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.
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.
Every summer my siblings and I travel to our grandparents’ farm in Wyoming for a few weeks. Although it is a nice reprieve from the stresses of city life, there is certainly plenty for us to do. Each year we divvy up the work amongst ourselves and attempt to give everyone an equal share.
Last year, most of my work was centered on the livestock and cattle. I would start my daily routine by filling the cattle feeders and letting the various animals out to pasture. After this, it was my responsibility to ensure that the barn was clean and that all of the equipment was put away properly. It’s nice to be able to go to a farm for a stint, but after a few years of doing the various jobs, I’m thankful that I not there permanently.
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.
It is definitly that time of year, mud everywhere. It is a nuisance to walk outside to the car or to the mailbox and have your feet covered in mud. It gets all over your car and it ruins your good shoes. But what can you do, not much.
Out around the barn the mud is much worse and it can become a problem. If you feed outside the barn the mud will just continue to get more messy and harder to get around in. It is hard on the cattle and hard on you. Then when it freezes the ground is so uneven that it is difficult to walk on.
So, what do we do? I don’t know about everyone else but, the one thing we do is move our feeders around every few weeks to keep the mud from becoming a problem. If it does become an issue, there are times when we had to just haul in more rock. There are some areas around here that I know are 10 inches or more deep with rock that has been built up over the years.
The other way is to feed on concrete but that can also get messy and pretty quick. Then you just have to clean, clean and clean. And if not careful, it can get pretty slick. I know that when it does get in that condition it can be hazardous. The concrete can be as slick as glass and a broken leg can happen pretty easily.
Another thing we do is drag the ground area around the feeders. When the ground is still muddy yet a little frozen, we pull the drag behind the tractor and even out the ground. Now, I don’t do this myself, but Al does on a pretty regular basis. He usually does this at the same time he puts out hay for the cattle and horses.
We do the same procedure around the hay feeders. They are easy enough to pick up with the tractor and move every time we put out a new bale. This keeps the area from becoming too much of a mess and the grass will grow back come Spring.
Everyone does things differently but this just might give you another idea. I do know that a drag is a must on the farm and an important part of our farm equipment. We have ours made from 5 old tires, halved and attached together in a triangular shape with a chain that hooks to the tractors hitch. It does a great job.
As anyone who has lived or worked on a farm to attest to, it never seems like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done. From tending to the animals to maintaining the facilities, every set of hands is constantly finding a way to keep busy. Because of this hectic nature, it is extremely important to ensure that all of the daily tasks are well-planned and streamlined.
Luckily there are a multitude of supplies and equipment available to help make the most of each minute that you are working. Just one example of this is livestock feeders. They allow to feed animals is a safe and effective manner, allowing you to proceed with the rest of your daily tasks.
In todays economy we have to make use of all the things that we already have on hand. We just cannot afford to go out and buy new stuff and put it on our credit cards anymore so we must improvise. It is amazing what you can find around the barn, house or yard that you can make use of.
On of the things that we have started getting a lot of use out of is a drop sided wagon. (Look in the background of the above picture in the doorway of the barn, and you will see our wagon.) If and when we need to haul several buckets of feed at once but really don’t need the truck or tractor, it comes in very handy. A bale of straw or hay fits in it just perfect and you can pull it with you right into the barn. This little wagon can go places that other equipment cannot even fit into. It has rubber tires and maneuvers well. Having a bad back, it has became one of the farm supplies that I cannot do without. It saves me from having to carry feed out to the cattle because I can just load the buckets and pull them out to the feeders in the wagon, unload and dump. The stress and strain is no longer a problem.
Another item I have made use of is a hard rubber water trough. I placed it up next to the house under a downspout and now collect rain water in it. I have discovered that by using rain water on my seedlings and plants in my green house is better for them than city water with all the chlorine. I bottle it in milk jugs and plastic bottles and store it to use for my house plants all year round. It really works great. Even in the winter, I’ll fill the jugs and keep my supply stocked. I only have a problem if it freezes.
Look around, see what you can use out of all the things you already have. You may be surprised.