Modern Homesteading, Rural Living, Off-Grid, Generators
You have some land and want to learn about raising livestock. Is it for you? There’s much to learn, including the best animals for larger acreage or more compact farms and backyards.
Learn about the benefits of raising animals and choosing the right animals. We have extensive information on why miniature cattle may be perfect for you. Whether you consider goats, cattle, pigs, or other livestock, you must consider:
Shelter – You will need to consider protection from cold or hot weather, rain, and more.
Feeding – How much do they eat and how often to feed them.
Guarding – This includes information on livestock guardian animals and guardian dogs; fencing; and their overall area to live and roam.
Overall health and wellness
Many homesteaders choose to raise animals for milk and meat. They may want them for a more off-the-grid lifestyle or to earn money. Others keep animals as part of a larger survival or prepping plan. Whatever your reasons for considering them, learn what you need so you can make an informed decision.
There are a lot of things to consider when raising rabbits for meat, though.
In this guide, we are going to take a walk through the different steps you will need to take for raising rabbits for meat.
Let’s start with where and move on from there.
Where to Raise Rabbits?
You don’t want to get in trouble with the local officials, so first and foremost you need to make sure that you can raise those rabbits on your property for meat.
You may be able to have that little fluff ball as a pet, but when you are raising it as livestock, there are a whole different set of rules.
So, take the time to investigate where you can raise your rabbits and the rules you must follow to do so.
Here are a few options for where:
Am I allowed to Raising Rabbits for Meat at My Home
As we said above, many places allow you to have a rabbit a pet, but there may be rules about raising animals for food sources.
Make sure you check with your county or city what the rules are for this aspect of rabbit rearing.
Another thing to consider is that though it may be legal for you to raise rabbits on your property for food purposes, the county or city may not permit the butchering and processing.
If you can raise rabbits for meat on your property, then the next thing to take into consideration is which breed you will want to raise and the set-up you will need to do to prep for this new venture.
Community Gardens and Farms For Raising Rabbits
If, however, if you are not able to raise the rabbits legally on your property, but still want to try your hand at rabbit raising, you may want to investigate community gardens or communal farms.
These are an area of land that has been set aside by the city to allow the people of a given neighborhood the ability to grow an urban farm and help build a sustainable communal area.
These areas will not allow for the processing and butchering of the animals which you will have to do at a third-party processor, but you will be able to raise the rabbits to that point.
Now that you have an idea where you can begin your rabbit farm, you will be ready to figure out the set-up.
If you are using a communal garden, there may already be places build so this next section is really for those that can manage a backyard set-up.
What You Need To Raising Rabbits for Meat
There is a bit of prep that you must do before you rush out to get your rabbits.
Setting up their shelter and having the things you need to make them comfortable is the first step in starting your new business.
Here are the things you will need to have for a proper rabbit raising farm.
Rabbit Hutch (male and female)
The first part of the hutch proposition of this set-up is to craft a hutch plan.
Many counties or city ordinances will require you to file a copy for approval.
This is to ensure it meets all the standards set by the city itself regarding small livestock enclosures.
The rabbit hutch is the small wooden house where your rabbits will end up spending a lot of time.
Like a chicken coop but smaller and easily moved from place to place.
There are pre-made hutches available, or you can DIY one.
To determine the right hutch set up for your rabbit farm, you will want to consider how many rabbits you are looking to raise.
The bigger the herd, the bigger the hutches.
That’s right each sex will need their own hutch (after all you don’t want them breeding when you aren’t ready).
Here are some things to consider when deciding on your hutch design:
What to do with Rabbit Waste
You will want to make sure that there are a place and a way for the poop and other waste to be removed easily from the hutch.
If you get a pre-made one, you will find a floor constructed of wire with holes and such to allow for it to escape into a tray below.
If you are building your hutch, make sure to include this in your plan.
Nursing a Rabbit
Once you have bred, you will want a place they can go after giving birth.
The nursing compartment allows for them to take care of their young away from the rest of the herd.
Just like with the waste removal system, both pre-made, and DIY versions should have this as a feature.
If you are in an area that experiences extreme temperature fluctuations, you will want to consider adding extra pieces for better climate control.
Rabbits are tough animals, but extremities of temp can cause health problems.
So, if you are in a hot climate, you may want to consider installing fans to help with the heat.
On the flip side, if you are in a climate that experiences low temps, a heater may be needed.
Rabbit Run (male and female)
You will want to build a place for your rabbits to stretch their legs and have a little hopping time.
That means attaching an enclosed pen to the hitches.
One for each sex as well, so there is no fraternizing unless you want them to.
The size of the run depends on the number of rabbits and the space you have available.
How to Protect Rabbits
Even in the city, other creatures may look at your rabbits as food and try to get to them.
So, make sure you have protection around your open enclosure – this is key.
The last thing you want is to have some other creature enjoying your rabbit before you do.
So, making sure your rabbits are protected from all sides, both ground and sky will help make your farm just a bit safer.
You will want to lay down bedding of some sort in your run so that you can maintain a level of sanitation.
The type of bedding is up to you, but you will defiantly want one that is easy to remove and is good at absorbing the waste from these bunnies.
Inside the hutch itself, bedding is optional. That is if you have a waste removal tray. If you do not, then you will need the same qualities as the bedding for the run in the hutch. Using the same for both areas is fine.
Food/Water & Containers
If you want good quality meat, you will want to take care of your rabbits by making sure they have plenty of clean water and the right food.
Water is important, and your rabbits will need a lot of it.
The bigger the herd, the more water and so making sure that the pens are fitted with a large bottle of good clean water is a must.
You are what you eat, and that means that you are what your food source eats as well.
There are a few options when it comes to feeding for your rabbits.
When you are looking for the containers, you want ones that have a tight latticework frame or even a feeder that has a sifting capability.
This is so the rabbits can’t get into the container itself and contaminate their food with waste.
By getting the right container, you will be able to decrease the risk of illness amongst the herd.
As for the food itself, you will want to utilize a nice balance of hay, fresh veggies, and pellets.
The best hay for your rabbits according to many rabbit farmers is Timothy Hay.
This should be about 80% – 90% of their overall diet.
The rest of that percentage should go to the protein-fiber pellets and fresh veggies like carrots and lettuce.
You will want to stay consistent with your feed as rabbits have very delicate tummies and you do not want to upset them.
Slaughter & Processing Rabbits For Food
If you are planning to do the whole thing, then you will need a place where you can break down the rabbits once slaughtered.
You will want this area to be stocked with the knives and implements required for the process, as well as and tools you may want to use to take the processing further (i.e., sausages).
They should have a nice flat surface, be completely sanitary, and have some sort of refrigeration close at hand.
Now you have your rabbit farm set up it is time to meet your herd.
Choosing the right breed is the next crucial part of the puzzle.
You cannot just pick up any old rabbit for your rabbit farm if you are looking for a good meat source.
Rabbits good for eating tend to be longer, plumper, and have more fur.
Here is a list of the best rabbit choices for your rabbit farm:
These rabbits can top off the scales at close to 12 pounds and are usually pale orange in color.
Palomino’ may well be the best choice for inner-city rabbit farming as they are quiet and quite docile.
The chinchilla rabbit is a super fluffy and plump breed that can be kept as a pet or as livestock.
They can weigh in at up to 12 lbs. when fully grown.
Champagne D’Argent Rabbits
This is one of those breeds that is less common to find amongst rabbit farms.
This breed goes all the way back to the 1600s and is great for its meat and has a stunning black coat as well.
Flemish Giant Rabbits
These are the largest breed that many farmers raise for meat.
These behemoths can top the scales at 20 lbs.
The fur is prized but not more than the meat.
This breed is super docile and can be great for urban areas.
New Zealand Rabbits
These rabbits come in a variety of colors and can get up to 12 lbs. in weight.
When prepared, it does have a pinkish color, and some may think it isn’t cooked, but it is fine.
There are many other rabbit breeds that are out there in the world, but these six are by far the most popular when it comes to raising rabbits for meat.
Any of these will work, but the ultimate decision comes down to how much space you have and how much meat you are looking to produce.
Once you have chosen the breed you want, you may want to do further research to ensure you are raising these animals with just the right care.
Once you have everything set-up and the rabbits chosen, now it is time to think about the next few steps.
The actual business of rabbit farming which has to do with dating, birth, and aftercare of the rabbits.
Each step of this process is important to get a good idea, and so we are going to look at each.
The first step of successful mating is already done.
Making sure to keep the ladies and men separate until you feel the time is right.
There are, of course, other things you can do or need to know about the mating process.
You should always take the doe to the buck’s pad. This will decrease the chance of a flare-up over territory and make her a little more open to the bucks move.
Keep track of each does birthing dates for optimal fertility.
You will know that the deed is done when the male rabbit stiffens and falls of the female. You may think the poor guy has passed on to bunny heaven (what a way to go, right!) but he is fine and will return to normal in a few minutes.
Raising rabbits for meat is a time-consuming feat with many levels of things you need to know.
But one of the most important things to understand is what happens after the breeding.
Birthing cycle of rabbits are:
Rabbits take 30 days to gestate. The new mother will have a few pregnancies before learning how to care for her kits properly. This means that you may lose the first few litters before being successful with breading.
