Sunday, January 26, 2014

Buying livestock: Helpful tips

Please consider a few things before you dive head long into livestock purchases. . .

1st - consider the quality of the parentage of the animals you're buying. Grandparents aren't nearly as important as parents. Do not just take the seller's word. How does the animal stack up against good examples of the breed. No need for them to be comparable to the best of the best, if you're not hoping to attend national shows (which I'm not), but there is still a breed ideal the breeder should be striving for. That ideal EXISTS for a reason, and in livestock, it is often functional or historical to the breed. Important: If someone doesn't care to register and follow the guidelines of the organizations promoting the breed, consider why before you buy. Make sure the breeder is looking to use the animal for the purpose you're buying it for, as well. They will not usually breed to standards if they aren't using the animal for that function.

2nd - If you're not willing to register, maintain records, document histories and care about the quality of the animal or if your only care is what is cheap - again, huge red flag. The livestock world doesn't need more yahoos breeding anything. Look on craigslist. You will see this is true. Support people breeders looking to improve or maintain the breeds in a high quality fashion and aim to be that type of breeder.

3rd - Do not ever buy based on the color of a animal unless you're not buying because the animal is a color that disqualifies it from the breed standard. Flashy doesn't matter. Plain, simple. Flashy means nothing except uneducated buyers will buy those animals quicker. Is that the type of buyer you want to be and sell to? Spots, color, streaks, flash do not a quality animal make and does not a quality breeder create.

4th -  Buy and breed and promote suits your LANDS, your goals and your region's weather. This is smart and sustainable. Do you have pigs you want to forage and thrive? Have you checked hard and fast breed info to see what pigs really forages? Want to raise a dairy animals naturally, organically? Do you realize this usually equals dead goats in wet, warm areas? Be ready to breed and cull out animals that do not work on your farm - be it for health, personality, conformation or otherwise.

5th-  Learn as much about the breeds you chose before you buy. Don't just count on the seller. You have to do your part. I know a lot of people buy from lovely herds in awesome conditions. They don't do the raising right. They kill, say, a goat kid because they didn't feed properly on the bottle (happens SO often), didn't give selenium or copper or wouldn't worm correctly and they blame the breeder. If you saw animals in awesome shape on their farm, raised correctly and you see their animals are thriving year and year, you are likely the issue. Research, back to the drawing board, learn and correct the mistakes you made. Better yet, learn as much as possible beforehand, so you don't make as many mistakes once you commit and waste a lot of time and money.



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington