3 mitigation strategies on livestock theft

3 mitigation strategies on livestock theft - Blog Farm4Trade|3 mitigation strategies on livestock theft - Blog Farm4Trade

Livestock theft has left many farmers sorrowful, due to losses incurred. Sail through today as we elaborate on how to reduce livestock theft on farms.

Cattle rustlers are highly skilled cattle thieves that leave farmers in a state of shock.

Thieves use all sorts of methods to disguise their actions and go unseen: for example, they use silencer guns to quickly kill cattle and load it to the nearest towns or cities. The meat is sold and a farmer can only find hooves and a head, if lucky, at the kraal in the early morning.

Usually syndicate groups are formed in different regions, such that some farm employees work closely with these skilled rustlers.

What can a farmer do to avoid livestock theft?

  1. Immediately report to the police, if you suspect cattle rustlers in your area.
  2. Alert neighboring farmers to be on the lookout as well.

Here’s a few steps to take to be prepared as a farmer.

Animal identification

A traditional and yet frequently used method on livestock; such as cattle, sheep and goats is the use of ear tags. Each ear tag allows a farmer to jot a specific identification number, which one can identify as a farmer. Nowadays, these tags come in different colors, such that a farmer has the privilege to pick any color of their choice.

Furthermore, animal branding is still practiced. Specific stock brands that identify one’s herd are allowed to be used. And through consultation with veterinarians and animal health experts, help facilitate this process. The hind quarter, is a commonly used site for branding.

Another form of branding known as freeze branding though expensive because it makes use of liquid nitrogen. Usually, state of the art farms make use of this technique.

Microchips are sometimes used as animal identification devices that are placed under the skin of your livestock herd. The microchip often uses radio frequency identification tools. Highly advanced and expensive technology but easy to manage.

And, as a bonus for the future, farmers will be able to identify their livestock through biometric recognition as well, by simply snapping a picture of the animal with their smartphone. If they are lucky enough to get a grasp on their lost animal before it is slaughtered! This technology could also be adopted by law enforcement to give the agents a means to identify lost reported animals.

Use technology

GPS remote location is another tool used, supported by remote control and satellite network coverage. At the comfort of your home, a farmer is able to track grazing animals.

Demarcating farms is a necessity

Boundary fencing is vital in controlling theft on farms for example the use of fences or brick walls. A farmer can easily control livestock in respective camps. Furthermore, locking up of gates is often neglected especially after a long working day, but it can help reduce theft on farms.

The above mentioned tips on how to be prepared as a farmer, may help reduce theft on a farm. Continuous theft on the same farm, could mean one’s property is not fully secured. Therefore, reporting to relevant authorizes such as police and consulting with neighboring farms helps fight theft on farms.

Care for your livestock is part of good animal husbandry.


In conclusion, livestock theft is a serious concern to a farmer. Strategies on how to minimize theft have to be fully explored, to ensure success of a farm.


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