The big day is getting closer when you notice the momma pulling out her underbelly hair and adding it to her hole. This is done by them to ensure there is enough warmth for the kits.
After Birth Care For Rabbits
Once you have successfully mated and kept a litter, you will want to understand the aftercare system and what to expect from the other.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind:
You will not want to be loving all over the kits. This could interrupt the bonding process of the mother and babies and increase the chance of the mother not caring for the kits.
You can lightly check if they are still alive but no heavy petting or removal from the rabbit hole.
You may never see the mother feeding the babies, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t. In nature, it is natural or them to hide their babies and only fed them when no one is looking. In the wild, this is meant to save them from predators.
The mom will relax once the babies have fur and begin to hop on their own.
You may want to build a new hutch so that when the babies are big enough, you can move them to their own space.
Now that you have some idea of the entire process, we want to make sure you are not doing anything that will detract from all your hard work.
So, check out what not to do when raising rabbits for food.
Things to Not Do When Raising Rabbits
There are some distinctive things that you should stay away from doing regarding your rabbit farm.
Here a list of no-nos:
Do not use straw in the rabbit’s hole section in the hutch. Straw can carry mites, and your herd is very susceptible to these little parasites.
Use wood shavings as bedding only in places where newborn kits will not be present. The scent from the shavings is bad for the little one’s breathing system and can be the cause of death if not careful.
You want to make sure to keep the pens and hutches free of flies. So, install fly strips or rub everything down with vinegar. This is so that you can keep the flies from laying eggs in the babies and eating them.
Health Considerations for Rabbits
Rabbits, in general, are very sturdy and easy to take care of animal.
There are a few things regarding health that you need to be knowledgeable about to keep your herd as healthy as possible.
You want to raise healthy rabbits, and one of the things they are most liable to get is ear mites.
This can be combated by making sure that you keep their hutch and pen clean and with just a few preventative measures.
You can use a tincture of olive oil and tea tree oil to fend off the small fiends.
A couple of drops in each ear of each rabbit will help decrease the risk of mites being an issue for your herd.
The other big thing you must do is to clean their pens and hutches weekly.
This is done by removing the rabbits (setting them up in a temp pen) and removing all bedding.
Then you need to scrap any waste off and wash the hutch down with a diluted bleach mixture.
You will want to let the hutch completely dry and air out before replacing the bedding and letting your rabbits back into the structure.
While you do this, making sure that the food and water containers are also waste-free and clean is also a task that should be done.
Pros/Cons of Raising Rabbits For Food
Raising rabbits for meat is not something that is suited for everyone.
So, understanding the pros and cons that are associated with this venture.
Let us start with the pros:
Pros of Raising Rabbits For Food
Commercially processed meat can have things pumped into the meat via the feed they feed their animals.
Then there is the treatment of the animals themselves.
If you are someone who actively opposes overcrowding in pens and unsanitary conditions, then raising your own meat is a better ethical choice for you.
You will also be able to manage what they eat and end up with a cleaner, healthier product.
Everything happens so fast with rabbits.
The doe is always fertile, and the gestation period brief.
They wean quickly and are mature enough to slaughter quickly as well.
With this cycle, you can have plenty of meat year-round for your family plus some.
This means that though you may be intending to keep the meat, you could also have enough to make a little money as well.
Less Food Needed
Rabbits do not take as much food as other livestock you may consider for your backyard farm.
This means you can save money on free and on your groceries.
It is a win-win situation.
They do not require much too feed, nor do they require a special diet either.
They are not picky.
Mostly they eat hay and some pellets with a few fresh veggies.
All of which in the end is cheap.
You can even use fresh vegetables from your garden if you have one, and that saves even more money (and just like the meat itself, allows you to control what chemicals if any, you use on it).
Rabbits are Sturdy
Rabbits can be bred and farmed anywhere, and except for a few extra considerations when it comes to extreme heat or cold, they can pretty much survive anything.
Rabbits are Quiet
Unlike chickens or even pigs, rabbits are quiet.
This makes them great for settings where your neighbors are close to your back yard.
If you make sure to keep up on the cleaning and build a pen and hutch that is safe from their escape and the entrance of predators, there should be no noise and even less fuss.
Cons of Raising Rabbits For Food
Now that you know all the good stuff, it’s time to lay some of the disadvantages on you.
Here are the main drawbacks of foraying into the world of rabbit breeding:
Some animals that you may consider raising for meat in your back yard have extras that come with them.
We are primarily talking about any fowl that you chose.
Each of these will come with the extra gifts of egg production.
Unfortunately, with rabbits, the only by-product that you will be able to take advantage of is one you get only after the animal has met their maker and that is the fur.
Start-up Costs of of Raising Rabbits
The initial start-up cost of this venture is quite an investment.
From the rabbits themselves to the feed, you will be set back a pretty penny.
You will have to shell out cash for a hutch and run too.
All in all, the money saved on groceries may not be worth it unless you are in it for the long haul.
It will take a month or two to negate the cost of starting this new business or hobby.
You will need to spend time making sure that the enclosures you built for the rabbits are cleaned regularly as well as make sure that they stay in tip-top shape.
This will take time away from other areas of your life, and though it is not an all-consuming project, you will need a lot of time, up to several hours a week to maintain the set-up and take care of your herd.
Susceptible to Predators
They are small and easily picked off by anything from birds of prey to snakes.
Knowing the predators that live in your area is essential, and by acting when building your pens, you should be able to negate this problem with little to no issues.
If you are unable to butcher the rabbits yourself due to regulations, then you may have to deal with a third party, and this can mean an extra added cost.
This tacked-on cost could make this venture a little too costly for some, but if you are not raising a big herd, it should be easily managed.
Now that you have a few ideas of what the advantages and disadvantages of are raising rabbits for meat you may be able to more easily decide if this is a good fit for you and your family’s meat needs.
Rabbit Raising FAQs
To help you, we have also taken the time to check out some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to raising rabbits for meat.
Here are just a few:
How Many Rabbit Does & Bucks Do I Need?
A small set-up only needs one buck, and two does to get their farm started.
This is good because a lot of city ordinances only allow for this in their regulations.
What Age Can You Slaughter Rabbits?
There are two ages that work, and this depended on the method of which you plan to cook them.
At about three months old, the rabbit should weigh between one and a half to three and a half pounds and is labeled as a fryer.
This means that this rabbit is great for frying.
If you wait until the rabbit is eight months old or 4-pound, then this is a roaster.
Either age is acceptable or will hear a different texture of meat.
How Much Does a Rabbit Cost?
When you are looking at the cost of breeds, it all depends on the type and age.
Typical good meat rabbits can range from $10 to $50 apiece.
How Much Can You sell Rabbit Meat For?
If you are looking to sell your extra meat and have processed it on-site, you can easily charge $5 – $7 per pound.
If you are dealing with a third-party processor, you may only be able to get $3 – $6 per pound.
Now that some of the biggest questions have been answered we thought we would sum up the steps that you need to take to create your rabbitry.
Steps to Create Your Rabbit Farm
With all that information put together, you should have a pretty solid plan for executing your rabbit farm.
Here is a breakdown of the steps to follow using the information above to help you along:
Determine how big you want your rabbit herd to be
This will play a key role in deciding how big your set-up needs to be.
It will also help you estimate the overall costs of this venture.
Plan out the rabbit facilities
This is when you either choose your pre-made set-up or build your own hutch and run.
Apply for any legal permits you need
You want to make sure that you do everything on the up and up, so getting the proper permission and following the guidelines set by your city or county will help you do just that.
Build your rabbit farm
Now that you have the right permission, you can start the process of building out your farm.
Prep the space
The buildings and runs set up you will want to make sure you have the food and water system set up as well as any bedding laid that you want.
Buy Your Bunnies
Now that your rabbit farm space is set up, you can head down to the local breeders of whatever breed you chose and pick up your herd.
Set up a schedule
Once your herd is settling in, you will want to begin crafting the correct feed schedule for you and your little furry livestock.
Female rabbits are always fertile, so that is why you need to separate pen structures.
Once you are ready for your chores to change, you can begin to let them mingle.
If you decided on having more than one, make you may want to keep track of who your buck is breeding with so that you can keep a close eye on who the male has the best results with.
Once the does are pregnant, you will know exactly when they are getting ready to have the babies as they will start pulling out hair and making a nest with it.
The kits will be born naked and blind and will not be seen really until they are completely weaned from their mother.
You can still check them to make sure they have survived just be cautious.
The babies are easily susceptible to bacteria, so make sure you do everything you can to minimize contact.
Also, do not be worried if you lose a few of the kits.
It is common for does to lose most or their entire first few litters.
Decide on the endgame
You will want to decide who you will be sent to slaughter and what you intend to do with them.
The perfect time to do this is between 3-4 months.
Then all you must do is keep repeating step seven through nine to your heart’s content.
Guide to Raising Rabbits
This is a big venture to undertake in the beginning and may not be well suited for everyone.
Those that do take on the chore of raising rabbits for meat will have to pay close attention to the cost, requirements, and all the other stuff that comes with building a small backyard rabbit farm.
Before diving in, ask yourself if you are ready for the commitment and if all the hoops you must jump through before you can get started are worth it.
