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Livestock technicians can come in many forms, but generally, they provide specialist services to dairy, beef, sheep and pig farms. Livestock technicians will assist the farmers with specific areas of livestock management, such as foot-trimming, breeding, or health treatment. Livestock technicians work in specific areas of livestock care, rather than in general farm management. Their skills are usually practical and require extensive knowledge of the particular animal and area of work.
Foot-trimming may not sound like a very important part of farming, but for dairy and beef farms, it is. Cows need frequent attention paid to their feet, as they spend a lot of time walking around and the slightest discomfort or pain caused by bad feet can result in a reduction of milk production. Special foot-trimming technicians will be called in by farmers on a regular basis to inspect and attend to each cow’s feet.
Artificial insemination is a very skilled and technical side of animal breeding. Technicians may be called in to collect sperm from bulls, rams and male pigs in order to sell on to breeding farms. Livestock technicians must be able to advise farmers on which type of sperm will be most suitable for breeding a specific type of cow, pig or sheep. Technicians will also be required to artificially inseminate the ewe, sow or cow. Additionally, livestock technicians work in pregnancy diagnosis, assessing whether a mated animal is pregnant and how far along it is.
Another important area of a livestock technician’s work could involve vaccinations and applying treatments to animals. They would administer treatments advised by a vet and would monitor and care for the animals according to the farm’s health plan.
Livestock technicians can have a variety of roles, so technical knowledge and practical skills are vital. They will often have experience working within the livestock industry and will have gained further qualifications and experience through employment.