Facilities and Equipment
Caring for animals on a small beef cattle farm does not require elaborate or
expensive housing or facilities and equipment. Under most weather conditions, beef cattle do very well outside.
In wetter areas cows need a mud free area with protection from wind and rain. One
method is to allow animals to have access to an open air pole shelter. In an enclosed building, proper ventilation
is important to maintain good health.
Design your facilities to make your
job easy and safe and to minimize your expenditure of time and labor. An effective working facility consists of a
corral with a narrow alley, a head catch, and a squeeze chute.
The chute is needed for vaccinations, deworming, etc. The head catch is needed if you
must aid a cow with calving. The corral and narrow alley help confine animals that need to be handled and driven
into the chute or head catch.
Well-designed handling facilities help to minimize animal confusion and stress. Poorly
designed facilities increase stress on the animals and may cause poor performance, which can affect meat quality.
Use of electric prods is not recommended because they cause animals unnecessary pain and stress.
It is important to maintain the quality of feed. Store hay, straw, or silage and grains
in a dry building free from rodents. Most all types of storage forages will lose nutritional value when exposed to
direct sunlight. Hay put up wet or tto green loses feed value and palatability and presents a fire safety hazard
due to combustion. Rodents can damage feed and spread disease.
Cattle feeders reduce waste and prevent the spread of many internal parasites and other
cattle diseases. You can buy many kinds of manufactured feeders. Or, you can build them out of materials on
An adequate, year round supply of clean, fresh water is basic to any successful cattle
enterprise. Many types of water troughs are available from local feed or farm supply stores. You can recycle old
barrels and bathtubs to make functional troughs; be sure to clean them thoroughly prior to use.
Pens, feedlots, and corrals should be located at a convenient distance from feed
storage facilities. These areas should be well drained, with drainage moving away from feed storage, working
facilities, and roads. It is important to make these areas accessible to tractors for easy feeding and
Proper transportation is a must for your cattle. A one ton or 3/4 ton truck and trailer
are convenient for any beef operation. A truck also is useful for transporting and dispersing hay.
One small to medium horsepower tractor, rotary pasture mower and hay moving
equipment adds convenience to any beef cattle operation. It has been proven time and again that most failed beef
cattle enterprixes is due to over investment in heavy iron so one needs to be praction caution in this
Living the good farm life.