These are all questions and considerations that you must answer for yourself.
We just hope that with this comprehensive guide about raising rabbits for meat, you now feel better equipped to make the right decision.
Best Personal Protection Dog – Anything can happen at any time in today’s world, which is why people must be vigilant about their personal safety and the safety of their family.
Whether you’re relaxing at home or out for a walk, a personal protection dog is a great way to keep you out of harm’s way and to give you peace knowing you’re safe.
Don’t mistake these dogs for ones that only guard the front door or the gate.
They are smart, and with proper training, can defend their owners from virtually any threat.
What are the Best Personal Protection Dog Breeds
If you’ve thought about a personal protection dog before, or are intrigued by this article, let’s look at the top 5 dog breeds from which to choose should you decide to take the next step for your safety.
The German Shepherd was originally bred to be a herding dog.
The German Shepherd is easily trained and views protection as its purpose.
While these dogs look fierce, they’re extremely loving and loyal, which makes them the perfect companion animal for people and agencies who need protection.
German Shepherds get along well with children and aren’t afraid to fight to defend their ‘family’ without giving up.
If you’re in the market for a loyal, hard-working protection dog that follows commands and bonds with you and your family, you can’t do much better than a German Shepherd.
The Rottweiler is a stout, muscular dog that has incredible strength for its size.
Like the German Shepherd, this animal is bred for protection, which makes it highly sought after for people and agencies that need its service.
The Rottweiler is both loyal and affectionate but won’t hesitate to defend and protect with everything it has when faced with a threat.
Because of its intelligence and defensive capabilities, agencies like the FBI and police forces often choose the Rottweiler.
Rottweilers, like the German Shepherd, have the advantage of scaring off potential threats because of its intimidating looks.
The Dutch Shepherd is a lean, muscular animal that wards off threats simply due to its intimidating appearance.
This animal, like the others on our list, is highly intelligent and easily trainable to follow commands.
This dog is very loyal to its adoptive family and loving but also won’t hesitate to jump into action to protect them when needed.
The Dutch Shepherd likes to be active and loves to play, which makes it a good dog for a family with kids.
This animal is distinctive because of its long mane, and it’s been bred to offer protection mainly in cold climate areas.
If you live in a warmer climate, however, you can shave them down to keep them cool.
Like the German Shepherd, the Tervuren is also bred to be a herding animal, so protection comes naturally.
The Belgian Tervuren has a high IQ, follows commands, and loves to please their masters.
The last dog on our list, the Belgian Malinois, is a popular breed often chosen by military police, FBI, and police forces.
The Belgian Malinois needs a lot of activity due to its high energy, so make sure you give it plenty of playtime if you choose this breed.
The Belgian Malinois is very affectionate and will fight to the end to protect its family.
Check the horse’s eyes, ears, and mouth for any irregularities.
Check for bumps or scratches over his body.
Slide your hand over his hooves, one at a time, to confirm they are well.
Clean the hooves to remove any foreign matter.
The hoof area is an integral part of the horse’s body since the accumulation of debris here can lead to hoof infection, which can maim a horse.
Brush and clean the main and tail to eliminate dried mud, burrs, and other debris.
Use combs to untangle them to give them a well-groomed look.
Before riding your horse, you should brush him to be sure there isn’t debris where you will place the saddle.
If someone isn’t riding the horse every day, you can skip some of the care procedures.
How to Groom a Horse
There are two main elements to grooming a horse:
Brushing the coat
Cleaning the hooves
There is no right or wrong order to groom your horse.
However, it is a good idea to get into a routine and always do the process the same way, either feet or grooming first, so the horse can anticipate what you are going to do.
Start with your horse secured in cross ties that are attached to the halter.
This ensures that the horse cannot flick one way or the other, plus it frees up both of your hands to work with the grooming.
If you are trying to both groom and hold the horse, you are likely going to find this much more difficult, and there is a greater chance of injury.
With the horse secured, start either on the grooming or on the hooves, whichever you prefer.
Cleaning the hooves
Many owners prefer to start by cleaning the hooves.
Then your horse can relax and enjoy the rest of the routine.
To correctly position yourself, stand next to the horse’s left front shoulder, just to the front of the body.
Run your hand, the hand you don’t normally hold the pick in, down the front of the leg until you reach the hoof.
Most horses that have had their feet cleaned will pick up their foot, but if they don’t, gently press your shoulder and upper body against the outside of the shoulder, which will slightly move the horse off balance.
He or she will shift weight to the other front foot.
When this happens, pick the left foot up, bending the leg as it would naturally bend back toward the center of the horse’s body.
Hold the hoof firmly in your hand.
Use the pick to remove all the debris.
Be very careful not to dig into the frog, which is the soft, triangular-shaped center part of the hoof.
This area can be very sensitive.
Repeat this process with the other hoof until completed.
Be sure to give a treat to the horse after the first hoof and then after you finished the second.
This helps him know he’s doing a great job.
Having a farrier tool kit would be essential as well.
Grooming a horse
When grooming equine, you can either start with the mane or the tail.
If the horse is dirty, muddy or has a winter coat, start with the curry comb and groom the entire body using gentle, circular shaped motions that follow the direction of hair growth.
Work from the neck to the chest, over the shoulders, down the back of the sides and the legs.
Remember, the curry comb is not flexible.
Be sure to be very gentle on the sides and down the legs.
If your horse is flinching and twitching away, switch to the dandy brush over the sensitive areas.
After the curry comb, follow the same pattern with the dandy brush.
This will flick away all the dust and dead hair.
Follow-up with the body brush for a shiny, sleek look.
Then gently use the body brush on the face, but not near the eyes.
You can use a wet soft cloth or sponge to clean around the eyes and inside the nostrils.
Be sure to rinse it out after each use.
Again, being predictable and gentle with your horses will calm them.
Having the proper grooming supplies will help you to groom them faster and more thoroughly.
Just be sure to wear gloves when applying it to your horses.
Take the time to clean your brushes and combs so when you groom your horse the items will be clean.
You need to ensure that your horse’s nose and eyes are clean and healthy and wiping these down with a damp sponge is very important.
By you grooming your horse every day you are not only bonding with them but also helping to check them over.
You can tell if there are any lumps and bumps and maybe if they are showing signs of un-comfort.
If you are concerned, then you should speak to your vet who can check the horse out more thoroughly.
If you spend the time to get to know your horse by horse grooming, then they will respond with kindness and love.
Horses should be groomed daily if at all possible.
If you are riding, it is important to groom both before and after every ride, paying careful attention to the feet.
A well-groomed horse is a healthy horse.
Both you and he will feel better for a good grooming.
Farrier Tools to Care for Your Horse’s Hoofs
If you are a horse owner or enjoy working with horses and grooming your horse, then you may have entertained the idea of learning how to maintain a horse’s hoofs.
It can seem like quite an intimidating task, especially since the health of the hoof is imperative to the overall soundness of the animal.
With the right farrier tools, any task can be accomplished with relative ease.
The first step is collecting a number of suitable supplies that will help you perform basic maintenance tasks.
Experienced farriers have a veritable arsenal of expensive tools and accessories at their disposal.
There is no need for you to develop a similar collection unless you are planning to take on all shoeing and hoof maintenance tasks yourself.
You also might need to expand your collection if you plan to become a professional farrier.
The list we have compiled here is meant to guide you through the process of acquiring the basic tools of the trade.
Each item has been carefully reviewed for its durability, functionality and effectiveness.
Most items on the list are economically priced.
We went this direction with the understanding that these tools would be used by the horse owner who will only be responsible for incidental maintenance or for those who are simply wanting to learn more about being a farrier.
Accordingly, you can pick up all five of these tools without breaking the bank.
What you’ll have in the end is a basic farrier tool kit that will let you take care of routine hoof maintenance.
Horse and Livestock Run In Sheds, Agriculture Storage Sheds
There is a rich glossary of terminology used throughout the farrier world.
Having a firm grasp of these terms can allow the enthusiast to better understand the trade.
Listed below are some of the more common terms found in articles, at professional events, and within the conversations of trainers, farriers, vets, and horse owners.
This list provides just an overview of the vocabulary used to describe the hoof of a horse, and is by no means comprehensive.
Action: The way in which a horse moves during various gaits.
Bar: The section found on the bottom of the hoof and on the sides of the frog where the hoof turns inward.
Boxy Hooves: Slender, vertical hooves with a narrow frog and a heel that is closed. Also known as a clubbed foot.
Brushing Boots: An instrument used to guard a horse’s leg from injuries related to brushing.
Brushing: A situation where the horse’s hoof or shoe collides with the inner part of its opposite leg, typically near the fetlock joint. This is often caused by poor conformation or action.
Bulbs: The two circular bulges at the rear of the hoof.
Cast: A term referring to a horse loosing a shoe, usually by accident; for example, “the horse cast a shoe last week.”
Cannon Bone: A bone found above a horse’s fetlock, in both the fore and hind legs. Also known as the shank bone.
Club Foot: An alternative term for Boxy Hooves.
Coffin Bone: The bone of the horse closest to the ground. It is surrounded by the hoof capsule.
Conformation: The correctness of a horse’s physical structure, including bone and muscular structure, as well as body proportions.
Coronet: The section of the hoof immediately above the hornlike growth; the part where hoof growth takes place.
Cracked Heel: A condition where the hoof is inflamed, with cracked skin and pus discharge.
Deep Going: Ground that is soft and wet, causing the hooves to sink in.
Dropped Sole: The downward movement of the front of the coffin bone within the hoof as a result of laminitis.
Farrier: A craftsman specializing in the care of horse hooves, including trimming an shoeing.
Fetlock: A joint on the leg of a horse found between the canon bone and pastern.
Flat-Footed: A characteristic of a hoof where the angle is significantly less than 45 degrees.
Founder: A condition where the laminae is inflamed; also known as laminitis.
Frog: The fleshy area in the center of the bottom of the hoof.
Heel: The rear portion of the bottom of the hoof.
Hoof Capsule: The outer portion of the hoof.
Hoof Pick: A tool used to remove dirt and other debris from the hoof.
Hoof: The foot of a horse.
Horn: The outer covering of the hoof, which is tough and insensitive.
Hoof Wall: The visible outer portion of the hoof, which is composed of horny material, and grows continuously.
Laminae: The interior lining of the hoof.
Laminitis: A condition where the laminae is inflamed; also known as founder.
Lateral Cartilages: The strips of cartilage attached to the coffin bone inside of the foot.
Navicular Bone: A bone inside of the hoof, small in size, which is found between the short pastern and coffin bone.
Navicular Disease: A disease affecting the navicular bone, where the bone degenerates, causing the animal pain and potentially causing lameness.
Nerve Block: A veterinarian tool used to diagnose the location of a horse’s lameness. The tool accomplishes this task by blocking the nerves of the foot and leg in a progressive manner until the problem are is located.
Neurectomy: A medical procedure where nerves are severed which provided sensation to the foot. This procedure is used to treat navicular disease, and is also known as de-nerving.
Pastern: The section of a horse’s leg above the top of the hoof and below the fetlock.
Pathological: A condition that is disease-based.
Rasp: An instrument used for shaping wood or other materials. A farrier’s rasp is used to remove excess portions of the hoof wall from the bottom of a hoof.
Seedy Toe: A condition where the laminae is separated from the hoof wall, often as a result of neglecting foot care.
Shoe, To: The process of attaching metal shoes to the hooves of a horse. This work is typically done by a farrier.
Sidebone: Hardening of the cartilage on the sides of the coffin bone.
Sole: The area of the bottom of the hoof from the front portion of the white line to the frog.
Thrush: A condition where the frog degenerates; this is usually accompanied by infection and blackening of the afflicted area; this condition often stems from horses being kept in unsanitary housing.
White Line: A structure on the bottom of the hoof that separates the sensitive areas of the hoof from the insensitive areas.
American Farriers Association
The American Farrier Assocation is a national association devoted to the development of farriers and the industry through leadership, resources and education.
Each and every effort made by the organization is based on the five tenets of Education, Certification, Communication, Research and Innovation. http://www.americanfarriers.org/
Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association
The Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association is a non-profit organization aimed at providing horse owners with accurate information on shoeing by professional farriers.
This organization is the largest farrier association in the world by membership count including farriers, horse owners and members of the public interested in the farrier profession.
The Brotherhood of Working Farrier Association also promotes farrier certification and encourages horse owners to seek certified farriers when shoeing. http://www.bwfa.net/
American Association of Professional Farriers
The American Association of Professional Farriers was launched in January 2012 with the intent to promote the integrity of the farrier industry by strengthening the knowledge and skills of its members through continuing education and support at the state, national and international levels while improving overall equine health through collaboration with other industry professionals.
The Farrier Assocation of Washington State is a Washington-based organization devoted to enhancing communication and learning between farriers and to increase overall horse industry communication.
The FAWS also organizes clinics and conventions for all professionals in the horse industry in order to exchange views and thoughts as well as exchange information about their profession.
San Diego County Farriers Association
The San Diego County Farriers Association is a non-profit organization promoting sound and safe practices of the farrier science within the Sand Diego County.
The SDCFA also seeks to provide education and hands-on experience in the field of farriery and horse care. http://www.sdcfa.org/
Rocky Mountain Farrier Association
The Rocky Mountain Farrier Association is a non-profit organization based out of the Rocky Mountain region dedicated to organizing professional farriers and others within horse related professions in sharing and promoting interest in the science of farriery.
The Pennsylvania Professiona Farrier Association is a Pennsylvania based organization devoted to organizing farriers and horse-related professionals and to facilitate education regarding the farrier industry and profession.
The PPFA also seeks to promote the farrier industry within the community and encourage learning about the profession for those interested. http://www.pafarriers.com/
Georgia Professional Farrier’s Association
The Georgia Professional Farrier’s Association is a Georgia-based organization dedicated to educating members and the public alike in shoeing methods and business management.
The Indiana Farrier’s Association is an Indiana-based organization whose purpose it is to promote and encourage quality in the farrier industry as well as sponsoring and promoting educational farriery meetings and activities. http://www.indianafarriers.org/
South Carolina Farrier’s Association
The South Carolina Farrier’s Association is a South Carolina association dedicated to educating all farriers.
The SCFA hosts clinics each month in an effort to continually improve its members.
The SCFA is an official state chapter of the American Farriers Association.
Texas Professional Farriers Association
The Texas Professional Farriers Assocation is a Texas based group whose purpose it is to increase skill level and better business practices for all farriers within the greater Texas area.
The TPFA has also developed a multi-level certification program and host regular clinics and family gatherings. http://www.tpfa.org/
Missouri Farriers’ Association
The Missouri Farriers’ Association is a group of farriers dedicated to continuing the education of practicing farriers within the greater Missouri area.
The MFA is also a registered chapter of the Brotherhood of Working Farriers.
Minnesota Farriers Association
An association devoted to education Minnesota farriers and promoting clinics, meetings and seminars for the purpose of bringing professional farriers together.
The MFA also promotes the sharing of information and skills for the benefit or horses and the industry.
Maryland Farriers Association
The Maryland Farriers Association is a local chapter of the American Farriers Assocation for the greater Maryland Area.
The Guild of Professional Farriers’ sole mission is to improve the farrier profession through continued education, documentation of the science, independent testing and ensuring members continue to improve their trade and art through practice and education.
Farriers of Idaho Guild
The Farriers of Idaho Guild is an Idaho-based group dedicated to the professional development of farriers through leadership and resources for the benefit of the industry and its members.
The FIG is a registered state chapter of the American Farriers Association.
Southern New England Farriers Association
The Southern New England Farriers Association is a chapter of the American Farriers Association.
The goal of SNEFA is to establish high ethical standards, continuously improve farrier skills through education and professional development, and to promote safe and applicable hoof care standards. http://www.snefa.org
Western New York Farrier’s Association
A member chapter of the American Farrier’s Association, the WNYFA is comprised of independent professional farriers working in the areas stretching from Buffalo to Syracuse.
The WNYFA was established in 1981 for the education and training of farriers and to help improve the service to horses and owners
Western Canadian Farrier’s Association
The Western Canadian Farrier’s Association is a non-profit whose main purpose it is to promote excellence in the science of farriery.
The WCFA seeks to inform the public and horse owners of the quality and standard of horse farriers and to better those standards of quality. http://www.wcfa.ca/
Ontario Farrier’s Association
The Ontario Farriers Association is an Ontario-based non-profit organization that speaks for the interests of its members regarding hoof care.
The OFA also seeks to improve the skills of its members and provide standards for quality within the industry.
Brotherhood of Working Farriers Certification
There is no licensing requirements for farriers within the United States and Canada; however, several trade organizations offer voluntary farrier certifications that can give you peace of mind that you are working with a reputable professional.
All certifications include written testing on topics including hoof trimming, horseshoe application and everyday hoof care as well as mastery of hands on forging skills.
The Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association (BWFA) is the oldest non-profit farrier organization in the country.
Certification is offered through their Master Educator Schools and private BWFA Testers across the United States.
BWFA has four certification levels.
BWFA Apprentice II Certification:
Any farrier who completes a six-week class with a reputable school is eligible.
Testing includes a written exam, hands on shoeing test and a forging test during which applicants must create a simple machine-made shoe.
BWFA Journeyman I Certification:
In addition to more difficult written and shoeing exams; applicants must forge several types of hand-made shoes and perform several shoe modifications as instructed.
This certification in open to farriers with at least one year of experience.
BWFA Journeyman II Certification:
Farriers must have at least three years of experience and currently work at least part-time at the trade.
The written test is more technically challenging.
Applicants at this level must also produce a specified corrective shoe and several others.
BWFA Master Farrier Certification:
This highest level of BWFA certification and is reserved for professionals with no less than seven years of experience who are currently working full-time at the trade.
This certification requires both a written and forging test.
In addition, live hand-made shoeing is required for types and breeds of horses chosen by the tester.
American Farrier Association Certification
The American Farriers Association (AFA) is one of the primary certifying organizations in the United States.
For 30 years, the AFA has provided a certification program that entails a blend of standardized testing and hands-on application.
There are four main categories of certification provided by AFA:
AFA Farrier Classification:
An entry level certification that includes both written and practical exams on the basics of the skill.
