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.