Archive for June, 2010
Several years ago my wife and I purchased three acres of property about an hour and a half north of Seattle. After living in urban areas for the last three decades, we found ourselves pining for a respite from the concrete jungle. For the first few years, our new home served as a welcome oasis from the cluttered nature of city life.
In recent months, however, there has been a drastic increase in the number of residents in the area; it appears that other people have developed a yearning for the simplicity of rural life. In order to maintain some of our privacy and separation, I’ve constructed a fence around the perimeter of the property. And in order to ensure our easy access, I’ve even included a drive through gate.
What causes a bull or a cow to go blind? It is not always caused by an injury; it can be caused by allergies or particles in the air that irritate and by irritation of flies and insects. If not treated quickly can cause blindness.
I am talking about a form of Pink – eye, an acute contagious conjunctivitis marked by redness of the eyeball. The symptoms are redness and swelling of the eye and some can even get ulcerated spots on their eyes. This actually causes temporary blindness. They will run into fences and walk in circles due to confusion. They can get lost from the herd and if cornered can become dangerous due to lack of sight and fear of the unknown.
This particular form must be treated medically by an antibiotic spray (that you can purchase from you local veterinary) given with an antibiotic injection. We use LA – 300 Antibiotic (also purchased from vet), this is one livestock medicinal item we keep on hand in our medical and farm supplies. Both of these, the spray and the injection, given together will help your animal heal and recover quickly with less risk of total blindness. Most will recover with 100% of their vision restored but, there may be some that will not fully regain their eyesight back at 100%. Depending on how long they had the infection and how severe the infection will determine what damage was caused.
It is most imp0rtant to treat your cattle and livestock as soon as you notice any signs of irritation or redness of the eyes. It does happen to the best of us; we work the farm; planting fields, away from the livestock , maybe at a second j0b and do not notice the changes right away. They, also, do not just creep up overnight either, so to speak, so it is no wonder that it can get away from us, at any given time. We just have to do the best we can and as soon as we notice a problem; we tackle it head on and give it our full attention and care.
There is not one single thing that can prevent this particular infection from occuring in your livestock but as a preventative measure, keep your pastures cut low enough during the growing season so that your livestock are not fighting the tops of the grasses and weeds to feed on the grass available to them. As a preference, we try to keep ours cut no shorter than ankle length when we mow the pastures. This allows the grass to contiunue its growth and kills most of the weeds or, at least, causes them to grow at a slower pace allowing the cattle enough grass to eat during the spring, summer and fall seasons.
Nothing hurts more than the heartbreak of losing someone or something you love. The something I am referring to is the loss of a couple of kids, goats, that contracted Coccidiosis. Being a beginner in the raising and handling of goats; it was a shock to me when my kids started getting sick. I have had my herd for over 2 years and this had not been an issue for me so I was at my wits end.
I read up on the symptoms they were showing and most of it pointed in the direction that I needed to de-worm them. I hadn’t considered that they would need that at such a young age but, then again, I was totally at a loss. So, checking with the vet, I got what I needed and de-wormed the whole herd of 15, making sure to disperse the correct dosage per body weight, per animal. They seemed to improve some but in two weeks, I knew it had to be done once more. The time came and I done another round. A couple of days later, one of my kid nannies became weak and I had to remove her from the herd and give IV solution for dehydration. She did not make it. I was devastated! I did not understand what was happening.
I called the vet again and explained the weakness and dehydaration symptoms and lack of appetite and told him my smallest was down and the others were showing similar signs. After due consideration, he prescribed a Corid Drench for 5 days and a liquid to add to their drinking water for the older ones. Coccidiosis, which can be fatal if not treated in time, is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites that attack the epithelial tissue of animals and my little ones had it. My littlest was not strong enough to withstand the medication, another loss.
I began working with them on a schedule and drenching them once daily. Cleaned out their feeders and re-strawed their barn. They would be confined for 5 -10 days and needed a clean dry place to get over this. After a couple of days, their appetites increased, the diarrhea cleared and they were playing again. They even began to look healthier.