Certified Farrier (AFA CF):
Certification is open to any farrier with at least one year of experience.
He or she must pass both the written and practical exams as well as prepare and explain a display of horseshoes.
Certified Tradesman Farrier (AFA CTF):
In addition to the above tests, applicants must demonstrate skills at properly fitting a hand-made shoe during a timed test.
This certification is available to professionals with at least two years of experience and have completed AFA CF.
Certified Journeyman Farrier (AFA CJF):
This most technical certification is open to professionals with two years of experience who complete the CF certification and demonstrate ability to forge and fit a corrective shoe within a time limit.
Guild of Professional Farriers Registration
The Guild of Professional Farriers is the third organization to offer a certification process for farriers.
Less developed than the groups mentioned above, the Guild provides “registration” at three levels.
This registration is offered to professional farriers with at least three years of experience.
It requires a written test and shoeing exam, including presentation of a shoe display.
Farriers must have at least four years of experience, currently be working full-time at the trade and have previously passed farrier registration.
In addition to a written and forging exam, the applicant must perform live shoeing.
Full Time Farrier:
This registration does not require examination, but is only open to farriers who can verify that at least 70% of their annual income comes from the trade.
Farrier & Horseshoeing Schools
Meredith Manor Farrier School
Meredith Manor Farrier School will give you both the theoretical knowledge and the practical hands-on experience needed for a successful farrier career.
Our farrier students gain invaluable experience working with and studying our 150 school horses of varying breeds, disciplines, and training levels including upper level dressage horses, reining horses, eventers, and more.
Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School was founded by Bob Smith in 1991.
PCHS makes an effort to educate every student properly and to prepare them for a career in farriers.
The 8-week program includes daily classroom instruction in anatomy, physiology, conformation, and business practices. Students are also given hands-on experience in forging and shoeing on a daily basis. http://www.farrierschool.com/
Five Star Horseshoeing School
The Five Star Horseshoeing School is dedicated to providing a strong education foundation for students who want a career in farriery. FSHS offers three program options.
The 6-week program is an introductory course, the 8-week program teaches students basic shoeing techniques, and the 12-week course is an advanced program that prepares students for a career in equine hoof-care. http://www.futurefarrier.com/Home_Page.php
Wolverine Farrier School
The Wolverine Farrier School offers a comprehensive, 16-week farrier course.
The program includes daily classroom lectures and discussions to insure students continue to learn proper techniques.
An important part of the course is hands-on forge work and shoeing.
Students also learn how to make and repair their own tools.
Montana State University Farrier School
The Montana State University Farrier School prepares students for careers as professional farriers.
The program lasts for eleven weeks.
Upon completion of the program, students will be prepared for the American Farrier Association certification exam.
Here’s a Quick Way to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Fit
Keep Your Dog Healthy and Fit – Pets, especially dogs, are so used to the home life that they too like their owners can carried away by the sedentary lifestyle.
As owners it is very important that you convey a day to day life that is makes both you and your pet healthy and fit.
Although most pet owners would blame their exceptionally busy schedule for not being able to regularly walk and exercise their dog, there are a lot of easy and fun ways that can be done.
When you find yourself too busy or always in a hurry, you can use some of these quick tips to maintain your dog’s health and fitness.
Start With the Grub
You may not realize it at first but the idea of leaving the house with your pet all alone spells guilt for you that you think leaving a lot of food in their bowls would help.
Sad to say being unable to control the amount of food that you give your dog is a big factor that contributes to the unhealthy and unfit daily living.
It may seem too harsh at first but leaving a substantial amount of food for your pet is a good start to make it remember the small amounts for each meal.
Also consider giving your pet small meals a couple of times a day instead of just leaving a large chunk as a single portion.
Heathly Dog Food Exercise ball for your dog Play with your dog
Make Time for Play
No matter how busy you get, ensure that you have time to play with your pet at least once each day.
This will help your pet have a boost in energy instead of just lazily lounging inside your house.
You can stay behind your computer and ask your dog to fetch a toy ball while you type away all your emails or you can even be answering your phone calls while playing catch with a Frisbee.
Remember that your pet can only do these activities with your encouragement, so make sure you guide them accordingly.
Exercise with your dog
Learn and Read
If you are unsure of what activities to offer for your fluffy buddy that will help them get interested, then why not read and learn all about it.
You can look through the library for informative book about pets or even visit sites online.
Applying what you have read and learned may not necessarily be that easy for our pet especially if these are new activities.
When this scenario happens, learn to be patient and try out different strategies to see which ones will work for your pet.
Run With your dog
Be Practical and Creative to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Fit
Work with what you already have at home and take the initial set of bringing your dog’s health and fitness back to optimum level.
Say you have very limited space inside your home then why not teach your pet to maneuver through the small spaces every time you are home.
Or in case you live in an apartment or condo that has a lot of staircases, why not get your dog moving with you to take the flight of stairs back home.
Think up of very simple skills but ensure that your dog is able to do it several times each week for optimal advantage.
Make Time for Play with your dog
Set a Good Example
You may not see it but your dog more often than not will be doing just about anything you will so if you manage to spend the entire day on the couch then trust they will be at your feet the entire day too.
So consider bringing your activity level a little bit higher than your usual too.
Take the time to head out for a quick brisk walk in the morning before you head to work and bring along your pet with you. Running will be very effective as well, but there are common runner injuries to be aware of.
Though your pet may be flying first-class and being wheeled around in a stroller, the reality is that nature will inevitably call.
When this happens, it’s best to be prepared with gear that allows you to take care of the mess quickly and conveniently, so you can get back to enjoying your trip.
It helps to pack a little “Clean Up Kit” to take along on your journey.
This might be one of the less glamorous dog travel accessories, but it’s an important one just the same.
From waste bags and deodorizing wipes to pee pads and household cleaners, arm yourself with the tools to keep your area neat and clean, so you don’t have to worry about a little spill upsetting your trip.
Even after you’ve read your pre-travel guide and fine-tuned your itinerary, you might still face a little uneasiness as you leave the comforts of home for a new place you might not have ever experienced — and that’s totally normal.
Similarly, being away from home and in a new environment might trigger a little anxiety in your dog.
To help him feel at ease, you may consider bringing along a doggie compression shirt.
Akin to swaddling a baby, a compression shirt wraps tightly around your dog to enhance feelings of security and comfort.
One of the most popular types of these dog travel accessories is the Thundershirt.
If you suspect your pet may take a while to warm up to your vacation digs, try one out!
You don’t have to bring the entire medicine cabinet, but don’t forget your dog when packing your first-aid essentials.
In addition to any medications your pet is currently taking, remember to also bring flea prevention, tick removal gear (try these tick keys), wound care supplies, a digital thermometer, and any other supplies you think you’ll need.
Don’t feel like packing everything à la carte?
Pre-packaged pet first-aid kits, like this 46-piece one from First Aid-USA, take care of everything for you, so there’s no guesswork.
Are there any toiletries, such as allergy-relief shampoo, that your dog can’t live without? Don’t forget to throw those in too!
From a pet passport to updated vaccination and medical history information, depending on where you’re traveling to, you could be required to present multiple forms of documentation on your pet.
In addition to ID data, you may also want to bring along the names and phone numbers of local veterinarians.
You never know when you may require their services while you’re away from your trusted care providers.
In addition, it’s helpful to bring along a list of your pet’s prescriptions, and his microchip registration information.
With so many items to track, you can easily misplace important documents.
Keep them handy and organized with a waterproof pouch that’s easy to take with you.
Dog Travel Accessories and More: Your On-the-Go Guide
Whether you’re venturing into a neighboring city or are embarking on a trip around the world, we’d love to help you get there.
We’re experts on everything travel.
We love sharing advice and insights on where to go, what to see, and how to do it all on a budget.
Let’s go on a new adventure together — Fido and all!
First Aid Kit for your Dog or Pet
Traveling with your faithful companion can be a very rewarding experience.
Pets enrich our lives, and they can offer a lot of comfort and joy.
But in today’s times we need to travel as green as possible while still providing for simple necessities.
And one such necessity you should consider when traveling with your pet or camping with your dog ~ hiking with your dog, is a first aid kit just for them.
After all, things do happen that are out of our control.
And we want to keep the safety of our pet in mind.
So, with a little effort, we can easily put together a pet first aid kit that makes traveling safer while being earth friendly in its design.
First Aid Kit for your Pet
When putting together a pet first aid kit, take some time to consider the container itself.
You will want a container that opens easily, since after all you may be occupied with a wounded pet.
Also try to find something that is durable and as close to waterproof as you can.
Finally, make sure that it can hold everything you need without undo force required to close the lid.
And make sure that the kit fits the intended travel – you may have to downsize things if you expect it to fit in your dog’s backpack.
Their small size doesn’t lend itself to numerous medical conditions
There is the condition that some call the “bulldog” gene, technically called chondrodysplasia.
This results in a physical deformity that often leads to the death of the cow, but this is extremely rare.
Also, you can do a blood test to check for this gene when you’re buying your miniature cow.
These smaller size cows only need minor adjustments in regards to their feeding and care
Their hay-feeding equipment and water tanks will just have to be a bit shorter than with full-size cows.
