Do you know a calf puller from a head gate, or a loading chute from a nose lead? Any idea why you would need a balling gun, or what or what a loading chute is used for? Take this quiz to prove you can recognize the various tools and equipment used on farms and ranches!
The world's largest ranches measure more than 10,000 square miles, and many are homes to thousands of head of cattle, sheep and pigs, as well as more exotic animals like emu or bison. Countless smaller farms house herds consisting of a few dozen, a few hundred or a thousand-plus animals, often with just one ranch-hand caring for a thousand head.
So what does caring for livestock entail? It means keeping them safe and contained, preventing animals from getting loose, getting injured or getting lost. It means tracking animals and being able to identify them using a variety of tagging or branding methods. It means culling the herd, rounding them up for sale or market. It means breeding and assisting with delivery, as well as handling basic care and vetting tasks. Finally, it means feeding and watering the animals each and every day, and making sure they are warm and dry when needed.
Of course, all the tasks involved with caring for livestock require a huge variety of tools and equipment. Think you can identify this equipment from a single image? Take this quiz to find out!
An average-sized cow can easily weigh over 1,000 pounds, so a large and easy-to-access feeder is a must on any ranch or farm. Feed bunks, also known as mangers or troughs, can be used for cattle, horses and other livestock. You can find plenty of stock options in concrete or steel, or have a custom feed bunk made to meet your needs.
Sometimes you have to take the food to where the cows are hanging out on the pasture. In this case, a portable hay feeder makes it easy to transport hay and allows cows to feed without excess waste.
A holding chute is secured to a head gate and sits immediately behind it. It's designed to be just narrow enough for animals to pass through single file, and also to prevent the animal from seeing past it.
A working chute is essentially an intermediate point between a holding pen and a holding chute. It connects the two, and typically holds five or six animals at once.
It's hard to find a simpler way to house livestock than an open-sided shed. Equipped with a single-slope roof, they protect animals from rain and sun. Whenever possible, position the shed toward the south to take advantage of the sun's heat in the winter.
A pickup truck can be used in countless ways on a farm or ranch. From hauling feed and supplies to pulling a small trailer, the pickup is a must-have piece of equipment.
You never know when you'll need to transport an animal, and the last thing you want to do is worry how to move an animal that's ill. Invest in a small livestock trailer, designed to hold between one and four animals, so you can always transport the creatures safely.
A handcart is a must-have out on the farm or ranch. From hauling soil to manure, or even heavy tack and bags and feed, it's a sturdy and simple way to make a heavy load feel easier to bear.
Livestock, storms and simple wear and tear can leave gaps and holes in fences where livestock can escape. Fence pliers make the job of mending fences easier.
Many farms and ranches are located in rural areas where municipal power is less reliable than in the city. Yet even when the power goes out, animals still need to be cared for. Invest in some heavy-duty flashlights so you can get the job done no matter what.
A crowding pen is a smaller version of a typical holding pen. It's designed to serve as an intermediate spot to hold animals before they are directed into chutes for loading.
Industrial scales let you know how much animals weigh. This is important so you can determine if they are eating enough, or how much they will earn when sent to market.
An open-sided pole shed is a slightly more advanced home for cattle than a basic open-sided shed. It's essentially a full barn with a peaked roof. One wall is absent and replaced by a series of poles. This structure is typically used with smaller herds of less than 20 head.
While standard tractors are great for plowing the land, they aren't always practical for ranching. A compact tractor or cargo ATV is useful on the ranch for setting fence posts, carrying bales of hay or even removing snow.
Let's face it -- when you work on a ranch or farm, you are going to be dealing with a whole lot of manure. While large piles draw flies, a manure spreader lets you spread the material over the ground to serve as fertilizer and keep pests at bay.
Eco-minded farmers and ranchers can deal with the huge amount of organic waste on their farms using a composter. Large barrel tumblers turn waste into compost, and are rugged enough to keep big animals out.
Baby cows come into the world kicking, but a calf table can help you handle them with ease. This device holds the animal safely in place so you can give it shots, remove horns or handle castration.
