The Art and Meaning of Good Husbandry


| 4/22/2015 10:23:00 AM


Tags: Amy Fewell, Virginia, animal husbandry,

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When we started our homesteading adventure, I knew that "just having a few farm animals" wasn't going to necessarily be an easy task. But I also didn't realize how much observation and cleanliness was involved. If you know me, then you know I suck at house cleaning. It's partially because I live with a dog and two boys, we're home all day every day, and life is extremely busy. But it's also partially because, I just suck at cleaning house and have about 10 million other "better" things I could think of doing.

With that said, my coop is normally pretty darn clean. The rabbit cages never smell. And while there might be trash in my yard from my husband being a landscaping and estate maintenance man (and brings everything home!!), my animals are healthy, clean and well taken care of. Just like my boys...

There's an art to good husbandry. You can't just have animals and assume "nature" takes care of that for you. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been any need for the original farmer....Adam. You know, that guy who ran around naked in the garden of Eden for awhile and was told to "tend" to all of the animals.

Husbandry isn't just 'cleanliness', however. It's a lot more than that.

Good husbandry means:

• Your animals are taken care of. You get the job done - feeding and watering come heck or high water.
• You do not take on more than you can handle. You realize that if something is too much for you (physically,emotionally or monetarily) that you are not a failure. However, you do need to find a way to "let it go". This might mean finding new homes for your animals, not buying anymore animals (this is so hard for those of us who love them!), or simply hiring a helper so that all the animals can be tended to properly. This is a really big issue for some of us.But please realize that you are doing more harm than good, and it is not practicing good husbandry at all.
• Your coops, hutches, barns and sheds are kept up, both with mucking and fixing what needs fixing.
• Your animals are typically in good health, and when they aren't, you notice it long before it gets "bad". Yes, things happen, we all know this. This is not a "judgement" listing but a general statement. In other words, you shouldn't constantly have sick or dying animals on your homestead. This isn't an animal issue, this is a YOU issue.
• You take careful consideration when it comes to breeding, labor/delivery, and the raising of the young animals.
• If you butcher your own meat on the homestead, then this means your tools are clean before, during, and after processing. You take pride in your skill and humanely process these animals that have served a great purpose on your farm.
• Your animals, no matter where they are or what is going on in your life, are always a priority. Their health, their safety and their offspring aren't something to take for granted. Fifty percent of the time, it is not the animals fault that it got hurt, it is lack of good husbandry skills.
• You're diligent in all of the above, and whatever other tasks arise. Because those of us who practice the art certainly know just how often that art has to be put to good use....




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