Some Pre-Spring Tips for Lambing

two lambsWhile we know that Fall is here, and that winter is right around the corner, it’s still a good idea to get some of your ducks in a row before the spring comes. Even though the winter might feel like it lasts forever, it will eventually come to an end, and lambing season will be upon us sooner than we expect. So, here are a few tips to remember when it comes to lambing this Spring.

Is your space ready?

First thing to remember is your lambing barn ready? No two barns are going to be alike, and there isn’t one correct way of going about this. It all depends on what your needs are and what resources you have available to you. However, there are a few things that you need to make sure of. Firstly, that you have a warm, clean area for the ewes and their babies. However, there is a fine line between a warm barn and one that isn’t getting good airflow and has high humidity, you have to find a balance between getting fresh air into the barn but not creating a draft through it. Secondly, you need to make sure you have the lambing pens ready at the same time, these should be a large enough space so that the lambs have room to move around, and are equipped with a heat lamp.

Attentiveness is key!

I cannot stress this enough, when lambing you need to make sure that the lambs are getting colostrum right away. Producers should always be prepared to deal with weak or cold lambs as this can happen, especially when lambing gets into full swing. The longer these lambs go without an colostrum adequate intake and/or are still cold the most likely they won’t recover.

Nursing

In an ideal situation the lamb should nurse from the ewe around an hour after birth so that the lamb can get the full nutritional benefit of the colostrum. If the lamb is too weak to nurse, it might be necessary to tube feed the lamb. This should be done by someone who is skilled at this due to the potential health risks on the lamb from tube-feeding. Additionally, you should have some frozen colostrum and milk replacer handy in case of weak lambs. When defrosting the colostrum make sure to bring it up to temperature via warming in hot water, never in the microwave as this will destroy any nutritional value of the colostrum for the lamb.

Finally, you should have an immunization schedule in place prior to the start of lambing, by doing this you’ll be prepped for lambing and will have all the necessary equipment in place.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Taking Care of your German Shepherd

German Shepherd Male

From their imposing size to the dark, intelligent eyes, German Shepherds are one of the most recognizable dog breeds for the last century. A versatile, athletic, and fearless dog, the Shepherd is the work dog’s work dog. It takes some dedication raising a German Shepherd, but if you have the time and energy, you will have a loving companion who will be there for you and your family (including the cat) for life.

Brief History of the German Shepherd

The German Shepherd’s roots trace back to 19th century Germany, where a member of the police force wanted to develop a dog that could be used for both military and police work. The result was the German Shepherd. During WWI the breed fell out of favor in the US due to them being used by the enemy, but these dogs braved artillery fire, land mines, and tanks to supply German troops in the trenches with food and other necessity. Today, the German Shepherd is quickly becoming one of the popular dogs again, right behind the Labrador Retriever.

Shepherding the Shepherd – How to care for your GSD

The German Shepherd is a very active dog, they will not be satisfied with being a couch potato. This dog requires multiple walks a day and training to keep their active minds sated. Whether this is through learning different tricks or giving them a job, make sure your GSD (German Shepherd) has something to do. If you ignore them, those constructive impulses can quickly turn to destructive impulses.

German Shepherds are smart, active dogs who do best with active owners who are able to give them attention, exercise, and training. In other words, lots of one-on-one time as these dogs are extremely intelligent and trainable. However, make sure that you can show that you are the dominant male in the house to the dog, GSDs do not suffer fools lightly, and will take advantage of their owner to a fault if they know they can get away with it.

How to keep your Shepherd Healthy

While all dogs have the potential for genetic health problems, German Shepherds are not only known for their beauty and intelligence, sadly, they are also known for their possible health problems, specifically hip dysplasia. When a dog has hip dysplasia, the head of the thigh bone does not sit properly in the hip socket and over time, will wear down the bone, which will eventually cause arthritis in the dog. Another unfortunate disease that can affect German Shepherds is degenerative myelopathy. Similar to MS in humans, DM is a slow, terrible paralysis of the dogs hindquarters, and will eventually prevent the dog from being able to move on their own. However, you can minimize the chances that your GSD can get these diseases. Regular exercise and vitamins, along with a healthy diet can help to minimize the chances of your Shepherd from getting Hip Dysplasia and can lower the chance that they develop DM later in their life.

