Types of Ranching

A ranch generally means  animal farm with suitable amenities and implements. Ranches can be classified according to their uses or kind of animals found in them. 

Ranching is a form of agriculture focused primarily on raising grazing livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, and horses. It involves extensive management of large tracts of land, typically called ranches, where animals are raised for meat, wool, or other animal products. Ranchers use their land to provide food and water for their animals and must manage their grazing patterns to ensure sustainable use of the land. Ranching practices vary by region and culture but often involve a mix of traditional and modern techniques to care for livestock and preserve the environment.

 Types of Ranching

  • Livestock/ cattle ranch
  • Guest ranch
  • Game ranch or hunting ranch

1. Livestock/ Cattle ranch

Alt: = "photo of livestock ranch"
Source: nationalgeographic.org

Livestock Ranch is a place with suitable amenities and implements where cattle and livestock animals are raised for meat, dairy or wool. Livestock ranch can also include facility where animals are raised for photography and ecotourism. A typical example of it is the Obudu Cattle Ranch in Cross River, Nigeria. Ranching is the practice of raising cattle and livestock animals in a confined space. Ranching is mostly practiced in America and Europe. In recent times, some African countries have started adopting ranching as method of rearing livestock. One of the Problems of Beef and Dairy Production in many African countries is not adopting ranching as method of intensive livestock farming 

Livestock ranch can further be classified according to livestock raised on it and of what purpose. 

i. Cattle ranch: for beef or dairy production, 

ii. Goat Ranch: for meat, dairy, wool or leather production, 

iii. Sheep ranch: for meat, dairy or wool production etc

Note: some livestock ranches have different livestock in stock. Some livestock ranchers practice mixed farming system. Mixed farming is a system whereby both crops and livestock are raised on the same farm. In a mixed farming system, the farmer may keep cow for milk, goats and sheep for meat and wool, and grow food crops and hay to feed his animals. While manure from the animal dungs serve as source of manure to improve the soil fertility. 

Livestock ranching most times leads to deforestation especially the mechanized ranching. The deforestation has had adverse effect to the ecology. This has led to a type of livestock ranching called ZERO RANCHING or ZERO DEFORESTATION RANCHING. The Zero Deforestation Reaching is mostly practiced in Brazil, Egypt and South Africa. Zero deforestation ranching is a type of ranching where the trees and other vegetation within the trace of land are not cut down or cleared. The vegetation  make for pastures and shades for the animals while preserving the ecosystem. In the zero ranching, animals are raised in their natural habitat. Zero deforestation ranching also helps in solving feed problems faced by ranchers. Read How Zero Ranching Helps in Solving Feed Problems

2. Guest ranch

Alt: = "guest ranch photo"
Source: planeofhotels.com

Guest ranch also known as Dude ranch is a type of ranch with tourist facilities for holidaying. Some of fun activities in guest ranch are horseback riding, photography, trail rides. It provides relaxation experience in a natural environment. Guest ranch provides accommodation, restaurant, recreational facilities. Some guest ranches offer game ranching services by allowing visitors to have hunting experience.

According to Wikipedia, guest ranch probably originated in Dakota in 1880, where the first documented ranch was established near Medora, North Dakota.  The ranch was owned by Eaton brothers. The ranch offered hospitality to adventurers from the West called “dudes” in the West. Over the centuries, guest ranch has revolutionized and has become a lucrative business and luxury lifestyle for the upper-class.

3. Game Ranch or Hunting ranch

Alt: = "photo showing parays game ranch, Lusaka"
Photo: Parays Game Ranch, Lusaka 
Source: destimap.com

It’s a ranch for hunting.  It’s basically built for hunters. Sometimes, hunting ranch is integrated into a guest ranch to carter for hunters and/ or to allow visitors have hunting experience while holidaying in the guest ranch. It’s also know as Wildlife ranch. 

Game ranching finds its origin in Africa as the region’s forests are most suitable for wild animals. Game ranching is mostly practiced in South Africa, Zambia  as their domestic laws provide for private ownership of wildlife. Establishment of game ranch is a capital intensive investment

Some of the wildlife in the game ranches are deer, bison, elephant native to each region. Exotic species are some times imported from other regions, although some people are skeptical about such practices for fear of introduction of alien diseases to the native species. Some cultures and laws are against keeping wild animals in a controlled environment just for kill by hunting, and the use of other animals as baits in gaming. 


There you have it. There are basically three types of ranch — livestock ranch, guest ranch and game ranch. 


Ikechukwu Evegbu

Ikechukwu Evegbu is a graduate of Statistics with over 10 years experience as Data Analyst. Worked with Nigeria's Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. A prolific business development content writer. He's the Editor, Business Compiler

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