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Caring for livestock properly requires the right equipment. Horses, cows and other large animals have the same basic needs as pets, but meeting those needs takes heavier and more specific equipment. When it comes to shelter and safety, livestock require grazing and turnout areas, corrals and barns with stalls. The type and size of barn you need depends on the size of your animals, but basically, a barn with individual stalls is the norm. Sheep and goats can be housed together in an inside pen, while milk cows and horses need individual stalls. Turnout and grazing areas need shelter where animals can get out of the rain and sun, so strategically-placed run-in sheds are a good option. No matter where your animals spend time, access to fresh water is a must. Galvanized and foam stock tanks of various sizes offer large and small watering options for stalls, barn and turnout areas.
Livestock also need to be pastured safely when not in the barn, and that requires the right kind of fencing. Choose fencing based on the animal for best results. Corral panels can be used for horses to create short-term holding and exercise areas. Utility gates should be strong, sturdy and easily latched to keep animals where they are supposed to be.
Caring for livestock also requires regular health examinations and hoof and coat maintenance. For sheep, goats and cows, this means head gates with squeeze chutes that can keep animals calm and contained while being examined, groomed or sheared. Other important pieces of animal handling equipment include alley systems for safe animal movement, trimming stands for sheep and vet scales. Each piece of equipment plays an important role in grooming, moving and examining your animals in a safe and secure way.
Another important part of proper livestock care involves keeping stall and bedding areas clean and free from bacteria. There are several bedding options that help keep livestock stalls comfortable and dry. Straw, hay and wood shavings are the most popular for their absorbency and comfort. For horses adding rubber mats with drainage holes underneath bedding helps move moisture away from the stall and provides cushioning from hard cement for joints. Bedding should generally be deep enough to absorb moisture and prevent mats from becoming slippery. Tractor Supply Co offers a variety of rubber mats and bedding materials to keep your livestock warm and happy in their stalls.