Farms all across the country raise different animals, which can be used to make food or other products for farmers to sell. Some animals are raised on farms to work, just like the farmer. Farmers raise these animals for meat, eggs, milk, wool, and many other things that they can sell for a profit. Keeping a farm is a difficult job, as the work never stops. Regardless of the weather or the time of year or holiday, the farm animals still need to be taken care of and fed. Whether the animal is being raised for food or to help the farmer perform their work, the farmer’s job never ends, as the animals have to keep eating to produce their milk, eggs, wool, meat, and so forth.
Farmers use horses on a daily basis to help them do daily work on their farms. They are used to help move large numbers of sheep or cattle from one place to another. Many times, cows must be branded or given shots or other medicines, and sheep must be sheared, so the horses assist in moving the animals from field to field or from the field to a pen. The farmer will ride the a horse as the pair gathers the animals, encourages them, and makes them move to the necessary area on the farm. Because horses can stop and go quickly, move up and down hills easily, and maneuver around rocky terrain, they are the best animal to ride to help on the farm.
- Basic Horse Terms
- Safety Around Horses
- History of Horses
- The Importance of Horses (PDF)
- Horse Facts
- Metal Horse Barns
Cattle are raised on many farms across the country for several different reasons. They are used for meat, such as beef and veal, and also for milk – their milk is used to make many different dairy products that we eat every day. Other products that come from cows are leather and manure that is used for growing crops and fuel. Male cows are called bulls and are used for breeding. Steers are male cows that cannot be bred. Steers are usually calmer than bulls and have more body mass towards the rear of their bodies, making them better for meat production, while bulls are bigger up towards their necks. Female cows are used for breeding and for the production of milk.
- Facts About Cows
- Cow Basics
- Studying Cows (PDF)
- Visiting Farms in the Community
- Cow Facts (PDF)
- Prefab Horse Barns
Sheep and Goats
Sheep and goats are popular farm animals, especially for smaller farms. These animals can be used for meat, milk, and fiber, but they also benefit farms in other ways as well. Because sheep and goats eat grass, they will help manage the farm landscape: They keep the farmer from having to cut the grass because they are constantly eating it. If the farmer wants to sell these animals, they can make money off of them, or they can make money off of their meat, milk, or wool. Sheep and goats are also great animals for petting, so if the farm gets a lot of visitors, these animals are usually friendly to pet and hold.
Chickens and roosters are popular animals to raise on farms. They are used for both their meat and their eggs. Chickens that are strictly used for laying eggs are called “layers,” while chickens that are raised for their meat are called “broilers.” Some chickens are raised in barns, while others are allowed to roam free on the farms, and these are called “free-range chickens.” Usually, chickens that lay eggs will do so once each day. The farmers must collect these eggs so that they can be eaten by humans. Chickens that produce meat have both white and dark meat on their bodies. The white meat (breast and wing) is leaner and drier when cooked, while the dark meat (thigh and leg) is moister.
- Information About Chickens (PDF)
- Diseases From Farm Animals and Chickens (PDF)
- Breeding Chickens on a Farm
- Where Do Eggs Come From?
- Fun Chicken Activity
Other Animals on the Farm
Many farms have other, more unusual animals. Llamas are known to be able to live in very dry environments, so if there is a shortage of rain, they can easily survive. Llamas are used for their wool and sometimes their meat, and they can also be used as pack animals, meaning they can carry weight on their backs and transport items from one place to another. Mules are also used as pack animals and can also survive in drought conditions. Mules are slow and are usually good worker animals because of their strength and easygoing attitude. Ducks, which can also be used for meat, spend a lot of time bobbing around in ponds on farms. They also enjoy walking from one area to another.