Sunday, 23 October 2011

Farm Animal Housing.

The ground is saturated and my livestock are staying in today.  We don't have one of those horrid 'slatted' houses that seem to have sprang up all over the countryside. Why can't they be built with a more aesthetic appearance?  Can they not camouflage them with trees or face the concrete with stone?

On our farm, we have what is called 'loose housing'.  This consists of block walls, a concrete floor, metal doors and a corrugated metal roof.  The house (cowshed) is divided into two by a four foot wall  This used to be the'horse's' house.

Today my sheep are residing in it and my calve's are in the large area of the cow shed.  There are two hay-mangers (full of loose hay) hanging on the dividing wall and they both have tubs of clean water and troughs for the beef nut and sheep nuts.  The floor is covered in wood shavings and some hay or straw to lie on.  I clean them out regularly and make sure they are not lying in wet or cold and messy conditions.

We try to farm close to nature.  Would love to be an 'Organic' farmer.  There are no local organic butchers and most of the farm animals get sold to conventional farmers.  I also think there is far too much red tape to entice and attract most smallholder farmers.

What do you think readers?

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  1. Going organic would be great in theory but, like you say, there is no incentive to follow that route where balancing the books and feasibility on a small scale are concerned.

    In saying that, I do have a bit of a problem with the entire 'organic' ethos when it comes to animal welfare. As an organic farmer, where would you stand, for example, on the principles of having a cow failing to calve naturally and needing a C-section? Such emergency treatments require conventional drugs and, despite all the tales of 'natural alternatives', at the end of the day, drugs are drugs - they're in the food chain somewhere along the line.

    Animal welfare should always come first. Sadly, that isn't always the way of it, especially where 'natural methods' and ill-advised newcomers to 'farming' are concerned. Toonies with chickens is a prime example. So many of these birds would be better off slaughtered humanely than passed on to ignorant individuals who don't realise there's more to it than buying expensive housing.

    Just another slant on the whole organic issue, thought it would liven things up a bit. :)

  2. Thanks for that. I agree with you and I find it very diffult to get any 'organic' education without paying for some course or other.

    The land is saturated at the moment and you have to inject animals against Fluke and Blackleg.

    I also have issues on how organic farmers drive tractors and cars? Surely they are polluting the environment? Why do some organic vegetables come from overseas (carbon fotprint) and why are so many wrapped in plastic?

    I also don't understand 'topping' rushes instead of spraying them. How many (here we go) frogs, newts, insects and wildlife get destroyed?

    Saying that. I have a (small) tractor, give my cattle bedding (not concrete slats) to lie on and do not buy chemical fertilizers except Lime. This isn't Rock Lime so its made of chemicals. You just can't win.

    I like to call my style of farming: Natural Farming. My grandparents used Lime, FYM and Seaweed. People have been 'organic' for thousands of years.

    Saying all that I do agree with the ethics of 'organic animal welfare like local slaughter houses and not using chemicals.

    Thanks for raising these very important issues!

  3. Diffult - I have just invented a new word! Difficult was the real word I was looking for!


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