Farm Animals Guide: Pigs Farming, Sheep Farming, and Animal Farm Dogs or Sheepdogs:
Pigs are also known as hogs or swine. Domestic pigs are usually pink or brown with hair on their bodies. They are bred for their meat.
Pens and Piggeries:
Piggeries are animal farms that specialize in rearing domestic pigs for commercial use. In this system of pig production, mature pigs are kept indoors in sheds while pregnant female pigs, also known as sows, are kept in separate stalls. Breeding pigs in piggeries improves the general condition of the pigs.
Pigs do not have sweat glands, so most breeds are at risk from heatstroke in hot temperatures. Piggeries control the temperatures through ventilation and drip water systems. Pigs produce a lot of waste so they must be frequently mucked out.
*Pigs are usually housed together in piggeries.
The domestic pig is a descendant of the wild pig but has a milder temperament. The domestic pig is a pack animal and is usually kept in large groups of 10 animals. The sows are usually more aggressive than the male pigs or boars and are kept separate.
The domestic pig is one of the most popular breeds to be reared commercially because its meat is more tender and has a higher fat content than other breeds. Other than for its meat, the domestic pig is also used for its skin and intestines. Even the hair on its skin can be used to make brushes.
*The domestic pig is reared mainly for its meat, known as pork.
England’s Black Pigs:
The large black pig, known as the Devon pig, is the only black pig found in Britain. Originally bred in Devon, these pigs have shorter bodies and stronger bones than other breeds.
The dark-colored coat makes this breed extremely hardy and also helps prevent skin diseases more common in other pigs. This hardy species also yield a good quantity of meat and excellent milk.
*Large black pigs, or Devon pigs, are also known for the superior quality of milk that they produce.
Creature Profile of Pigs:
Common name: Domestic Pig
Colour of Pigs: Mainly brown and black.
Weight of Pigs: 100 kg (220 lbs). Feed on: Plants, fungi, roots, grain, and berries.
Animal Farms Dogs:
Some breeds of dogs are specially trained for herding animals on farms. Indeed, dogs are a common sight on many farms.
Dog’s Styles of work:
Herding dogs have physical characteristics like speed and endurance that help them to work. They are used to protect farm animals from wild animals and other threats. Although most commonly used to herd sheep, dogs are sometimes used to control cattle, goats, and even poultry, by moving them to the desired spot.
Herding dogs are highly trained and responsive to their master’s instructions. Signals and commands are usually given in the form of whistles and shouts – each one prompting the dog to act in a different way towards the herd.
Australian Cattle Dog:
The Australian cattle dog is also known as the Queensland heeler. The Australian cattle dog is a muscular and strong animal. This medium-sized dog was instrumental in building the cattle industry of Australia. It is alert, courageous, and hardy. It is also very cautious by nature.
This dog is a nipping dog (meaning it chases the heels of the herd) and is used to move cattle. It is an active breed with excellent stamina and is happiest when involved in some kind of activity or exercise.
Border Collie Dogs:
The border collie is a popular farm dog. Bred originally in Great Britain, it is regarded as one of the most intelligent farm dogs. It is a quick learner and understands human directions well.
It is obedient and therefore makes a good farm dog. With its great energy, agility, and herding instincts it can manage many kinds of animals – from sheep and cattle to poultry.
This dog is a header dog, meaning it will run ahead (and around) the herd to affect its movements. A border collie prepares to ‘come by’ – an instruction given to it by the herder. Grazing sheep are watched closely by the border collie.
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Creature Profile of Dogs:
Common name: Border collie.
Color: Mainly black with white patches.
Dogs Height: 0.4-0.5 m (1.3-1.6 ft).
Dogs Weight of Border collie: 14-23 kg (30-50 lbs). Feed on: Ideally, low-fat, high-protein meat and biscuits.
Sheep are peaceful animals that can be easily tamed. Man domesticated sheep over 10,000 years ago. Sheep yield wool, sheepskin, excellent meat, and even milk.
Sheep farming, also known as sheep husbandry, is the raising of sheep for various products. Lambs, or young sheep, are raised for their tender meat while the adults provide us with wool. Some sheep are even raised for milk. Sheep are kept in flocks or a group in pens or barns.
They are grazers and need enough field or paddock to graze on. But farmers have to ensure that the paddock is fenced to prevent sheep from wandering away. Coyotes, foxes, and wild dogs pose a threat to sheep, particularly newborn lambs. In the case of larger flocks, shepherds and sheepdogs are used to look after and protect the flock.
*A sheep is sheared using traditional blade shears.
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Warm Sheep Wool:
Shearing is the process by which the woolen fleece of a sheep is removed. A sheep is typically sheared once a year. The shearer traditionally used a blade shear, but now a machine shear is used for speed and ease of use.
Skilled shearers take great pride in the number and quality of fleeces they can shear in a day. In some parts of the world, they even hold competitions where shearers compete to prove who is the best!
*Sheep need large patches of fresh grass to graze on.
Different Breeds of Sheep:
Different breeds of sheep are bred for different purposes. Some yield more wool, some yield more meat, while some female sheep produce more lambs in a year and some others are fast-growing. The Southdown breed is one of the woolliest sheep breeds in the UK.
It yields wool of fine texture and thickness. The Suffolk breed is one of the most dominant mutton sheep breeds in the world. While the East Friesian is the most milk productive: it gives between 300-600 liters (80-160 gallons) of milk per year!
*The Southdown sheep are known for good lambing ability and produce average quantities of milk.
Creature Profile of Sheep:
Common Name: Southdown Sheep.
Colors of Sheep: Cream, beige, and grey with black face and legs.
Weight of Sheep: Male: 86-104 kg (190-230 lbs) Female: 59-81 kg (130-180 lbs).
Sheep feed on hay, legumes, and alfalfa.