Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Animal Handling & Husbandry

Animal husbandry is the management and care of farm animals by humans for profit, in which genetic qualities and behaviour, considered to be advantageous to humans, are further developed. The term can refer to the practice of selective breeding and raising livestock to promote desirable traits in animals for utility, sport, pleasure, or research. (Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Here at Killrowan Farm we have our own philosophy on animal husbandry. We try to handle our animals as much as possible and build up a relationship with each and every one of them. Several of our cows are halter trained and many don’t need to be, they follow along without the need for a halter and rope. There is a critical lack of Farmer – Animal interaction within the agricultural Industry. This in turn creates a tension between the Farmer and the Animal which can lead to high stress levels among the livestock. In times of heavy pregnancy this can lead to abortion or premature labour.
In short, a happy animal is a productive animal and instead of working against you, they work with you. It also greatly affects the quality of the end product due the chemicals released during periods of stress or discomfort. If the need arises we can inject/dose the majority of our animals without the need of a crush or penning system. When buying in stock from external sources one of the first things we examine is the animal’s character. If the animal is approachable and does not exhibit high levels of fear or skittish behaviour then we know we have a foundation we can build upon. Many of our animals have taken a little effort but are now as gentle as could be. It is quiet something to stand back and observe an Eight Hundred + Kilogramme animal being as gentle as family pet.

Animal Husbandry is going to play a very important role in the evolution of farming practice. It is our hope that Irish Farmers can be world leaders in this area. The days of mass produced poor quality meat are numbered and the sooner this is realised the better. The consumer deserves the best possible product without being charged a large premium for it. People work hard to make a living, they deserve the quality end product.