German Shepherd and a Baby

Finally, don’t forget to love your dog. This breed is extremely loving and needs it back. Cuddle and play with your dog daily. In the end, you’ll have a warm, loving, and loyal companion for you and your family.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Taking Care of your Maine Coon

Maine Coon Cat Upside-downMaine Coons are one of the largest cat breeds and is considered an American original breed. Also known as the American Longhair, the Maine Coon can become over 36” in length and the males can reach an average weight of 14 pounds. That’s one big kitty! However, these cats are gentle giants, they love people and being able to socialize, and because of their curious nature they will often “help” you when doing housework or chores. But, with great size comes great responsibility. These cats need maintenance in their diet as well as exercise or they will become chunky monkeys given the chance. Here are some quick easy tips to remember when you have a Maine Coon or any other house cat really.

Brushing

When dealing with a Maine Coon, or any sort of longhair domestic breed of cat, you should brush them daily at most, weekly at least. This way you cut down on hairballs, and keep them from getting matted or knotted fur. Additionally, it helps to maintain their skin health. You normally don’t need to give a Maine Coon a bath due to having very good hygiene skills and will often clean themselves via a tounge bath.

Feeding

When deciding what to feed your Maine Coon, you are going to have to spend a little extra at the pet food store. Common cat foods like Iams, Purina, and others, contain wheat and corn. Domestic cats don’t actually have the enzymes to properly digest wheat and corn like humans do. These grains that are digested simply turn to fat and are like any high fatty foods for humans. Make sure to read the ingredients before you buy, anything that has wheat or corn by-product is something you want to stay away from. Again, while I do mention that this post is about Maine Coons, this advice can be used for any sort of domestic cat breed, not just Maine Coons.

Exercise

Maine Coons love to play! They often will invent games for themselves and are always excited to see their humans. Males are often more goofy than the females, but both are very active and will always be playful throughout their life. Some, even enjoy playing “fetch.” Maine Coons love attention but are not pushy so they won’t be hounding you all the time for you to play with them.

Maine Coon kitten

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One final note, these gentle giants are a great big furball of love. They are great with children and other animals, especially dogs. Be careful before you introduce your kitten/cat to another cat, especially if they are another breed! While Maine Coons get along with their own, you’ll have to gauge your other pets reactions before you fully introduce your new pet.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Pink Ribbon Tags for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

History of our Pink Ribbon Tags

Breast Cancer Awareness Cattle TagLast year, I asked Gary to engrave a ribbon on one of our pink cattle neck tags to show our support for the men and women currently battling breast cancer. The tag turned out great and we featured it on Facebook. Then, one of our customers who wanted an order of 20 tags asked us how they could get a pink ribbon tag. This lead us to start selling the tags and what helped us raise $200 for the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County.

We’re offering them again

Ring of Pink Ribbon Cattle TagsWell, that time of year has come again, and we are proudly offering Pink ribbon tags once again. Like last year we will be donating $2.50 for each tag sold to the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County. While there are many worthy organizations out there who are working very diligently to find a cure for breast cancer, we want to keep our support local.

Our goal for this year

breast-cancer-awarenessWhile we did fall short of our 100 tags goal last year, we did start late in the month and it was a spur of the moment idea. This year, our goal is to sell 200 tags. If you’re interested in purchasing one of our Pink ribbon tags, you can find them here or by clicking on the image.

breast-cancer-infographic-2014

 

Finally, in support of those who are looking to lower their risk and who have someone in the family who has had breast cancer in the past, here is an infographic on some facts about and how you can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Why Tattoo your Pets

Most pet owners know that a good secondary line of ID after a collar and tags, is to keep your pets safe when they are lost is to have a vet implant a permanent RFID chip so that if they are lost and then found, the vet or shelter can scan them and track down the pet’s owner. However, another method to keep your animal safe is by having them tattooed. It’s safe and has been routinely done since the sixties.

