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Livestock Enterprises

Equine

Beef cattle herd

Beef Cattle

Sheep huddled together

Sheep

Goats huddled together

Goats

rabbits together in pen

Rabbits

swine babies in crate

Swine

Equine 

The Tarleton State University equine herd currently consists of approximately 35 head split into differing groups dependent on program teaching needs. These horses are used heavily for teaching and research purposes. Students gain real-world, hands-on experience through the management of the horses in a practical setting. The development of the Prospect Production and Marketing program allows students to hone knowledge and skills in equine production from conception to the sale ring. The production herd is made up of 7-9 mares of stock horse type with bloodlines focused on cutting, reining, and cow horse disciplines. The goal is not to just reproduce horses. Teaching students to be thoughtful, educated professionals who know the importance of genetic selection, reproduction, and foal development as well as develop and market high-quality prospects is the overarching emphasis.

Beef Cattle

The Tarleton State University beef cattle herd currently consists of approximately 75 head, split into a fall and spring calving herd. These cows are predominantly Angus crossbred females, with a few other crosses, to show variation in breed influence to students. The cowherd is used heavily for teaching and research purposes. Students are engaged during the management of the cows through class settings, providing real-world experiences that can demonstrate production practices in a more controlled environment. Students have the opportunity to perform and observe every aspect of production, from vaccination through breeding and pregnancy diagnosis. The addition of the newly completed Animal and Plant Sciences Center adds additional hands-on teaching and research opportunities for Tarleton students.

Sheep and Goat

Tarleton State University’s small ruminant inventory consists of a commercial medium wool flock and a high percentage Boer goat herd. These animals are available for student classroom activities, judging contests/clinics, and research. The University currently maintains approximately 20 head of each species, but plans are underway to potentially expand inventory numbers and include additional breeds.

The recent addition of the Animal and Plant Sciences facility allows for renewed small ruminant production and growth. This facility will serve as the main facility for small ruminant activities moving forward. It boasts a new working chute along with pens for lambing/kidding. Students have the opportunity to work with these animals in production practices commonly utilized in the industry. This provides the expansion of classroom theory to the real world.

Swine

The Tarleton State University Swine Center consists of four barns: farrowing, nursery, gestation, and finishing. The farrowing barn can house up to 14 sows. The nursery consists of 8 pens that can accommodate 80 head, while the gestation barn will accommodate 50 head. The finish barn consists of 12 pens and will accommodate 180 head. Students have the opportunity to work with these animals in production practices commonly utilized in the industry. Replacement gilts are hand-selected and used to maintain herd numbers. Market barrows and gilts are sold to and processed by the Tarleton Meat Lab and marketed through The Purple Tractor. The breeding program allows for the production of animals for outreach, teaching, research, and local and state contests.

Rabbitry

The Tarleton Rabbitry is a research-funded, student-supported, and student-supporting livestock enterprise at the Tarleton Agricultural Center. The facility was founded by Dr. Brandon Smith (Doc Bowtie) and began raising Californian, New Zealand, and TAMUK breeds in June 2019 but has since grown and specialized into a Californian breeding colony. The Rabbitry currently houses 80 animals including breeding does, breeding bucks, and kits (born monthly).

Operations and research efforts at the Tarleton Rabbitry are supported by sales. Throughout the year, the Rabbitry sells animals as pets, breeding animals, or stock for 4-H and FFA livestock shows. The barn operates in a sustainable manner, and all manure and bedding is composted and marketed at The Purple Tractor, sold to the community for lawns and gardens.