Food

How Local Farms Are Changing the Face of Livestock

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According to an article published in the National Institute of Health, livestock makes up 30 percent of our arable land and is worth $1.4 trillion globally. As the demand for livestock increases with the development of more urban areas around the globe, some farmers are developing innovative and ethical ways to farm livestock.

Ethical Growing Habits

As the wave of conscious farming continues to spread, society’s ethical demands are shaping farming techniques. Such techniques include raising cage-free livestock, avoiding antibiotics and hormones and stunning animals to render them unconscious before their throats are cut.

According to surveys conducted by Sentient Institute, 49 percent of consumers polled are in favor of bans on factory farming. Furthermore, 47 percent support bans on slaughterhouses while 68.8 percent agree that animal factory farming is an important social issue.

For example, egg products with free-range and cage-free labels are readily available in grocery stores across the nation. Farms and health food stores offer free-range beef and poultry.

Whether the purpose is tastier meat, better health, a healthier environment or just the improvement of animal welfare, ethical farming has many benefits. As you may know, factory farming sometimes gets associated with pathogenic outbreaks and minor to major health issues.

Diverse Diet

Just like a free-range diet, mobile farming exposes chickens to bugs and vegetation all around the farm. This, in turn, can decrease the need to provide chicken feed since the varied diet offers more needed nutrients.

Coops Take up Little Space

These days, you don’t need acres of farmland to raise chickens. Coops are small and leave enough free space in the yard. This is ideal for urban dwellers who have limited space for farming.

Mobile Chicken Farming

Traditionally, organic chicken farming involved either housing chickens in coops or allowing them to roam free. Today, modern poultry housing is mobile. This type of chicken farming consists of repositioning chicken coops periodically. It’s a method that brings the foraging benefits of free-ranging with the safety and convenience of coops.

Shelter Chickens from Harsh Weather and Predators

Since these coops are mobile, they can be moved to a shaded area during the hot summer. Furthermore, farmers can move them to dryer and warmer areas during rain and cold.

Another looming issue associated with free-range chickens is their vulnerability to hawks, foxes and other wild animals. The housing keeps them safe.

Chicken Manure Provides Excellent Fertilization

Not only will this method provide fertilizer for the entire farm. The Worcester Polytechnic Institute states that chicken manure can be used right away and doesn’t have to be aged like the manure of other livestock. This cuts down on fertilizer and labor costs. Chickens will naturally fertilize the ground as they graze, but also mobile coops usually don’t have a solid floor. Some don’t have floors that need cleaning while others may contain wire mesh, which is easier to keep clean than a solid floor. This also means that any chicken waste goes straight to the soil.

Ethical Pest Control and Ground Prep

A large portion of a chicken’s diet is bugs. Mobile coops help cut down the amount of crop-eating bugs. This promotes organic produce farming since fewer pesticides are needed.

It keeps the grass trim: Chickens will also eat the grass, thus eliminating the need to mow the grass and weeds. Not only that but the scratching and digging inadvertently prepares the ground for seeds.

Livestock farming is improving and shown to be beneficial for humans, animals, and the entire ecosystem. This is an especially pivotal point for urban dwellers who are concerned with the quality of our food and the environment. As innovative methods continue to expand, so will our quality of life.

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