They really make for good pets, as they can be very gentle
Owning one can be like having a gentle and huge dog except she gives you milk.
Animal therapy workers and petting zoo managers love miniature cows.
They’re cute and small and they have friendly dispositions—what’s not to like?
Caring for and tending to backyard animals, including mini cows, can be a great way to involve children. There are many different types of responsibilities they can handle, depending on their age and maturity.
They would be accessible in a food shortage or crisis
There are many books which explain miniature cattle.
Owning a reference book or two will help you as you prepare for raising these particular cows as well as help you when issues arise.
Here let’s take a closer look several breeds of miniature cattle that may suit your small farm or ranch:
Miniature Belted Galloway
The Belties, as the Miniature Belted Galloways are often called, are a very hardy breed.
They originated from the southwestern part of Scotland.
They have a double coat, with the coarse outer coat designed to repel water.
Their under coat is not so much hair as wool, and it’s to insulate the cow against the cold.
Belted Galloways tend to have a solid color but with a white belt around their midriff.
At maturity, their height at the most reaches 42 inches at the hip bone.
Facts about Belties
These Belties are a popular breed for small farms, as they offer several advantages:
They’re considered as the oldest naturally polled beef cattle in the world
This means they are by nature hornless, and that offers several key advantages.
The problem with horned cattle is that you’ll have to expend some effort (or pay for the labor) for de-horning or tipping the horns.
If you don’t, then they’ll pose a danger to you and to their handlers.
Galloways are also a proven commodity in terms of profits
Various tests over a 10-year period show that this breed use up the least amount of feed for every kilogram of weight gain they achieve.
These are the high feed conversion rates that make these Belties profitable every year.
One of the most crucial breed traits of all Galloways is that their beef quality is always excellent.
It’s lean, and yet it’s also well-marbled.
Due to the efficient protection offered by their double coat, their carcasses don’t have that additional layer of fat in the back that’s quite common to other breeds.
You’ll find that they dress out at about 60 to 62 percent of their live weight.
Their excellent hair coat also translates to lower feed costs during the winter
Scientists at Montana State University found that when beef cows have hair coat that is just an inch thicker than average, they will require 20% to 25% less digestible feed intake to maintain their body weight in the cold weather.
With the good double hair coat, they need less feed than usual to maintain their body condition.
Another bonus provided by the double hair coat is that it is able to shed water
Even in very cold weather, the rain hardly penetrates their coat.
These Belties can thrive all year long, and they only need minimal shelter from the summer heat to the winter cold.
Galloways are very docile which means that they’re easy to handle and care for
Miniature Belted Galloway facts
They also exhibit terrific foraging ability, and they’re not picky at all.
In fact, a Danish study found that compared to all the other breeds in the study the Galloway consumer many more different types of flora.
Since they can digest even less digestible types of flora, they can flourish even though the conditions are less than ideal.
They’re also known for their longevity and hardiness, as they are resistant to disease.
They also have high fertility rates, and calving is easy for them.
They also exhibit great mothering abilities for their calves.
Miniature Belted Galloways are easy to raise
These Galloways don’t really need all that much.
They should have access to clean fresh water, and there should be some pasture grass and good-quality hay. T
hat goes for some available mineral or salt block too.
For extreme weather, it may be nice if they have some shelter or shade to keep themselves more comfortable.
They will also need regular parasite control and vaccinations, for potential problems such as leptospirosis.
Over the last decade or so, the numbers of Miniature Belted Galloways have risen significantly, and so has the demand for them for small farms.
They do really well on small family farms.
Like so many miniature cattle breeds, they are completely adorable too.
Modern Dexter miniature cows trace their ancestry to a 1750 herd of sturdy Irish mountain cattle that was assembled by an agent of Lord Hawarden.
His name was Mr. Dexter.
The cows in turn were descended from the small cattle of the Celts of ancient Ireland.
They were already called Dexter mini cows by 1845, and by then they looked pretty much like the Dexter cows of today.
A Dexter registry was established in Ireland in 1887, and in 1911 an American registry was established as well.
But the Dexters in North America were rare.
Today they’re still classified as “rare” in the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List.
By raising Dexter cows, you can help preserve an endangered heritage livestock breed.
Facts about Dexters
Here are a few facts you need to know about Dexters:
Dexters are famed for their longevity and for their generally sweet dispositions
They can live for quite a while, with an average lifespan of about 17 to 18 years.
They have a powerful maternal instinct
Dexters will act as surrogate mothers, and they can look after 4 or more calves at the same time.
They’re well-known for easy calving.
But they often calve until they’re very old, and some have calved at 20 years old.
They can rear about 10 calves during their lifetime.
Mature bull can reach up to about 47 inches in height, and weigh more than 450 kilos
That’s still significantly smaller than your normal-sized cattle.
They are mostly black, although there are times when you may find one with a dun or dark red color.
Dexter cows are horned
The horns of the bulls tend to extend directly to each side.
They then curve forward and upward, and there’s some space between the 2 horns.
Generally, the horns are white in color, but the tips are black.
You should be able to stock more cattle per acre than with normal-sized cows
They’re very good at foraging for their own food.
In fact, they’re well-suited for areas with drought problems.
Dexters live on grass.
When grass is scarce, they can make do with hay.
Some owners tend to give them a bit of grain or a few concentrate pellets during milking time, as a sort of incentive.
Dexter cows also need a lot of water so they can maintain their milk production.
The water should be clean at all times.
If you’re keeping them as milking cows, they’ll just produce less milk when they get less food.
They’re at just ⅔ the size of a standard breed, and their need for food is proportionally less.
Dexters are regarded as dual-purpose cows
You can get them for their milk or for their meat.
This particular breed is justifiably renowned for their milk production.
Though they’re smaller, they can outstrip the milk output of their bigger counterparts.
Their average yield is about 10 liters a day, but they can produce as much as 20 liters of milk daily.
The milk is ideal for making cheese, with an average butterfat level of about 4 to 5 percent, with cream yields of a liter for every 5 liters.
More information about Dexters
These are very hardy animals, and you can keep and milk them outside if you need to.
But they do require shelter from extreme weather such as an open shed or a cowshed.
Dexter facts and tips for raising them
You should reserve your best pasture for your proven milk producers.
You can plant good herbal ley as pasture grass which can be good for worm control.
When you have rich pasture, you’ll have to reduce their grazing time so they don’t get more weight than they ought to.
When they get too big, they can produce less milk, and their size can lead to calving problems.
A standard rule of thumb is to limit their grazing on rich pasture to just 6 hours a day.
After that, you should lead them to their corral and feed them hay.
One minor problem for milking is that their teats can be small, so milking them by hand may pose a challenge.
You may want to invest in an electric milking machine especially when you have several Dexter cows to milk.
You can also raise Dexter cattle for their meat.
A 3-year old steer can reach up to 460 kilos. Because of their excellent foraging ability, their high feed conversion, and excellent meat-to-bone ratio, Dexter steer can reach 180 kilos in 14 months.
When you feed them grass, the meat is delicious: tender, lean, and fine-textured.
With grain feeding, which is not typically recommended because it is unnatural for them, the meat in the prime cuts are finely marbled, and it has a lighter color.
What’s great about Dexters
These really make for good small farm cattle, as they can be converted into good beef or you can continue to enjoy their healthy milk.
And they can also make great pets, although you’ll need to be concerned with the horns, especially around children.
Miniature Zebu Cow
In general, miniature cattle breeds have been bred by man by choosing the smallest cows from a larger breed.
But the Miniature Zebu is a true breed of miniature cattle, which means they’ve developed into a unique species all on their own.
They are among the oldest breed of cattle, and may trace back to as far as 6,000 BC.
Some document records place them in Sri Lanka and southern India by 3,000 BC.
The first zebu was imported into the US during the 1920s.
They were considered novelties in zoological gardens.
They’re becoming a bit more popular as more people learn about them, but they’re still quite rare in North America.
People in the United States call them Brahman cattle as well.
Facts about Zebu Cows also known as Brahman Cows
Zebus are popular because they look so cute that they’re almost like fawns.
People recognize them for their characteristically well-developed humps, which are very prominent on mature bulls.
They may have horns which can be in any shape and size.
Because of their appealing look and friendly disposition, Zebu cows aren’t normally bred for meat production.
They’re mostly for shows, junior rodeo events, and zoological gardens.
Others use them for their breeding farms.
You can raise them as pets, and you can even use them for milk.
A typical zebu cow can produce a gallon of milk a day, and it is very rich in butterfat.
They have sleek coats that are short and dense.
Their colors range from black, spotted, or red, to steel gray or nearly pure white.
In mature bulls, it’s common to see nearly all black in the neck, shoulders, and hump areas.
Zebus are measured at the withers, which is directly behind the hump.
Zebus don’t go past 42 inches in height; most are about 36 to 38 inches tall.
However, some adults may only reach up to 26 inches.
They can range in weight from 200 to 500 pounds.
Miniature Zebu cows carry their babies for 9 months like human mothers.
They calve easily and produce good milk.
They’re very protective of their babies, especially in the first few weeks.
The baby Zebus really look like fawns, and many human owners (and their children) find them adorable.
They’re about 16 to 18 inches tall and weigh about 18 to 22 pounds.
