Farm and Ranch Animals Farmworker  What They Do

Just the Facts


Attends to live farm, ranch, or aquacultural animals that may include cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses and other equines, poultry, finfish, shellfish, and bees. Attends to animals produced for animal products, such as meat, fur, skins, feathers, eggs, milk, and honey. Duties may include feeding, watering, herding, grazing, castrating, branding, de-beaking, weighing, catching, and loading animals. May maintain records on animals; examine animals to detect diseases and injuries; assist in birth deliveries; and administer medications, vaccinations, or insecticides as appropriate. May clean and maintain animal housing areas.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Animal Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Feeds and waters livestock and monitors food and water supplies.
  • Drives trucks, tractors, and other equipment to distribute feed to animals.
  • Examines animals to detect illness, injury, or disease, and to check physical characteristics, such as rate of weight gain.
  • Provides medical treatment, such as administering medications and vaccinations, or arranges for veterinarians to provide more extensive treatment.
  • Mixes feed, additives, and medicines in prescribed portions.
  • Inspects, maintains, and repairs equipment, machinery, buildings, pens, yards, and fences.
  • Moves equipment, poultry, or livestock from one location to another, manually or using trucks or carts.
  • Cleans stalls, pens, and equipment, using disinfectant solutions, brushes, shovels, water hoses, or pumps.
  • Marks livestock to identify ownership and grade, using brands, tags, paint, or tattoos.
  • Herds livestock to pastures for grazing or to scales, trucks, or other enclosures.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves bending or twisting your body more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Lighting is either extremely bright or inadequate
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves walking or running more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Moving the arms, legs and torso together when the whole body is in motion
  • Judging how far away an object is, or which of several objects is closer or farther away
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person
  • Lifting, pushing, pulling, or carrying objects
  • Using abdominal and lower back muscles repeatedly or over time without tiring

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Aquaculture Worker -- Performs routine tasks in breeding and raising fish and other aquatic stock.
  • Artificial Breeding Distributor -- Manages distributorship concerned with collecting and packaging bull semen and inseminating cows.
  • Chicken Vaccinator -- Vaccinates poultry for diseases, such as pox and bronchitis, by placing vaccine in drinking water, dusting air with vaccine powder, injecting vaccine in eye, leg, vent, wing web, or nostril of bird, using medicine dropper or hypodermic needle.
  • Cowboy -- A hired man who tends cattle and performs many of his duties on horseback.
  • Dude Wrangler -- Performs a combination of services for patrons of a dude ranch to enhance guests' enjoyment.
  • Exercise Rider -- Ride horses to exercise, condition or lead other horses.
  • Groom -- Cares for horses and mules to protect their health and improve their appearance.
  • Hatchery Attendant -- Performs any combination of tasks to trap and spawn game fish, incubate eggs, and rear fry in fish hatchery.
  • Kennel Worker -- Looks after dogs and cats in kennels or catteries.
  • Lamber -- Observes ewes to determine delivery time and assists ewes during delivery.
  • Sheep Shearer -- Shears wool from live sheep, using power-driven clippers or hand shears.
  • Stable Hand -- Handles horses, preparing them for their daily routine, attending to stable duties such as feeding and walking horses as well as assisting the horses on race day.
  • Worm Farm Laborer -- Mixes sand, loam, and specified organic materials to make growing media for breeding earthworms.