Dairy and Livestock

After calves have reached six months of age they can be grown  better and cheaper on good pasture or corn silage and good alfalfa hay than on any other feeds, and a well-bred cow  is largely made or unmade the first 15 months of her life.   
-Reprinted from The Almanack of 1919

Milk fever in dairy cows can be prevented by feeding large amounts of vitamin D for a few days before calving.

-From The Almanack of 1969


Always feed your horses hay before grain. A bored and hungry horse is likely to quickly gulp down his grain. Feeding hay first will take the edge of his hunger and when grain is presented, he will be more likely to eat more slowly and digest his feed properly, decreasing the chance of a colic.

There are different types and qualities in hay, which can vary with the price and depending whether it is "first” or "second cut.” There are very thin qualities of hay and also much courser varieties. Some horses have preferences.

Feed little and often.  Approximate the horse's natural tendency to graze constantly, presenting the grain in three or four small feeds per day, instead of one large one, will lessen the chance of colic by allowing the gut to maintain constant levels of the bacteria needed to digest food.

When handling your goats, use a rope halter (available at most farm supply stores).   If your goats have horns, these can also be held to control them. though some goats do not like this. It is best to have a second person to assist you.  Handling your goat too roughly will cause him to struggle more, so the best amount of restraint is just enough to keep him still.

Tethering your goats (putting them on a long leash) is not recommended as it can be stressful for them. Tethering is also very dangerous because a goat can accidentally hang himself on a tether.


Avoid buying cattle with mucus coming from the nose or that have swollen legs or joints. These symptoms may indicate illness or even an infection, which can be passed to other cattle and, in some cases, humans.

The best time of the year to buy commercial beef cattle is in the Fall. Most beef cattle and calves raised on pasture are marketed then and thus bred cows offered for sale are cheaper at that time than in the Spring.

Choose cattle based on their breed and the weather conditions they are traditionally capable of withstanding. If your region experiences cold, bitter conditions in the Winter, then opt for a breed like the Scotch Highland or Galloway that are accustomed to surviving and foraging during coarse Winter weather. On the other hand, the American Criollo breeds are descendants of Spanish cattle and were bred to temper more moderate and hot climates. Senepol, Ankole-Watusi, Sanga and any Zebu breed cattle are originally from hot African, Asian and Middle Eastern climates and can stand the extreme heat on southern farms during the Summer months.

By researching your local area’s current cattle supply and ongoing industry trends, you’ll be able to determine the best cattle breed for your climate and your goals.

Sheep get really dirty!  You have to clean their bottoms or any area that is matted or caked with mud or feces regularly.  Naturally, they have a hard time getting all of their waste out of their hair. When you shave the area around their bottoms and down their legs, this is called "crutching”. That is because you are cleaning the area known as their crutch.  When cleaning the mud and matted hair from under their bellies, this is called ‘dagging’ a sheep. This terminology is a good thing to know when you need to reach out to more resources on how to perform such tasks.