Livestock health

Livestock and beekeeping

Notes to broadcasters

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Keeping domestic animals healthy is extremely important to farmers. Animals not only provide food, they also draw ploughs and transport farm products. Their manure is an important source of fertilizer and fuel. When animals get sick or die, family income and health both suffer.

You can inform farmers about ways to prevent disease, treat sick animals, and minimize the spread of disease. For example, animals need nutritious food and clean water in order to stay healthy. They need to be housed in clean, dry, and warm quarters. Grazing animals should be rotated through different sections of pasture to help control tick-borne diseases and internal parasites. If an animal does get sick, it should be immediately separated from other animals to limit the spread of the infection. Animals should be vaccinated at the right age for the appropriate disease. Find out what diseases are most important in your area and try to respond to the needs of local farmers.

These radio spots help you introduce livestock health topics. Here are some suggested subjects to research for more in-depth programs:

  • Three pasture rotation schedules that will keep your animals healthy.
  • Interviews with one farmer who vaccinates and one who doesn’t. Or, facilitate a discussion between the two farmers. Tell farmers where they can get livestock vaccinated.
  • Good nutrition for grazing animals.
  • How to prevent animal diseases from spreading to you and your family.
  • Good sanitation will help keep your animals healthy.
  • How to strengthen your animals’ natural resistance to disease.
  • Mosquitoes can spread animal diseases: control mosquitoes around your home.


Radio Spot #1: Keep animal housing clean

Why do some animals get sick but others stay healthy? The answer is simple. Some animals have better resistance to disease than others. And there are ways that farmers can help animals build that resistance so they stay healthy.

First, provide good quality feed. Animals that eat well can resist many infections.

Second, give your animals clean water. Dirty water spreads disease.

The third thing to remember is cleanliness. Keep your animals in a dry, clean environment.

If you want your animals to stay healthy, remember these three things: good quality feed, clean water, and clean housing.

Radio Spot #2: Control ticks with pasture rotation

Are your animals bothered with ticks? Ticks carry diseases that can actually kill cows, sheep, goats, pigs and other animals. You can combat ticks by rotating pastures.

Here’s what I mean. Use a fence to divide your pasture into one or more sections. Let your animals graze on one side of the fence, and let the other pasture rest. After two or three months, move the animals back to the other side of the fence.

How does this help? If your animals are always in the same pasture, the ticks will live and thrive because they are feeding on your livestock. But if you move your animals away, the ticks in that pasture will die because they can’t get enough to eat. So, to control ticks, divide your pasture, and let one part rest.

Radio Spot #3: Remove dead animals from the farm

When a sick animal dies from a disease, the disease will spread to other animals. How can you prevent this? The answer is: quickly remove it. If a sick animal dies and you don’t remove it from the farm immediately, all the other animals could get the same disease. The disease could also infect you and your children. So remove the dead animal at once. Do not eat it. Eating the animal could make you sick, or even kill you.

Radio Spot #4: Dispose of dead animals immediately

When a sick animal dies, call a veterinarian, or an extension worker. Find out how to dispose of the animal. Usually they will tell you to bury the dead animal in a deep hole, or to burn it. If you can’t get expert advice, burn or bury the animal quickly. Do not wait. After you burn or bury it, disinfect your hands and the immediate area to avoid further infection. Remember, when a sick animal dies, remove it from the area immediately.

Radio Spot #5: Vaccinate your livestock

Do you know the best time to vaccinate your animal? Just after it is born? Or when it becomes an adult? Here’s the answer. In most cases animals should be vaccinated at about six months of age.

Why wait until six months of age? Because the mother passes her own disease protection to the baby in her first milk. This protection lasts for the first few months of the baby’s life. After a few months, the natural immunities become weaker, and it is time to provide protection with a vaccine.

But don’t vaccinate before six months! If you vaccinate a young animal while the natural immunity from the mother still exists, you will cancel the effect of the vaccine. So remember: vaccinate young animals at about six months old. Seek professional advice on this important subject OR read the vaccine product label for specific directions.

Radio Spot #6: Animal diseases thrive in dirty quarters

Here’s a story about animal health and cleanliness. (Pause) Imagine if your livestock could talk. What would they say? If you listen closely you might hear them whispering, “Clean my pen. Clean my stall. Give me clean bedding.” Why do animals want to stay clean? Because it keeps them healthy. You see, diseases like to live in dirty stalls.

Diseases prosper in dirty bedding. Animals prosper in clean, dry bedding. Listen when your animals talk. Keep their living area clean, and you will keep them healthy.


Contributed by Vijay Cuddeford, Research/writer, Toronto, Canada.

Reviewed by Terry S. Wollen, DVM, Coordinator of Animal Health, Heifer International. Field Address: Heifer Nepal, Arun Tole, Satdobato, Lalitpur 15 Nepal.

Information sources

Where There Is No Animal Doctor, by Peter Quesenberry and Maureen Birmingham, 1992. Christian Veterinary Mission (World Concern), 19303 Fremont Avenue North, Seattle, Washington, USA, 98133,

Agricultural Development Workers Training Manual, Volume IV: Livestock, Training Manual No. T-38C, 1985. Peace Corps Information Collection and Exchange, USA.

Animal Husbandry, Training in Agriculture Series, #109, 1989. Inades-Formation Kenya, 15, Avenue Jean Mermoz, Cocody – Abidjan 08 BP 8 – Abidjan 08, Ivory Coast. Tel: (225) 44 31 28/44 31 29/44 31 30

Environmental Health: A Sourcebook of Materials, 1999. The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Publications Unit,Y. C. James Yen Center Silang, Cavite 4118, Philippines. Fax: (63-46) 414 2420,