Starting a small farm can bring many advantages, including the satisfaction of raising animals and the opportunity to produce fresh eggs, milk or cozy fibres. But whether you have ten animals or a hundred, there is also a lot of responsibility. Here are some things every small farmer needs to remember:
A close eye is key
Obtain animals for your farm from trusted sources and limit how often you introduce new animals to your herd. You may need to quarantine certain animals when they arrive to prevent introducing disease.
Be sure you can identify each animal individually and monitor their health regularly to proactively detect any potential health issues.
Meat scraps aren’t feed
Be careful when feeding animals scraps or other food from your kitchen, and never feed them meat products – it’s actually illegal to feed meat scraps to pigs in Canada. Diseases like African swine fever, which is a deadly disease for pigs, could infect them through even a small amount of the virus introduced via contaminated meat scraps. Be sure to source your feed carefully from a reliable supplier with proper health and safety controls, who can share information on ingredient sources.
Biosecurity is no joke
Though it may sound like a science fiction term or something only large-scale farmers need to consider, biosecurity measures are crucial on farms of any and every size. Simply put, they are preventative measures to keep your farm animals healthy and avoid spreading disease. Sourcing animals from trusted suppliers and practicing caution with feeding aren’t the only measures to reduce risk. Other areas of farm activity such as ensuring you have regular cleaning procedures for equipment, clothing and footwear worn around animals, and control of who has access to animals will help keep them safe too.
You can find more information about African swine fever and effective biosecurity measures at inspection.canada.ca/asf-biosecurity