Keeping animals, no matter what kind, can be extremely rewarding, depending on what you hope to get out of it. When it comes to keeping stock animals, sheep, cows, horses etc. of course you are probably looking at getting a regular return investment whether it is selling horse riding lessons, milk, wool or meat. However it is essential that you make sure the animals are well looked after, otherwise what is the point of getting them in the first place?
First of all, you want to make sure that you have enough space, inside and outdoors, for keeping stock animals. There is no point in buying large animals if you’ve nowhere to exercise or even keep them. Larger animals will need more grazing space and space to run around and lie down in, otherwise they’ll get depressed and lead short, sad lives. Once you have your space, either a large stable or an open field, you’re off to a good start.
Now we’ll take a look at some of the things you can do to make sure your animals are safe when outdoors.
Plenty of Shade and Water
You’ve got your open space, now you need to make sure it contains everything your animals need to stay happy, cool and well fed. While not so crucial during the winter, in the summertime you will need to have shaded areas so that your animals can keep out of the sun and cool down. An open barn or a copse of overhanging trees works nicely and it is also a good idea to keep cool clear water in the shaded area as well.
For both cows and horses, having clean hay and straw for them to chew on is not necessary, but it is a nice bonus. If you think of your stock animals almost as pets, you want them to have a good life, right? Think of the clean hay and straw as a sort of treat and one that they are certainly welcome to.
Choosing the Right Fencing
Keeping your animals properly fenced in will help prevent breakouts, runaways, and attacks from wild animals (we do get them in the UK!). There are a number of different fencing solutions for protecting stock animals, so it is really up to what you prefer when it comes to choosing the best one.
Post and Rail – Fairly simple, sparse fencing that does the job. It is strong and sturdy and can take a beating without falling down.
Wire Stock – Although slightly less sturdy than post and rail fencing, this sort of fencing is more for display than anything else. The wires act as a deterrent for both animals and potential trespassers and do a good job of stopping anything from coming near.
Electric Fence – Another alternative to post and rail fencing which does a good job of keeping animals in and trespassers out. However you may need to install a warning sign if your property is near any nature walks, just to avoid any potential lawsuits.
Bolts and Hinges for Stable and Paddock Gates
Fencing does no good if you have a faulty gate that can easily let the animals out! Investing in a good, sturdy gate with strong, reinforced and galvanised hinges is extremely worthwhile. There are also a wide range of different bolts and hasps that you can buy that are specifically designed to keep stock animals in. Make sure to do your research before purchasing a bolt or hasp online or in a store.
Whether you have 5 animals or 50 animals, their safety is of paramount importance, particularly if they provide some source of income for your home. By taking into account their own strengths and weaknesses and making sure your animals are always safe, happy and healthy, you put less stress on both your animals and your keepers. If your animals are happy and always have access to food and clean water, they are less likely to cause trouble or charge and that means less sleepless nights for you!
Even though stock animals are not considered to be the same thing as ‘pets’ or other animals, they still love and hurt and need to be looked after properly, so taking steps to ensure your animal safety goes a long way in making sure they are well looked after. Happy animals are more likely to be healthy animals, so keeping them safe is in your best interests. Plus, you certainly don’t want your animals to be wandering off and causing accidents on roads or at neighbouring properties, so bear that in mind! If you do your research and make sure that everything is secure, you can create a good environment for your stock animals to live in.
Article provided by Chariot Fencing, a professional fencing contractor based in Gloucestershire – supplying and installing all types of garden fencing, stock fencing and commercial fencing for more than 10 years.