Working Animals on the Farm: Essential Considerations

Technically, any animal you have on your farm is working in some way, unless it's a pet. Chickens give you eggs and cows dairy, while it might be the job of other animals to grow up big and healthy for meat production. However, some are more working animals than others and know how to take instruction from you. You might have working dogs, horses, and even goats to help you around the farm. If you don't, it might be something you're considering to make some farm work a little easier. Before you bring any working animals onto your farm, you probably want to think about some key issues.

 Image/Wikimedia

Image/Wikimedia

Getting the Right Animals

Of course, one of the most important things is choosing the right animals. A good working animal can be expensive, but they should be worth the investment. You might need to consider the breed, which can be a more obvious choice for some animals than others. If you're looking for a sheepdog, traditional breeds like Border Collies might be your first choice. But if you're looking for a goat to help you haul things around the farm, it could be a bit less obvious which one you should choose. Doing your research is important, as is considering the individual health and personality of the animal you eventually choose.

Training Working Animals

Sometimes, you might be buying a trained animal who is ready to take your instruction. However, there are other times when you need to put in the effort of training your new animal employee. If you don't have any animal training experience, this might seem a little daunting. The younger you start training them, no matter the animal, the easier they should be to teach. Of course, selecting a trainable animal is important too. If you're not sure where to start, some helpful books or other resources could be good. But you could also have someone else train your animals for you.

 Image/Wikimedia

Image/Wikimedia

Insuring Your Working Animals

When you have working animals, they can be a little harder to insure. Normal pet insurance companies often don't insure working animals, so you have to look elsewhere. Fortunately, there are plenty of specialist insurers who can help you. You should be able to find horse insurance easily, as well as options for your working dog. You can even find insurance for your working goat to help protect them and you. Insurance will pay for their vet bills, as well as compensate you if your animal can no longer work.

Your Animal's Purpose

Of course, before you get a working animal for your farm, you need to think about just what they'll be doing. You might not have thought about what different animals can do around the farm. Dogs can do all kinds of things, from herding sheep to acting as gun dogs. Animals such  as horses, goats, and donkeys can help to carry and pull things. They can help you carry out more traditional farming methods if you want.

A working animal can add a lot to your farm, but there's plenty to think about before bringing them home.