Friday, December 12, 2014

The Truth About Farms: Accidents Happen

If I close my eyes and think, it would take more than two hands to count the number of mothers I know who have had premature babies. I'm sure you know some too.

So I got to thinking. All of these women I know are fantastic people. They love their children. Given the opportunity to carry a baby full-term, it wouldn't have been a question. 

Did they do anything wrong? No!
Is it their fault? No!
What happened? Who knows.

My point is that no matter what these mothers did, they couldn't avoid having a preterm baby. It was an unfortunate event. Period.

Well folks, I'm here to tell you the same thing happens on farms. Gasp! I said it. I told you the truth, the dark side. The not-so-flowery, non public approved, it really happens fact of the matter.

I can't tell you how many seminars I've attended where people say: some things don't need to be shared to the public. If it isn't pretty, don't tell people because people don't want to know.

Well, if you don't want to know, don't read this article.

But, just like life and just like humans, sad things happen on a farm too. And I don't believe that people want things "hidden".

No matter what farmers do, calves are going to be born early. Some will break their legs. Some get sick.

Now, before you point fingers, stop and ask yourself if your child has ever caught a cold or broken their arm??

Yeah, mhmm, not so fair to bash on farmers when you see a calf in a cast. Farmers care and love their animals just the same, but accidents happen. And unlike your two or three children, farmers could have 20 or 200 to take care of.

Let me show you some examples.

This spring, we had a calf born who's front feet were turned up. They weren't broken, they were perfectly normal. The problem was, he was probably turned funky inside the womb and the tendons in his feet didn't form right. All we had to do was put some casts on and force him to stand up.

Did he wanna do it? Nope, it hurt! Was he in pain? Maybe a little. But, here's the deal, if we didn't force him to get up and walk, he was never going to walk.

(I named him Forrest because we had to "give him new legs".)

It broke my heart holding him up and making him walk because I knew he didn't like it. But the day he stood up and walked on his own, he ran! He jumped and played and ran because for the first time in his life he could walk.

It was worth it.

Here's another one. I named this little girl AnnaBelle. She was born about 2 months early.  When she was born, she was tiny! Her hair wasn't completely formed, and she was too weak to stand. We kept her under heaters for weeks.

Even when she was 2 months old, she was smaller than a baby that was a day old. I wish I had pictures of when she was a baby.

But, here she is today, at 4 months old. She's some kind of spunky. I think she knows she got more attention than the other babies.

So, yes, accidents happen on a farm. I'm sorry to tell you but it does. It breaks our hearts the same as yours. 

Here's what I'm asking. Think of a farm the same as people. Because accidents happen and we're not perfect. 

But what I can assure you is that farmers and ranchers have dedicated their lives to improving animal care and minimizing accidents the best they can. It's our job as farmers to provide for animals; you'll be hard pressed to find an occupation where people care more than that of agriculture.

So here's to you farmers: for induring the heartache and pain of running a farm when running away sounds like a far better plan.

I'll tip my hat every day and pray for ya. Thanks for providing for the animals that provide for us.  Thanks mom and dad. Thanks to ya all.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Farm Fact Friday: A Pig Is A Pig

So now that we have finished with covering what each animal is called, let's talk about the different breeds animals can be!

Just like dogs can be a Labrador or a Chihuahua; cattle, sheep, and pigs can be different breeds too! For the most part, they will be the same size vicinity, unlike that Lab vs Chihuahua, but the breeds are totally different.

So today, since I've already covered cattle, we'll dive right into pigs!