After just a few moments after their birth, they’re able to stand and walk around.
They can be as tame and as friendly as a family dog, especially if they’re bottle-raised.
More facts about Zebu Cows
You can easily halter-train small Zebus, and you can have your children walk them on a leash.
The breed is so docile and small that they’re considered safe for children and for the elderly.
Feeding them isn’t hard, although the food will depend greatly on your geographic location and the season.
They’ll accept hay during the winter months, and for the rest of the year they can live on good quality grass.
For grain, you can use cattle feed or a general purpose sweet feed.
To keep your zebu healthy, you’ll also need fresh water and salt blocks.
They do very well in warm weather, which is why many of the Zebus in the US are in Florida.
But they can also survive farther up north as long as you provide them adequate shelter during the colder months.
With proper care, they can live for as long as 20 to 25 years.
Their origins have made them immune to most tropical diseases.
The price of a registered miniature bull calf in Florida may range from $500 to $2,000.
A heifer calf can cost from $1,500 to 3,000. Full grown bulls and cows that have proven productive will cost more.
They can be very expensive if they have unusual characteristics, such as if they come from high quality bloodlines or if they’re very small.
Jersey is a British island found in the English Channel, just off the French coast.
Because it’s an island, the cattle there were able to develop in relative isolation from other cattle breeds.
It’s one of the oldest dairy breeds, with pure bloodlines tracing back to almost 600 years.
These miniature cattle are famous for their high quality milk production, along with its generally friendly personality and lower maintenance cost due to its miniature status.
While the standard Jerseys today are bigger due to breeding programs, the miniature Jerseys at 3 years of age don’t go over 700 pounds on average and they don’t exceed a height of 42 inches at the hip.
Many are within the 36 to 40-inch range.
These are actually the original traits of the breed, and the standard Jerseys were bred to be larger to boost milk production.
Today, the mini Jersey is a rare breed.
Facts about Jersey Mini Cows
They can be very adorable, and that’s undeniable.
The color of their coat ranges from fawn to dark fawn, with some sporting splashes of white.
The cows tend to weigh about 600 to 650 pounds, while the bulls weigh in at about 800 pounds.
Because of their small stature, they don’t require as much acreage and barn space.
They also require less feed, as they only eat half as much as their bigger counterparts.
Their milk is very delicious and quite nutritious too.
They contain high butterfat and protein amounts.
They can produce about 2 to 4 gallons of milk a day.
If you’re getting a miniature cow, the point is to provide milk and that means you really have to check the udder.
It needs to be attached well, and the teats should be large enough that you can milk them easily.
They should also sport a straight spine, and stand firmly with legs long enough to support their body length and size.
Jersey Mini Cows more facts
While modern Jersey bulls are notoriously aggressive, that’s not usually the case with mini Jersey bulls.
This is especially true with bulls that have been bottle-fed from birth.
While they can be playful as calves, they can also be very gentle and sweet even when compared to their female calves.
They’re quieter and they don’t spook as easily.
But when they mature, it’s still a good idea to just handle him as you need to, but you can just leave him alone.
You can start handling him less when he reaches puberty, which for mini Jersey bulls is at 6 to 7 months.
The calves also don’t like the cold very much, especially when the temperature drops below 50.
So you should keep them warm with calf coats or even with heat lamps.
Keeping them warm in the winter months is crucial if you want to minimize the risk of stress-related diseases.
Just remember, with mini Jerseys you get the best milk for your family, and a cute and gentle pet besides.
Miniature Panda Cow
Now if you’re into truly rare miniature cows with a beauty that can’t be matched, you really ought to take a look at the Miniature Panda.
The first of its kind is the progeny of a miniature bull that is 75% Irish Dexter and 25% Belted Galloway bred to an exotic cow (“Happy Mountain” Cattle).
The result was a small heifer measuring just 14 inches tall at birth.
She has a white belt around her middle, along with the face of a panda, all white with black circles around the eyes.
Miniature Panda Cow is unique
There are only a few dozen of these miniature Panda cattle in the world, and they’re all celebrities in one way or another.
There is a pair of them featured at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.
Sometimes the celebrity status can even get in the head of the Panda cattle.
According to one Washington owner, his Panda bull calf is never far from his mother, but he “struts” around the farm and other caves follow him around.
If you want a celebrity animal for your zoological garden or farm, you can’t go wrong with a miniature Panda cow.
They’re just that cute, lovable, and popular.
But you will have to spend lots of money to get one, or devise a breeding program yourself.
The cost of buying one may reach up to $30,000, but you’re getting instant fame and status.
The standard Hereford cattle breed began in Herefordshire, England, about 250 years ago.
The breeding program for the miniature Hereford started in the late 1960s, but it was only in 1989 when breeding stock became available for sale.
They’re widely considered beef animals, although there are many other reasons why you may want to buy one.
You can buy them as a pet for your young children, or enter them in shows.
Some buy them because of the agricultural tax breaks they get to enjoy.
You can even just buy them as special tools to mow and fertilize your huge backyard.
Facts about Miniature Herefords
These make for wonderful pets.
They’re generally docile and have sweet-temperaments, especially when they’re already halter-trained.
Even the bulls are comparatively gentle compared to the bulls of other miniature breeds.
And the calves only weigh in at 30 to 60 pounds, so that even 5 or 6-year old kids can show them around.
They’re also very easy to care for, and they won’t cost you as much for upkeep.
They’re very hardy and they adapt well to all environments, so you cut back on veterinary bills.
They don’t need special food treats, they require less pasture space, they’re easier on your pasture and fence, and they produce less manure to haul away.
Mini Herefords are excellent food converters.
This means they don’t have to eat as much to produce weight gain for meat.
And their meat is more tender because of their shorter muscle length.
Standard cows need to develop muscle to carry 2,000 pounds in weight.
But the mini Herefords only weigh from 700 to 1,000 pounds, so they require less muscle.
They also offer a larger ribeye area of about 1.5 square inches for every 100 pounds of body weight.
Miniature Herefords – breeding
The breed is very fertile and can breed back rather quickly.
The heifers can breed at about 2 to 3 years.
The bulls can even start at an earlier age, as they can breed when they’re a year and a half years old.
After giving birth the mother is very nurturing, and she can also provide lots of milk for her calf.
You should find a reputable breeder if you’re considering buying a miniature Hereford.
It’s easy to make mistakes, such as paying show-quality prices for a cow when you just want a pet.
Others may pay top fees for a very small animal only to find out that she’s not small-framed genetically.
Just make sure you get the most suitable animal for your needs.
If you want them for the beef, then they’re able to provide better beef than just about any beef you can get in the supermarket.
If you want a pet, make sure that it’s docile and that you train it with a harness.
And if you want them for your own breeding program, you will need to research the pedigrees.
Now that you are learning so much about miniature cattle, be sure to learn about how a livestock guardian dog can help.
The Lowline Angus descended from the Angus cattle breed that was formed several hundred years ago from the black hornless cattle in the Angus and Aberdeen counties in Scotland.
These spread worldwide during the 1800s, and soon thereafter, Black Angus started to dominate the US beef industry.
History of Lowline Angus
The Lowline Angus was actually created by accident.
They were the result of an Australian study which tried to determine if large or small animals were more efficient at converting grass into meat.
In this 1974 study, they used 85 Angus cows and divided them into 3 herds.
The High Line herd was defined by high yearling growth rates, and the Low Line herd had low yearling growth rates.
The third herd was the control with randomly selected animals.
Researchers found out at the end that the High and Low Line herds demonstrated about the same level of efficiency in converting grass to protein.
They were supposed to slaughter the Low Line herd, but it soon became evident that these smaller animals had far greater value than what was first thought.
After 15 years of selective breeding the Lowline Angus cattle breed was born.
They stabilized at about 30% smaller than their Highline counterparts, and that makes them one of the smallest beef cattle breeds in the world.
These animals were extremely docile.
They adapted to Australian conditions.
The researchers conducted a disposal sale in 1993, and introduced to the US in 1997.
More facts about Lowline Angus
On average, a purebred Lowline Angus calf weighs 42 pounds. A mature cow is 39 inches tall and weighs 800 pounds.
A mature bull reaches a height of 43 inches and 1200 pounds.
They’re ideal for intensive grazing conditions, and their feed requirements are considerably less than what their bigger counterparts need. They only need about a third of the stand cattle’s nutritional requirements.
You can raise about 54 breeding cows per 100 acres, compared to 33 for Angus and 38 for Wagyu.
Yet you can get an average of 154.3 retail pounds of product from your Lowline Angus.
That’s a lot compared to the 110 pounds per acre for the Angus and 83.1 pounds for the Wagyu.
Lowlines offer superior carcass traits, with 30% larger rib eye area per hundredweight and excellent marbling.
The cows calve with excellent ease, with a short gestation period of 271 days and afterwards they exhibit great mothering ability.
More great reasons to own Lowline Angus
They’re also naturally polled, so that means they’re naturally hornless and that’s a very advantageous trait.
They can live for as long as 12 to 25 years, as they’re easy to keep, and terrific foragers.
Lowline Angus can adapt to a wide variety of climates, from the hot and humid Deep South to the cold of Canada.
They do not test for the Anchondroplasia gene and the dwarfism gene.
