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Livestock Production

Purdue Extension > Small Farms > Livestock Production
Livestock Production

  • Knowing how to house and handle your chickens is essential to their performance and well-being. With this publication you can learn about brooding and how to safely handle chicks. ​ 
  • There is a wide array of chicken breeds for different purposes. Here you can learn about what breeds are best for your interest, whether it be meat, eggs or exhibition.
  • If you are interested in raising chickens, this is a great starter with basic information on chicken types (meat vs. eggs) and housing.
  • If you are wondering exactly how eggs are produced, you can learn about it right here​.

  • The Purdue Beef Center has great information for beef producers of all sizes. There is information on everything from breeding to weaning to health management. A lot of this information is available in easily accessible videos and podcast. 
  • Learn what is meant by terms like “average daily gain” (ADG), “feed to gain ratio” (F:G), “calf crop”, “F1”, “polled”, “out-crossing” in   glossary of beef terms. 
  • Knowing how to properly administer vaccines is essential to the health and well-being of your cattle as well as the quality of beef that they produce. Here you can learn the basics of how to administer vaccines effectively and safely. 
  • Body conditioning scoring (BCS) is a great way to measure the health of both individual animals and your whole herd. This publication guides you through that process.
  • After calving, cows produce colostrum. Colostrum transfers important antibodies to the new-born calf that protect it from disease. Here you can learn about the importance of colostrum and its role in preventing disease.
  • Balancing Rations – When determining what to feed you livestock, take a look at this publication for help on calculating the correct feed ration. This publication shows you how to calculate it by hand and by using a computer.
  • Body Condition Scoring – The ideal body condition score for cattle is around 5. However, without learning how to identify a “5” you will not know which cattle you have that might need the extra push to reach the ideal. This publication will help you learn how to body condition core your cattle. 
  • Forage Testing for Beef – Information on how to do a forage test can be found here along with information on how to interrupt the results. If you would like to do a forage test and need help obtaining a forage probe, please contact your local Purdue Extension Office. 
  • Indiana Beef Cattle Association – The Indiana Beef Cattle Association has information for both producers and consumers of beef. For producers, you can find out about area beef meetings while consumers can find great recipes and more about beef production. 
  • Indiana Beef Evaluation Program – The Indiana Beef Evaluation Program allows producers a chance to have their bulls put on a test to determine their EPDs and quality characteristics before being sold in one of the two bi-annual sales (Spring and Fall). 
  • Indiana Board of Animal Health – Important animal health facts can be found at the Indiana Board of Animal Health website. Some of those facts can deal with obtaining a premise ID, animal feed recalls, and much more.

​Small Ruminants 
  • Sheep and goats share many of the same health problems. This publication gives and overview of common health issues in small ruminants and ways to prevent them. 
  • Parasites can be a problem in both sheep and goats. Learn the basics of parasites and their control in small ruminants in this publication.
  • Foot rot can be highly problematic in sheep and goats. This publication describes the causes and symptoms of foot rot as well as some prevention strategies. 

  • The Niche Pork Production Handbook out of Iowa State is an excellent 
  • resource for anyone interested in small scale swine production. 
  • Auburn University Extension has put together a series of factsheets for small scale swine producers including information on nutrition,housing, breeding and marketing.
  • Penn State has a primer on everything from housing to budgeting.​
The Video below is a resource developed by the Cornell Small Farms team that highlights a local farm's successful​​​​ method of production for their pasture pigs. 

The Purdue Department of Food Science has put together a series of publications aimed at small meat processing plants. offers some resources on rules and regulations​ for poultry processing including
exemptions in the case of small numbers of birds.

 Video Resources


The following video will provide additional information about parasite control and fecal testing for small ruminants