Cattle feeders are more than just a bucket full of hay. They are expertly-constructed racks that allow the cow to feed without wasting huge amounts of hay by knocking it to the ground.
Livestock should have access to clean water at all times, whether in the form of troughs or other tanks. In areas where freezing may occur, electric or solar heaters can keep the water from icing over.
Many livestock waterers have tanks attached for easy access when refilling is required. These tanks are made of steel, concrete or plastic, and are often heated to prevent freezing.
When a head gate isn't enough to hold an animal still, a cattle crush can be used instead. This device, also known as a cattle crate, holds animals in place for vetting, tagging or other types of care.
The simplest feeding rings are just round tanks or tubs filled with grain or hay. More advanced models have bars along the sides that allow animals to eat without excess food waste.
Hoop barns are a cost effective way to house larger herds. Designed like a greenhouse, they have a rounded roof and can be quite large, but pose problems when it comes to heating, cooling and ventilation.
Barley beef feeders take some of the pressure off of farmers and ranchers by automatically refilling via gravity from a large upper tank. That way, the farmer can simply refill the tank as needed and move on the the next task.
A cattle feed trailer is designed to tow behind a tractor or ATV. It features bars so cattle can feed on hay, but prevents the cows from pulling extra hay out and spilling it over the ground to go to waste.
There are countless ways to tag or mark livestock, but ear notching is one of the simplest. Notchers cut a permanent mark in the animal's ear in the shape of a V or half-round.
Hooves on animals grow just like fingernails on humans, which means they need to be maintained to prevent health issues. Hoof trimmers make it easy to trim off excess material, or to shape hooves for shows.
The wool coat on a sheep will keep on growing unless it is maintained. Sheer shears make it easy to remove the wool for use, or to prep the animal for showing.
You'll never run out of ways to use a bucket on a farm or ranch. From carrying water, feed or manure to storing fasteners or tack, buckets come in handy in almost any situation when working with animals.
Mother Nature makes it pretty easy for animals to deliver their young -- most of the time. When a cow needs a little help, a calf puller can help save the life of both mom and calf.
Dehorning can prevent injuries on the farm, and may also make animals more valuable for sale. Dehorners come in both electric and manual varieties, and are used to quickly and easily remove horns.
Some farmers place a simple band over the testicles to castrate animals. If you prefer a manual tool for this job, an Elastrator can be used on almost any species, and can also be used for docking tails.
Cows don't discriminate when it comes to what they're willing to eat, which means bits of metal and nails often end up in their stomachs. A cow magnet can limit the damage done by this metal and prevent a condition known as hardware disease.
Ever tried giving a pill to a cat or dog? Imagine doing it to an animal 10 or 20 times that size! Balling guns are tools that quickly shoot pills to the back of the animal's mouth, forcing it to swallow.
Broken or damaged teeth can cause injuries. A tooth float is used to file down the tooth to make them smooth and reduce injuries.
Ear tags serve as an easy and non-permanent way to mark animals. An ear tag applicator works like an ear piercing machine on humans, installing a tag on an animal's ear.
You can't groom a sheep with a standard brush or comb. Instead, a wool card is needed to pull and straighten the wool.
A hog snare is a simple livestock tool which consists of a pole topped with a looped cable. The cable can be thrown over the neck of an animal to catch it or restrain it temporarily.
Many ranchers today use identification tags equipped with RFID technology. With an electronic tag scanner, the tags can be read so animals can be identified. The scanner may be a simple wand on a remote device.
Nose leads can be useful for controlling aggressive animals like bulls. The lead fits through the animal's nostrils, which are sensitive, forcing the animal to be compliant.
A drencher is used to give liquid medicine in the same way a balling gun is used to give an animal pills. The device is essentially a long syringe that delivers liquid medicine to the back of an animal's throat.
During breeding season, it can be tough to tell which females have been inseminated. A marking harness is fastened to male livestock, and leaves a chalk marking on the back of a female animal after she has been mounted.
Picture a pistol syringe like an over-sized version of the plastic dropper used to give medicine to toddlers. It can be filled with liquid medicine, then "shot" into the mouth of an animal so they are forced to swallow it.