The first breed, that has the highest registration numbers, is the Yorkshire, or York. The York breed is well-known for being great mothers! York's are solid white and have ears that stand upright naturally.
Hog tip: if the breed name ends in "shire" you know it has ears that stand upright. If it doesn't, then it's ears are floppy, or down.
The next breed, also very popular, is the Hampshire. Hamps are known for their muscle!
Hamps are solid black with a white belt right behind their shoulders. Again, it ends in "shire", so it's ears stand straight up.
The next breed is totally different. This solid red hog is called a Duroc, and are known for their growth rate, and also muscling ability.
Now, the next pig, which looks strikingly similar to the York, is called a Landrace. Landrace's are also known for being great mothers! They are also solid white, but this time they have very large ears that hang down over their eyes!
Anyway, these are the most easily recognizable breeds in the hog industry. There are LOTS of others, here is a link to the National Swine Registry explaining these same breeds in a little greater detail.
Comment below for any basic ag questions! Have a great weekend.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

State Fair of Texas Entry Deadline

Hello all!

This blog post is just a friendly reminder that if you are a livestock exhibitor in the great state of Texas, the entry deadline for the State Fair of Texas youth show is MONDAY, August 25th!

Remember: entries MUST be submitted online - no mail in youth show entries accepted.

Click here to go to the online portal.

Best of luck to all! Be sure that if you have any questions at all, call the State Fair Livestock Office at 214-421-8723.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Farm Fact Friday ~ Boy or Girl ~ Horses

Okay, we have reached the end of our "name calling session"! The final blog in this group covers horses, also referred to as: equine.

Now, I will admit it. Even though I am a farm girl through and through, I am not a horse person! Yes, I live on a cattle ranch. No, I do not own a horse. I just wanted to confess that. I feel better now.

But, I do know a little about horses. Enough to write a blog on naming. Horses have a lot of name changing going on!

So when born, a baby horse is called a: foal.

A girl foal is termed: a filly. You know, like the movie :)

A boy foal is termed: a colt.

When a filly has her first baby, she is then called: a mare.

When a colt grows older, and is no longer a baby, he is referred to as a: stallion.

The colt will become a stallion unless he is castrated, at which point he will be termed: a gelding.

Whew! We've finished our name calling adventure! Once again, have a great weekend.

Be sure to comment below if you have any farm questions you would like answered! Remember, no question is "too silly", I love to talk about agriculture and I would love to answer any ag questions you have.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Farm Fact Friday ~ Boy or Girl ~ Pigs

Alright! We are breezing right on through the naming of species! Today's topic: pigs. In case anyone was wondering, pigs are termed: porcine. Easy enough.

So, pigs aren't like other farm animals, in fact, they're the most different of all. Most animals, like cows and horses, will typically have 1 baby. Pigs, however, will have litters, like dogs or cats. Pigs can have anywhere from 2-14 babies at a time!

When they're born, pigs are called: piglets. AKA the cutest animal on the planet.

The piglets that are girls are referred to as: gilts. She will remain a gilt until she "farrows" (or delivers) her first litter.

When the female has her first litter, she will change from being a "gilt" to a "sow".

Now as for the boys. When they are born, all boys are called "boars".

They will remain a "boar" all their life.

Most boar pigs, however, are castrated and used for pork products. When they are castrated, they are then called: barrows.

And that is all for the pig name calling :)

We are almost done with our naming segment. Next week is horses, then we are finished! If you have any questions or want to know more information about an area of agriculture, comment below!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Farm Fact Friday ~ Boy or Girl ~ Sheep

Alright! Time to continue our Farm Fact Friday naming system with the next species: sheep.

As I mentioned before, like cats (feline) and dogs (canine), farm animals have specific/proper names as well: sheep are considered: ovine.

Alright, so when born, babies are called: lambs.

Babies will be divided into two groups, obviously, the females are called ewe lambs.
Note: ewe is pronounced "you", it's confusing, I know.

They will stay ewes all of their life, even when they have a baby, only they will just be called "ewes" instead of "ewe lambs".

The male sheep however are called ram lambs.

They will be rams all of their life, even when they are older. Sometimes rams are also called bucks.

Only if they are castrated will their 'title' change, they will then become: a wether.

Sheep are pretty simple, definitely the easiest to remember! Have a wonderful weekend.