General Health and Welfare
The first unit of the Farm Animal Care course studies first aid, routine health checks, common health disorders, diseases & parasites, handling & restraint and nutrition for farm animals.
UK Animal Welfare Legislation
This unit explores how current UK Animal Welfare Legislation relates to farm animals. This unit includes information about basic farm animal psychology and body language, environmental enrichment and how to prevent, identify and respond to the signs of stress in farm animals.
Farm Animal Care and Welfare Course
This Farm Animal course has been developed for anyone wanting to work or volunteer with farm animals such as in a city farm environment or small-holding.
Learn about farm animal first aid, the handling & restraint of farm animals, essential nutrition, how to carry out routine health checks and deal with common health disorders, diseases & parasites.
The course also includes basic farm animal psychology, body language and environmental enrichment.
Farm Animal Welfare
If you wanted to set up your own farm business but you had never farmed land or animals before, what would be the first steps to take to ensure the animals you farmed had all of their needs provided for? It’s important to take into consideration the farming species, country of origin and the importance of acts and legislation passed by government to promote overall good health and welfare standards, as cited in the Five Freedoms Act. Inadequate care and attention of animals can occur just as easily through not knowing what you are doing as it can through knowing what you are doing is wrong.
It is always recommended that experienced and well-trained animal carers be employed to oversee animal husbandry and management. Spending adequate time per day observing normal behaviour will save you time in the future wondering what the problem could be. Always observe each animal in your care and keep notes on them to transfer between stocksman and handlers.
Consider how much the animal is eating and drinking per day, their housing standards and stimuli to engage the individual. Being able to differentiate between normal and abnormal behaviour is integral to the animal welfare process. Abnormal stereotypical behaviours are usually very obvious and include repetitive activities like pacing, head shaking and rocking. It is important to know how an animal’s behaviour has changed and it is advisable that you consider possible impacts on an animal that have resulted in repetitive behaviour.
Being sympathetic to the animal environment you provide for your animals is crucial to their mental health and overall welfare. Routines are notoriously things that human beings complain about and no doubt if animals could express how they felt about the cycle of entrapment, they would say similarly. Predictability of being fed, given water, waking up and going to bed at set times can bring comfort to some such as the domesticated cat, but once their environment and social interaction becomes restricted then difficulties begin to arise, in behavioural changes. The basic requirements are set and ascertained, but the means to nurture the mind and exercise the body are overlooked.
Farm Animal Environmental Enrichment
Environmental enrichment involves integrating activities that an animal would experience in the wild or through domesticity, to make everyday life more engaging. The idea of enrichment comes from allowing the animal to use their natural senses to navigate round the enclosure to locate food items, to smell something unfamiliar, or to allow the animal to solve a problem. Enrichment is designed to create stimulation for bored animals. It can be as simple as moving round the furniture or it can be as complex as creating a gymnasium. If the animal usually forages then create an enrichment device, which allows them to forage for their food. Some animals will be motivated to find something soothing to touch, this serves to increase movement and stimulate the senses. Some animals are motivated by scents. Animals have an excellent sense of smell, which is often overlooked because we humans do not share the same sensitivities. Provision of something strong smelling will encourage animal movements and stimulate senses.
Most animals enjoy the company of other animals of the same species. Often, enclosures can be enriched through the addition of other species or novel objects randomly placed in the enclosure and swapped round. A tired animal is one who will not show stereotypical behaviours and will become quite lethargic very easily. Working animals require exercise to alleviate mental stress, they may also be given puzzle boxes to entertain them when work is quiet. Exercise is important to all living beings, as it helps to promote the functioning of the physiological elements of the body such as the heart, lungs and blood flow.
Additionally it also helps to reduce weight gain and promote good physical fitness. Endorphins are also believed to assist in releasing biochemical’s that improve the mood and encourage the positive association of exercising. This farm animal course also includes information on general health and welfare and UK Farm Animal Welfare Legislation.