I was relieved but we were not out of the woods yet. They were not 100% and Doc said as a preventive and precautionary measure, I should change their feed to a medicated one that controls just this issue. So I did.
I now feed Goat Power feed with medication for Coccidiosis mixed in. It has given me great results and the goats love the taste. They look forward to that everyday. From this experience, I have learned to keep Doc’s number close at hand and when I see something that is not quite as it should be to question it, even if it amounts to nothing in the long run. Sometime it just may save a life.
Summer on the farm is one of the busiest times of year. We have fields to plant, hay to bale, pastures to mow besides the everyday jobs of feeding and caring for the livestock. Summer, for most folks, is a fun time. They go to their 9-5 jobs and come home and relax, cookout, swim, ballgames and whatever. Here on the farm, especially if you have a second job, which most of us do these days, farm work is our relaxation time. We put in long hours and less sleep and still continue to function normally, well, most of the time.
It is also a time for the kids to learn about animals and their care. We have a niece, age 4, and a grandaughter, age 2, that come to the farm often. Kalissa, our niece, has always been the little ranch hand but hasn’t been here much lately. Kennedy, on the other hand is here every week or at least every other. Between the two of them, they are the more excited to play with the animals that they will absolutely wear them out, or at least me, before they ever wind down.
Both girls now want to learn how to handle the goats and show them at the county fair. This info was discussed last week and in the process of explaining the need for them to spend more time on the farm to learn seemed to go over well with them. At least during the day, anyway, Kalissa had a bad overnight experience with a babysitter, woke up and did not remember where she was and Mom was not there and now is staying close to home at night. Fear of Mommy not being there, I guess. Any way as long as the daylight is on we are good to go.
So to start, we have to have goats, of course, and I have a small herd with 2 yearling nannies that are just at the right size for them to show. The problem being they decided a little late to do this and the fair is in 4 weeks. So, I suggested to start working with the kid nannies that are 4 months old and start putting a lead on them and messing with them some. So that is our plan. Now to just get started on a regular basis to have them ready for next year.
Another favorite is riding Blaze, my gelding. He is around 10 years old and gentle as a kitten. Anyone can ride him with any kind of horse sense, so to speak. The girls are learning to get used to him by being led bareback first. This teaches them balance and helps them lose their fear. Kalissa has no fear when it comes to animals and Kennedy is right behind her. A year ago, Kennedy was terrified and now that she spends time on the farm she just loves it. They cannot go a whole day here without getting Blaze out to ride. They will soon get to visit the tack room and learn how to care for their gear. They will pick a saddle from one of the many saddle racks and be shown how to clean and care for it, this will give them a sense of pride and they will want to take care of their equipment. They will graduate to a saddle and then we will begin with the bridle. It should be fun to watch them progress and the excitement they show is just wonderful.
Summer is such a great time to enjoy life on the farm and to learn new things, the girls love it.
Joint pain and inflammation is a constant concern for all horses and their owners. The main cause of most joint problems is the joint fluid. In a healthy horse, the joint fluid will be thick in order to provide lubrication and promote cartilage health. When a horse lacks the necessary antioxidants, however, the fluid will thin and joint problems will ensue.
Joint problems typically arise when training first begins or the horse’s workouts are particularly rigorous. Exercise creates free radicals in the body, and without the proper antioxidants, they will wreak havoc on the horse. In order to combat these negative effects and maintain your horse’s health, it is imperative to augment their diet with horse joint supplements.
As any proud homeowner will attest, it takes hard work and dedication to get your lawn and garden up to snuff after a long winter. When the snow melts, there’s an abundance of debris to be raked and cleared away. Flowerbeds must be dug and fresh bulbs planted. With all these tasks and more vying for your attention, it’s easy to forget about the importance of pruning your trees.
The aesthetic advantages of pruning are obvious, but there are significant health and safety benefits to the practice as well. Reduce the likelihood of falling branches and limbs causing injury to you and your family members by getting out the various implements from the garden tool caddy and eliminating the dead patches of trees. Trimming dead branches promotes healthy growth in the future. Lush, green trees and shrubs should be the centerpiece of your well-manicured yard.