up farms in close proximity to game parks and game reserves. While some of these locations may have suitable conditions for rearing livestock, the security threat they pose to your farm may not be worth it in the end.
To secure your farm, put in place strong fences to prevent intruders from accessing your farm. Other security measures include hiring guards at night, having surveillance cameras, and keeping guard dogs on the farm.
It is not rare to find farmers overcrowding animals in small houses in order to get as much as possible out of small spaces. This strategy is counterproductive. Animals require good spacious housing to perform well. Every animal has space requirements that should be adhered to when constructing and stocking livestock houses.
Overcrowding a livestock house promotes the spread of different animal diseases. It also promotes vices in the herd or flock. Such vices include cannibalism and general aggressiveness exhibited to other animals or handlers.
Good spacing facilitates ample rest for farm animals. It ensures that animals are not stressed due to congestion. You should find out the space requirements of animals at different ages and health conditions when constructing and partitioning livestock houses. Mature animals require more space than young ones. Lactating animals also take up a lot of space as they may be housed together with their offspring before weaning.
Animals require houses that are well aerated. Good air circulation helps to get rid of bad smells and odors in the house. Animal waste emits gases that may be dangerous to the well-being of animals. Poultry droppings, for instance, have high levels of ammonia gas, which in high levels, is toxic to chicks and other young birds. Good aeration in addition to daily cleaning may help to ease such a problem.
Animals in a livestock house with good air circulation are likely to experience stress if other factors like good hygiene, diet, and proper animal population per house, are put in place.
Aeration is achieved by having ventilation that allows free air circulation. However, the ventilation should not be too large as it may cause the house to be too cold. This too can predispose the animals to diseases.
Drainage is particularly important in cattle, pigs, sheep, and goat houses. The urine of these animals, in addition to other spillages, should not be left stagnant on the floor of the house. In houses with good drainage, these spillages easily flow out of the house because of the slanted floor which carries spillages to the soak pit. Houses with poor drainage may predispose livestock to diseases and parasites. Animals in such houses do not get good rest as they are unable to get rest if the floors are wet.
Drainage is not restricted to the flooring alone. Watering points for animals should also have good drainage. Watering troughs should be easy to drain dirty used water and replenish with clean fresh water.
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