Page 53 - RealDirtENG2017newJAN
P. 53
Telfer Wegg
Why are most farm animals raised indoors in Canada?
Some grazing animals like sheep, horses and beef cattle do live outside all year, with access to food, shelter, and water. However, in Canada, many animals, such as pigs and poultry, usually live inside barns, where they are protected from extremes of weather and temperature, diseases like avian in uenza and, of course, predators such as wolves and coyotes.
Another reason for indoor housing is better animal monitoring and care. It’s much easier to ensure that each animal receives the right food, clean water, and general care when it is inside a barn. Many barns now have side walls with curtains that can be rolled up when the weather is warmer, letting in fresh air and sunlight.
Why can’t they have more space?
Farm animals have different needs from humans – and even different needs among different species. It’s not always a matter of more space, but what’s available to them within that space, and how they can use it. For example, research has found that a group of calves in a large open barn will choose to sleep very close to each other. Rather than make use of all space available to them, they gather together for a greater sense of protection and warmth.
Today’s farm practices are a balancing act between animal needs, safe food, and environmental and economic realities – and there is ongoing animal welfare research to help learn what’s best.
There’s an app for that
Many livestock farmers have alarm systems in their barns that alert them on their mobile devices to problems, such as the power going off, feed or water lines not working, or temperatures too hot or too cold. And increasingly, farmers can control heat and electricity in their barns from their computers, tablets, or smart phones. The majority of farms also have generators to make sure that their barns have electricity if the power goes out.
Some barns have water sprinklers to help keep animals cool and comfortable in hot weather.
A chicken barn
The Real Dirt on Farming 53

   51   52   53   54   55