Livestock Management Briefs

Got chickens or dairy cows? We've got a few livestock management suggestions.

livestock management - illustration of chicken and cow

Proper livestock management will keep your chickens happy and your milk clean.

Illustration by Fotolia/h4nk

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It's often a complicated subject, but sometimes a simple idea here and there will make a world of difference in livestock management. You’ll find here one quick fix, one long term solution, and one that’s both.

Frisbee Chicken Feeders

According to a MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader in Roca, Nebraska, Frisbees make excellent impromptu chicken feeders and waterers! When a neighbor presented Margaret Traudt with a banty hen and nine fuzzy chicks, she had quite a time coming up with a temporary waterer that was stable enough not to tip over, yet shallow enough to prevent any accidental drownings. Her children's flying disks did the trick until a permanent setup could be arranged.

Diapered Milk Strainer

Gary Colvin was unable to locate the proper filters for his milk strainer, so the Bunker, Missouri homesteader made his own — from gauze diapers. His wife simply cut new "nappies" into squares slightly larger than the diameter of the dairy strainer, and finished all four edges with rolled hems. Now after straining the cow's daily offerings, Gary washes the filters in soapy dishwater and rinses them well, then boils them for five minutes while he cleans the rest of his milking equipment. The Colvins say they've saved money by not having to buy the usual disposable filters every few weeks.

Chicken Pecking Deterrent

"During our first attempt to raise chickens, we wound up with birds of different ages," writes Pat Kuenecke of Camano Island, Washington, "and the older ones immediately began pecking at the newly introduced younger hens. Well, a local expert suggested that I coat each chick's back with Vicks Vapo Rub ointment. I still laugh when I think of those mean old biddies scrubbing their beaks on the ground in disgust. It took only one such episode to educate them!"