Cattle are the largest livestock most people have to handle, so it makes no sense to keep a steady record of them to many ranchers and farmers. Many believe they can remember enough about the animals to avoid having to write anything down.
Unfortunately, those who don’t document can find themselves in many struggles that would be too easy to avoid. Here are the top reasons that cattle record-keeping matters and why all farms should use it.
Ensure None Are Stolen or Wander Off
Unfortunately, it’s surprisingly easy for a cow to figure its way out of a field. Whether someone didn’t close the gate right or a tree fell and broke a section down, cattle can get out and leave easily. But, of course, this means you’ll have to hope that you saw it happen so you can gather them: or face the trouble of tracking them down.
Having information on them will prove that they’re yours if anyone else finds them, or could give you information that you can hand out if you can’t find them. Although a ‘missing dog’ sign for cattle can seem silly, having evidence that you owned a cow and it’s now missing can help you retrieve it.
Track Genetic Issues or Illness
Some genetic issues or illnesses with cattle can be hard to track until it’s happened for generations. Proper record keeping will allow you to keep information on which cattle are related, if any have had this problem before, and which cattle you shouldn’t breed anymore. This can save you a lot of money and effort without having to have each animal tested.
Keep Track of Age and Sex
After a certain age, milking cows isn’t going to be good for that task anymore, and cattle will be ready to be culled. Keeping track of when a cow was born and what sex it is can help inform your decision on which animals to keep and which have met the end of their time on your ranch.
Although you may think you can spot the age of cattle by looking at them, this can be harder to see if they’re well-fed or have a different coat texture.
Ensure Vet Visits are Well Documented
There’s nothing as important for cattle as a good vet. Tracking your animals and keeping a record of their vaccinations, tests, and calving can give you the best chance at raising healthy and good animals. Otherwise, you risk disease, misdiagnosis of animals, or inbreeding that can ruin the quality of the animal.
In Case of Anything Happens To You
If a farmer retains a perfect memory of their animal, they may think they’re set: but if they get sick or pass away, those animals are going to be a mystery to almost anyone else. Don’t let this happen to your farm. Keeping records can give your animals the chance to thrive even if you’re not the one caring for them, which is a great legacy to leave behind.