Lowlines look great with their nice proportions, and they’re very easy to handle.
What the Lowline Angus represents is a chance for you to get a taste of delicious beef even if you do own a very small farm.
And if you want to make a business of it, it’s a great investment because they’re still rare and the demand for their beef is very high.
Miniature Texas Longhorns
If you’re in the US, you probably heard of the Texas Longhorn football team.
But you won’t ever forget the first time you see a Texas Longhorn in person, as their horns can grow as long as 7 feet from tip to tip.
They’re among the first cattle the Europeans brought to North America.
They’re a mix of breed from India and Iberia.
Yet despite their horns, the Texas longhorn is actually very gentle and even quite intelligent for their species.
And if you want the smaller and cuter version, you can go for the miniature Texas longhorns instead.
They began from a 1990 breeding program that downsized purebred, registered Texas Longhorns.
The process simply bred then smallest Texas Longhorns they had until the resulted in this miniature version.
Like their bigger counterparts, they have the horns, the general build, and the mild, tractable personality without any nervousness or aggressiveness.
Facts about Miniature Texas Longhorns
Technically, their horns must measure from tip to tip at least 50% their hip height, although it would of course be better if they horn measurement can actually reach the length of the height at the hip.
Miniature Texas Longhorn cows should be no more than 45 inches at the hip bone for you to classify them as “miniature,” although some purists insist that they should not exceed 42 inches in height. For bulls, the maximum is 48 inches.
They live for about 10 years and they can weigh from 350 to 800 pounds.
They’re diurnal active during the daytime), and they just need hay and grass.
You don’t buy these animals for their meat, even though people recognize the standard Texas longhorn lean beef for its low fat, cholesterol, and calories.
These minis are companion animals.
They are excellent show animals and pets.
They’re so small you don’t needs as much acreage, and because of their gentle temperament you don’t have to worry about them hurting your children.
Miniature Scottish Highland
If all you know of the Scottish Highlands is what you got from watching Braveheart, then you should at least know that the Scots are tough because they had to be.
That’s especially true in the Highlands, where it’s so rugged that only the tough survive.
And that also true of their cattle.
The Highland breed has thrived ever since the 6th century AD, and they share the same traits with the miniature Scottish Highland breed.
The smaller miniatures don’t go past 42 inches in height, and a few can only reach up to 27 inches even after 3 years.
That makes them one of the cutest farm animals to have around, especially when combined with their characteristic long hair on top of their heads.
People admire the Highland breed for their distinctive looks, and when that look is in a miniature version the cuteness score is off the charts.
They’re just so adorable.
It’s why calves go for about $6,500 even, registered or not.
But they’re not purely just for decoration, and there are advantages to raising them in your small farm.
They exhibit all the major traits of their bigger counterparts.
The difference is they require less food and acreage, making them better suited for smaller farms.
Facts about Miniature Scottish Highlands
Longevity, self, sufficiency, and hardiness are traits to portray them
You can raise them in any state in America and they’ll thrive, although for best results you should get your miniature Highland from a farm with a climate that’s similar to your own.
They have the famous double hair coat with the long, coarse outer layer and the soft wooly inner layer
This coat means that you won’t have any need for special and expensive shelters and barns.
This coat also means that they don’t need a heavy layer of fat to insulate themselves against the cold.
They marble naturally on lower food amounts and produce high quality, lean, and low fat cuts of beef.
The hair sheds out in the spring, and in the warmer climate they just don’t produce as much hair.
The Highland breed has been living with humans for hundreds upon hundreds of years, and they’re no problem at all
The early Scots would even keep them in their homes during the winter, with a woven wattle fence to keep the cattle and human areas separate inside.
They’re docile, calm. They do not spook easily. Despite their long horns, they’re very easy to work with.
More great things about Miniature Scottish Highlands
They calve easily, and calving difficulty like dystocia is very uncommon
They can produce well into their late teens, so you don’t need to replace the herd frequently.
Once they give birth, they protect and devoted themselves to their young.
They are excellent browsers
You can use them to clear brush lots and improve the grazing.
While they are dual purpose cattle which can offer both milk and meat, it is their beef which can really stand out
A study found that their beef is 24% more tender than commercial beef.
It also contains 4% less cholesterol, 17% more iron, and 7% more protein.
So if you’re into hobby farming or if you want a pet cow, the miniature Scottish Highland is a great choice.
They’re good-looking and unique, they’re very docile, and they can thrive beautifully in even harsh conditions.
Miniature Holstein Milk Cow
There’s a reason why Holstein Cows dominate the US milk production industry.
Can provide a lot more income than what their feed costs
Are very hardy and genetically sound
Adapt to a wide range of environmental conditions
Miniature cattle producing milk
Also, they can produce large amounts of milk.
In fact, Holsteins have held the world record for milk production for many years now.
One record holder in 2010 from Wisconsin produced 72,170 pounds of milk in a year.
That’s more than 8,660 gallons for the year.
Typically, they can give you as much as 9 gallons of milk per day.
And perhaps that may be too large an amount for you to handle.
So you may want to get a miniature Holstein instead.
Advantages of the Miniature Holstein
This smaller version offers the same benefits as its bigger counterparts, except that they don’t produce as much milk.
They can give you about 2 to 3 gallons of milk a day.
Standard lactation lasts about 305 days a year.
You can milk some 3 times a day, every day of the year.
The smaller Holstein also offers clear advantages over the standard-sized Holsteins.
They only measure in at 42 inches in height, unlike full-sized Holsteins that come in at 58 inches tall at the shoulder.
They eat less so they produce less manure, and they’re very easy to handle.
Since they’re small and very friendly, you can teach children all about taking care of a cow with your miniature Holstein.
They can learn to milk the cow and help feed it.
And you won’t have to worry about their disposition as they’re very gentle and easy to handle.
Guide to Miniature Cattle Breeds
Regardless of the breed you choose for your small farm, the advantages of the miniature cattle breeds cannot be denied.
Advantages of raising miniature cattle
They’re easier to handle than full-size cows.
They are safer for families with children.
Your fencing costs are much more minimal.
They do less damage to your pasture.
You also save money on feed, since they don’t eat as much.
They can provide some supplemental income, as well as meat or milk at more reasonable amounts that you can handle more easily.
Raising miniature cows make excellent 4-H projects for your kids.
Also, miniature cattle are just plain adorable!
Do your research.
A lot depends on where you buy your cows, so you really need to get them from reputable farms and ranches.
Inbreeding is always an issue, since these animals are relatively rare.
Consider getting miniature cattle for your small farm or ranch, no matter what the size. You can discover for yourself just how much joy and pleasure they can bring to your family.
It’s important to know about them to be sure you buy one that meets your particular situation.
You will mostly want this if you get a livestock guardian dog.
What do livestock guard dogs do?
They seek to prevent the approach and entry of intruders with territorial marking.
These dogs will deter approaching intruders with deep barking.
They will repeatedly run toward an approaching predator to frighten it off.
If the predator enters the dog’s territory and will not leave, the dog will attack and fight as hard as necessary.
All the livestock guard dog (LGD) breeds descend from dogs that have been working alongside shepherds and goat herders in Europe or Asia for centuries.
Each breed in the group can be traced back to a specific area of origin.
The dogs usually live calmly with their stock but will jump into action to keep their area safe and free of predators of all sizes, including bears, wolves and cougars.
Livestock guardian dog breeds instinctively act as defenders, but to work most effectively as a guardian, a puppy should be trained by another livestock guardian dog, a human prepared for the task, or preferably both.
Livestock guardian dogs are uniquely wired and must be treated and handled differently than pet dogs.
Different from herding dogs
While they can be trained to respond to commands, they will override them if they feel a need to protect or defend.
They also operate differently than livestock herding dogs.
Herding dogs are motivated to move animals and keep them in formation.
Providing your livestock with adequate amounts of water is essential.
Especially for those animals that are being milked.
Water fills them up, which in turn requires less feeding.
Water helps regulate body temperature so make sure to provide water that is not cold.
In winter it is better to heat the water up a little.
Giving cold water will lower the body temperature, which means the livestock will need to burn more calories to increase their body temperature.
This will require you to feed them more.
The right amount of clean water is crucial for your animals’ health.
It helps to prevent risks of impaction or colic.
Livestock need nutrients to maintain their health; an important aspect of caring for livestock.
You need to provide them with food, a proper supplement formulated balanced nutrition.
Having a nice percentage of minerals, vitamins and protein, these provide more energy than forages.
For winter the feed needs to be increased.
The lower the temperature, the more the livestock will need to consume in order to maintain body heat.
It is important to monitor the intake of your individual animals.
Feeding small amounts after every few hours will help reduce waste, if you have a small number of livestock.
Manure and Mud
Having large quantities of mud and manure accumulate in your livestock’s shelter can make your animals uncomfortable.
Rain and night chills don’t help the situation.
This is a prerequisite to getting sick.
Reduce the buildup of manure and mud mixture.
Use fresh sand, wood chip, gravel and tile across the shelter floor as and when necessary.
Caring for livestock can be a rewarding venture.
Whether you are looking to run a livestock farm as a major source of income or just for the sake of having a farm that you always wanted, these basic guidelines will help you care better for your livestock.