Livestock production: How to prepare your animals for breeding

The introduction of controlled grazing (camps and rotational grazing) and breeding (mating season) has resulted in a significant improvement in commercial livestock production. To livestock producers, a high calving or lambing percentage over a restricted period is still the most important parameter of production performance. And the most important factor…

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Livestock production: Listeriosis in animals

Question: There have been recent media reports about deaths from Listeriosis in people in South Africa. Does the disease also occur in animals? Listeriosis does occur in animals and is caused by a bacterium [germ] called Listeria monocytogenes. Three syndromes occur, and these are meningitis and encephalitis, abortions or still-births, and…

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Goat production: Keeping your flock well-watered

Question: How much water should I give my goats, and how often should they drink? What kind of water is suitable for them? Many variables affect water intake, such as the amount of moisture in the grazing, the temperature, how far and fast the animals walk, pregnancy, milk production, wool…

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Charles' Boer goat stud has produced various champions at the Grootfontein show.

Small stock production: Taking care of your rams

Farmers have to keep rams in top condition to ensure good reproductive performance and profitability in a small stock herd. Rams have a very important role in sheep production. But, although they are the most expensive animals on the farm, they sometimes don’t receive the correct attention until they are…

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Small stock production: Record keeping – update your flock admin

Animal admin is part of farm management and keeping flock records up to date helps the stockfarmer with forward planning. Draw up a month by month table that you break down into weekly segments. Animals don’t always fit neatly into rigid parameters so there should be some flexibility allowed. Once…

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Small stock production: Vaccinate sheep and goats by following this programme

Vaccine programmes differ from area to area and even from farm to farm, depending on temperature, rainfall, season, local disease outbreaks, farm specific resistance and resilience and of course - management. There is no one-size-fits-all schedule. It’s up to you to make sure that your particular programme caters for your…

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How this farmer improved a small stock feeder to make it automatic

Everything on Dirk du Plessis’ farm near Koppies in the Free State province of South Africa is focused on saving labour – one of the plans he has made is to build a feeder that can be automatically refilled. There are no frills in the workshop on the farm Verdeeld,…

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A corrugated-iron roof over the supply pipe prevents the creep feeder from getting wet, and a divider below the sheet and above the pipe prevents the sheep from climbing over the pipes and damaging the structure and contaminating the grain with manure.

Small stock production: Dips to control sheep scab and goat mange

In a previous article we looked at the symptoms of sheep scab and mange on goats. In this article we look at solutions, medication and dips. When working with chemicals, use your common sense. Always treat chemicals with care. Follow the mix and dosage instructions on the label or the…

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U-shaped kraal for rapid small stock management

Roughly half as many workers are required to manage goats or sheep with this ingenious U-shaped handling facility or kraal, with an alley, crush, and various sorting pens. In addition, most of the kraal was built from scrap. Every minute counts at the flourishing mixed farming Orange River enterprise run…

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Small stock production: Managing ewes in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy

The last 6 weeks of a ewe's pregnancy is the time when farmers should pay extra attention to nutrition so that they get a good crop of healthy lambs and improve their margins. During the early part of their (5 month) pregnancy ewes eat roughage, in grass and browse material,…

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Goat production: Act against abortions in your goat flocks

Question: I vaccinated and dosed my goats with Multivax, Fluxacur and Ivermex. The mothers look healthy and have not been short of food but now they are giving birth to very weak kids or dead kids, most of them twins. What could be the problem? The Multivax would have given…

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Mobile cattle and sheep handling facility a winner for any livestock farmer

If large parts of your farm are inaccessible and you practice ultra-high stock-density grazing, then you’d better have plenty of good ideas – just ask livestock farmer André Lund! The Karoo ultra-high stock-density grazing experiment on André Lund’s farm Elandsfontein near Beaufort West in the Western Cape province of South…

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Small stock production: Manage small stock feed flow for best production

Supplements in sheep and goat diets help to boost low quality roughage in available grazing, correct nutrient deficiencies and improve flock production. Weigh up the options, look at your available forage and make a sound decision that benefits your flock and consequently your pocket. There is demand, as we have…

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Build your own problem-free water troughs

This farmer in die Karoo-desert in South Africa has developed reliable, low-maintenance water troughs from recycled materials for his sheep. He’s also devised a way to prevent livestock from damaging the float valve. Coping with extremely high daytime temperatures is a reality for both people and animals living in the…

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Pork production: Transmission of diseases between pigs and other animal stock

Question: Do pigs get diseases that can be transmitted to other livestock, such as sheep and goats? The majority of pig diseases affect only pigs, and can’t be transmitted to other livestock. Even with diseases that occur in many species – sarcoptic mange or colibacillosis (E coli) for instance –…

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Inbreeding in cattle: What are the pros and cons associated with mating a bull to its mother and sisters?

Dr. Danie Odendaal, veterinarian, says living organisms survive and produce offspring because they carry many different genes. These genes make it possible for them to adapt to the conditions in which they must survive and reproduce. Genes determine and direct the function of every cell in an animal’s body. The…

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Diversity is what you should aim for to improve production and profit in a herd.

Pork production: Dr. Mary-Louise answers your questions on starting with pigs

I have started pig farming with five six-month-old females and a nine-month-old boar. I don’t know very much about pigs and would like to find out about pig breeding. I’ve read that females should be eight months old and of a decent weight before breeding and that the boar should…

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Feeding and drinking trough solutions

Always on the lookout for ways to limit expenses, to simplify labour and to run his friend's farm profitably, Gawie Stoltz has perfected a method of turning old tyres inside out and repurposing them as feeding troughs. He also devised a smart way to clean livestock drinking troughs. A feeding…

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Gawie Stoltz has perfected a method of turning old tyres inside out and repurposing them as feeding troughs.

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