Archive for March, 2010
It’s official, Spring is here. It is calving season at our farm. It actually started the first of March and we now have 9 little ones on the ground. It seems that it always takes longer when your are anticipating them.
Before the season starts, we make sure our tack and livestock supplies are ready at hand. We never know when we have to saddle a horse and go check the herd. Our cows make a trip to the house every other day or so. It is then when we start to see the little ones up close and get a head count of just how many we have. If any of our cows don’t come up or we haven’t seen them within 5 days, we saddle a horse and ride.
We have to keep our gear in good condition so that we can use it in a moments notice. For our saddles, we use saddle racks to store them when not in use. This helps keep there shape and off the floor. Same as with our ropes and bridles, they have their own assigned place in the tack room for each animal. Keeping the leather soft with oil is a great way to maintain your tack. This is good for you and also for your animal.
Not keeping your tack in good condition could cause problems not only for you financially, due to having to replace them but, also for your horse to keep them from getting sores from gear that just don’t set right on their back or in their mouth.
After retiring from corporate life, my wife and I decided to move to the Midwest to be closer to our immediate relations. In order to stay busy and active, we purchased a farm on a small plot of land. We don’t plan to turn a profit from the property, hopefully just produce enough vegetables and milk so that we don’t have to buy them from the store.
When first moved in, the livestock supply left much to be desired. After doing some searching online, we found a store that carried everything from feed to livestock sorting paddles. Once we received the supplies, we quickly worked to develop a routine and get the barn, crops and animals in working order. It took some time to acclimate to the new lifestyle, but we both are enjoying the pace and atmosphere that life on the farm affords.
As far as I can remember, we have always had cats on the farm. We were not allowed to have them inside so ours stayed out in the barn. There was always more than one and at times we would get up to 15 to 20 at a time depending on how many litters were born.
Not until a few years ago when my mother decided to have a cat in her house, did I get to like the idea. I have had dogs in the house and my children all have dogs in their houses, but it has only been recently that I have thought about having one of my own. I have one now outside that I have been taming that was born in the fall and have gave serious consideration of bringing her, Raja, in and housebreaking her.
Cats are great for the farm because they help keep the rodent population under control but also make a wonderful pet. Inside cats are great for comfort and to have the pleasure and joy of having someone to cuddle with and love.
Either way, inside or out, cats need to have a healthy diet and exercise. This can be accomplished by providing activities for your cat by playing ball with them or having them take a walk with you. You mostly hear of walking your dog, why not your cat? The other thing is their diet, provide them with a healthy food made for them. If not sure what your cat needs, contact your local veterinary.
Cats, in my opinion, are a part of any farm, inside or out. The can be considered as farm equipment or supply due to their rodent reduction abilities. They are a joy to have around and are great pets. Just remember, if wanting to have one inside, make sure you have the time to spend with your cat. A well loved cat is a Happy Cat.
In July of 2008, my horse, Blaze, injured his leg pretty severely. It took us 8 months to get him healed up. It was a mess, torn tendons and infection. He healed well with some much noticed scar tissue and a swollen ankle that he will always have. In March of 2009, I was finally able to ride him again and was looking forward to getting back to riding more often.
Last week he came to the barn with a serious cut on the same leg only in front above the hoof this time. Apparently, he somehow sliced it with a piece of rubble from a barn that had been destroyed in recent storms.
So, we begin to use a proven technique to help get him healed and going again. Always remember to give your horse an out when working with him. Allow him to feel as if he has a place to go so he does not feel confined while working on him. Using an Iodine wash that we add to warm to hot water, we wash the wound with a soft bristle brush, after cleaning it well, we dry the wound and around it. We then put a powder called, Proud Flesh Powder, on it to help loosen and rid the wound of proud flesh, then we apply Ichthammol ointment to draw any infections or debris out of it. We cover the wound with a non-stick bandage then wrap with clean rag and vet wrap. After we feel we have drawn out the debris and gunk from the wound we will discontinue the ointment and use Cut & Heal Spray and then bandage.
This has helped us in getting our animals up and going again, Keeping these livestock supplies on hand really cuts down on the healing time when you need them at a moments notice.
In order to get the most out of your cattle and livestock, it is crucial to give them the proper cattle supplements. With so many products on the market today, it can be difficult to know what your animals really need. A good rule of thumb is to go with supplements that are made with all-natural ingredients.
All living creatures benefit from the same basic vitamins and minerals; so many cattle supplements will contain things that you are familiar with. Top products will have calcium, magnesium and other basic minerals. Also look for a combination of A, B, D and E vitamins in your supplements.
Meet “Charlie” our newest Rooster
Here we are and it is March already. Spring will be here before we know it and so will everything new. New grass, flowers, leaves on the trees and the wonderful smell of Spring air. With this comes new life. I am talking of the birth of the new babies on the farm. Right now we have new kids, goats, and one little calf so far, more to come. We also have baby chicks. These babies arrived as a surprise.
My hens are just now beginning to lay heavily again and when they start wanting to set in the next month or so, I’ll let them. Then we’ll have an abundance of chicks. But, for now, we have brought our 14 chicks into the house to keep them warm until they can survive out in the barn. They are in our utility room in a large water tank with a 60 watt bulb for warmth and food and water.
There are a few things you need in your farm supplies to accomplish this and they are cheap and easy to obtain. A cage or something that you can put them in to contain them with plenty of room, a small chicken feeder, a waterer, a heat source and bedding. We use sawdust in the bottom and it has been quite effective. It is easy to change when it gets dirty and doesn’t take much to cover the bottom.
Have fun on the farm and take the time to watch your animals grow.