Farm Animals: Horses, Goats, Donkeys, and Mules; Feed, Breed, and Care Guide.
Horses are among the most magnificent and beautiful looking animals. They have a lot of strength and stamina and are very fast runners, making them an asset to many farms.
Most breeds of hoses can carry humans on their backs with ease and can also be harnessed to pull objects. Horses are increasingly being selectively bred for specific jobs: there are lighter horses for racing and heavier ones that are used on farms.
Farm horses are known as draught horses. These horses are large, healthy, muscular and powerful. They are also extremely adept at performing hard tasks like ploughing, carrying heavy loads and pulling carts.
Horses are kept in stables on farms, which are safe and comfortable for them. Dirty stables breed diseases and so must be cleaned regularly. As draught horses work very hard they need to be fed adequately.
A typical diet comprises of a bulk of roughage like hay and grass and some concentrates like oats and barley, which provide them with energy for heavy physical labor.
*Draught horses are used to perform a large number of heavy tasks at the farm. Horses need to be given a complete diet of hay, grass, and oats to keep them healthy and fit.
Many Horse Breeds:
There are several breeds of draught horses: Shirehorses are powerfully built, tall animal, standing up to 2 m (6.5 ft) at the shoulder. This breed is believed to have developed from the medieval great horse that was brought to England by William the Conqueror; the Irish draught horse, the national horse of Ireland, is an active and powerful horse.
It is an intelligent, gentle, and docile animal and easy to work with. It is usually used for hunting and riding and also makes a good competition horse; the Suffolk Punch was developed to plow the heavy clay soil of the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk.
Typically chestnut in color, these horses are popular for their stamina, strength, health, and good temperament.
*Shirehorses are used as draught animals as well as for public shows.
Creature Profile of Horses:
Common Name: Suffolk punch.
Horses Colour: Shades ranging from light gold to dark brown.
Horses Height: 1.6-1.7 m (5.2-5.7 ft)
Horses Weight: 770-910 kg (1,700-2000 lbs)
Horses Feed on: Hay, alfalfa, oat, barley, fresh grass.
Goats were domesticated about 10,000 years ago and continue to be bred in farms across the world. They provide milk, meat, hair and skin.
Nutritious Milk of Goats:
Like cows, goats are also bred for dairy purposes. The milk can be drunk or processed into cheese. Goats’ milk contains less lactose (a type of sugar) than cows’ milk so is recommended to those with an intolerance. Unlike cows’ milk, goats’ milk is naturally homogenized (meaning it stays smooth): this is because it lacks the protein agglutinin.
*Goats’ milk has comparatively low levels of cholesterol and is extremely rich in phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins.
Soft Goat Fleece:
Some goats are bred for their fibre. Goats wear two coats of hair: an outer, which is coarse and is the longer guard hair, and an inner, softer, fleece coat. The latter is used to make soft wool. The fleece is either sheared or combed.
Fleece from goats is much more expensive than sheep wool since goats yield a better quality but a lesser amount of fiber.
The fleeces of Angora and Cashmere goats are very famous. They are fine, soft, and very warm and often used to make shawls with intricate embroidery.
*Cashmere goats are usually very healthy animals and also require minimal care to raise.
Goats Meat and Hide:
The goats are useful both alive and dead. When alive it provides milk and fleece and provides meat and hide when dead. The goat’s meat is tender, with low-fat content compared to other red meat like beef. It is popular in the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and The West Indies.
One of the most popular goats raised for meat is the South African Boer. In places like Indonesia goatskin is used to make a native instrumental drum skin named be dug.
*Both the meat and the skin of the goat are used for various purposes.
Creature Profile of Goats:
Common Name of Goats: Angora Goat
Goats Weight: Male: 82-102 kg (180-225 lbs) Female: 32-50 kg. (70-110 lbs)
Goats Feed: Shrubs, bushes and woody plants.
DONKEYS AND MULES:
In some parts of the world mules and donkeys often serve as beasts of burden on farms. They help in transporting heavy loads from one place to another and are also often ridden.
Donkeys have many uses at the farm. They not only function as beasts of burden helping to pull carts and buggies but also make excellent stable companion for foals and horses because of their generally friendly nature.
They can also have a calming effect on nervous horses. The miniature Mediterranean donkey is a unique species and is known for its small size.
It originates from the island of Sicily. Because of its size, the Mediterranean was traditionally used to turn grinding stones for grain inside people’s houses.
The mules are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. It has the patience, endurance, and balance of a donkey and the strength and power of a horse. Mules are also naturally resistant to diseases that many horses suffer from.
Mules are supposedly stubborn. However, it is up to the trainer to earn their confidence and make them work.
*Despite their reputation, Mules are generally very patient and hardworking animals – although they do have a dangerous kick if provoked. The most common role of a donkey is to be used as transport or to pull carts and heavy loads.
Donkeys are Better than Horses?
Donkeys and mules are typically slower and smaller than horses and are sometimes less powerful. Despite this they are often preferred on farms: they have more endurance: their skin is harder and less sensitive; donkeys and mules suffer fewer problems with their hooves to horses.
Donkeys and mules are also less choosy about what food they eat and are therefore cheaper to feed; because of their hardiness, these animals usually require less care and maintenance than horses.
*Donkeys have been used as a mode of transport for many years.
Creature Profile of Donkeys:
Donkeys Common Name: Mediterranean donkey.
Donkeys Colour: Grey, brown or black with a cross-like pattern on their back.
Donkeys Height: 0.76-0.9 m (2.5-2.95 ft).
Donkeys Weight: 113-204 kg (250-450 lbs).
Donkeys Feed on: Hay and grass.