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We get asked many questions from interested adopters about what it’s like caring for farmed animals. Today we thought it would be a fun idea to share some insights from our foster carers on what it’s like to care for farm animals. Please continue reading to be blown away with our foster carers lessons learned, hot tips, and things they wish they knew before caring for farm animals that might help you!

 

  1. We are going to start with an important one. Do your research before adopting to figure out which animal would be right for you and your family. And remember, all animals need companionship, so you will have to adopt at least 2 to make sure your animal doesn’t become lonely.

  2. Did you know that animals also experience the dreaded teenage years and phase? The teenage years exist in all animals. For example, in calves there will be stages where they are a little boisterous and test the boundaries. But after two years, they calm down a lot and are happy grazing and being with you.

  3. All animals need shelter to protect them from the weather – rain or sunshine. A three-walled structure for calves is required while they are young, and a bigger shelter or big trees to protect older cows from the weather. All animals need to have somewhere they can feel safe and protected!

  4. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t connect with your animals right away. The more time you spend with your animals, the more comfortable they will get around you. You can use tummy friendly treats as a way of interacting and showing them you mean no harm. You can use fruit for chickens, lucern for cows, and lucern or treat mix for sheep.

  5. A great tip is to practice harness training with your sheep or cow while they are eating. Do this by starting with the harness near their food bowl. Over time slowly bring the harness closer and closer to them until it touches their nose. You can then move on to slipping the harness over their nose and finally strapping it around the back of their ears and fully on. Complete the harness training over the course of several weeks to ensure your animal is comfortable and not overwhelmed with the experience. Training your animal on a harness is vital for when you need to move your animal or take them for vet treatment.

  6. Cows love being brushed! You can do this while they feed or even just as an enjoyable bonding activity for you and your cow.

  7. Don’t get in the way of a calf that still thinks it’s starving after a bottle. You will end up getting head-butted. Our foster carers have learnt this the hard way countless times.

  8. Cows need companionship of their own kind. A cow without a paddock buddy will be very lonely. Sometimes, this will cause them to get into mischief, just like any other animal that is lonely. Hens are also their happiest in a little flock. A flock of 3 or more girls is always nice.

  9. We have found that a lot of the time, cows are completely misunderstood. We know that cows are so much more than the commodity status society has placed upon them. If you adopt a calf, put them out in a paddock and never interact with them, you will gain a fantastic lawnmower. If you adopt a calf, spend time with them each day, love them, interact with them, have them close by, cherish them as a member of your family, you will gain a companion for life. This is personally my favourite tip!

  10. Believe it or not, once you become the proud carer of a farmed animal, you will start becoming fascinated with exploring each of your animals’ health, which greatly involves being interested in their poo. This might sound strange if you haven’t cared for a farmed animal before. Still, we’re certain you will become this person after bringing a farmed animal into your loving home because their poo tells you so much about their health and well-being.

  11. Did you know that like cats, some chickens love human companionship, and some prefer to be left alone? Some chickens love spending time with their humans and hang around the doors and windows to their home, anticipating their next cuddle or treat. Others are completely independent, and their humans barely know them or see them. It sounds like a cat to us!

  12. Lastly, we are leaving you with a hot tip – You don’t need to be a calf expert or have any experience to adopt a calf. Anyone with the love, time and land to give can make a wonderful forever home to a calf or any animal!!

 

Most of all, love your animals! Make sure your animals have food and fresh water, and proper fencing, and you can’t go wrong!