Tattoo vs. Microchip

Tattooing your pet is a great and permanent way to protect your companion if they ever get lost. This relatively painless procedure uses inks or pastes that won’t react with the animal’s blood or tissue. Also, unlike a RFID chip which needs to be scanned, the tattoo is visible to the naked eye. Additionally, implanted microchips can migrate within the animal, so when they are scanned, there is the possibility that no information will be found. Finally, tattooing your animal will protect them if they are accidentally donated to a research lab, as labs are prohibited by law to use tattooed animals in experiments.


Interested? Here’s a video detailing the procedure.

Where can I get my pet Tattooed?

While Ketchum doesn’t offer pet tattoo supplies, we do carry tattoo equipment and ink for identifying your cattle and live stock. For pets, tattoos can be done by veterinarians and then are registered. Different animal organizations (humane societies, breed clubs, etc.,) have registry procedures, ask your local vet on what the procedures are to get your pet’s tattoo ID registered. The largest organization that does pet tattooing is tattoo-a-pet.com, who has been providing a pet tattoo registry since the early 1970′s.

One Final Word

No single method can keep your pet safe. While tattooing is a great alternative to microchipping your animal, it does not guarantee their safety. You should always have multiple methods of identifying your animals. Collars and tags should always be your first line of defense when ID’ing your pets, these other methods should always be a back-up method. We have a full line of different pet collar ID tags and vaccination tags available on our website.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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The Introductory Guide to Raising Cattle

Introduction to Raising CattleBack in August we wrote about the benefits of raising chickens (and tips for starting). One of the reasons the activity is becoming so popular is that you can do it in such a small space for such a small amount of money.

Raising cattle isn’t exactly the same. Yes, the benefits are outstanding. But you need more time, more money, and more space. Let’s go into it a little further.

Know Your Space

Sure, raising beef cattle is going to take up some space. But you certainly don’t need an enormous property. If you’re planning on grazing the cows on pasture you will need roughly 2 acres of space per animal. Also, cattle can be raised in a feedlot situation where you provide all the roughage and feed for them in a smaller enclosed space. Make sure you have a strong perimeter fence made of either six-strand high-tensile or four-foot high woven wire, a strong pen or corral, a shelter, and clean loafing and eating areas.

Choose Your Cattle

Many farmers might tell you that before you buy a cow take a look at their cattle. This couldn’t be more true. When purchasing your cattle make sure they are healthy. The cows should be alert, but not wild. Their eyes should be clear and free of discharge. Their breathing should be smooth without any irregularities. Their body should be full and rounded, and they should be able to move with a free and easy stride. Absolutely avoid buying any cattle with mucus coming out of their nose or if you notice any swollen legs or joints as this can be a sign of illness or infection which can possibly infect your other cattle.

Feeding Your Cattle

One of the main things that you can do to make sure your cattle stay healthy is to take care of their nutritional needs. Water is the most important nutrient to provide for your cattle, and make sure that you have a lot of it. The average full grown cow will consume somewhere between twelve to twenty gallons of water each day. Also be prepared for big appetites, as a cow can consume up to 3 percent of its body weight in dry feed per day.

Keeping Your Cattle Healthy

While nutrition is a big part of keeping your cows healthy, preventing disease and injury is just as important. Make sure to provide a stress-free environment for your cattle. Stress can make them more prone to diseases, so when handling your cattle make sure to do so in a calm and patient fashion. Also, make sure to monitor how much they eat. A decreased appetite can be an early sign of sickness in cattle. Finally, make sure to develop a strong working relationship with your veterinarian. Your vet can be a fantastic advisor to make sure that your cattle stays healthy and disease-free.

I hope this short article helps you get an idea on how to get started with raising cattle!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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Preparing Your Pet for the Cooler Weather

dog-fallIt’s not even the end of August, yet people are walking around with jackets and sweatpants. Let’s be real — it’s been a bit nippy outside lately. It’s not just rainy, it’s now rainy and cool. What gives, Mother Nature?

As much as I’d like summer to stick around another couple of months, Ketchum Mfg. is located in upstate NY. And of course, upstate NY is definitely not the warmest spot in the U.S. We can basically kiss summer goodbye at this point.

And of course, as the cooler weather starts to creep in, it means you need to follow different pet care protocol. Here are 5 tips for preparing your pet for the cooler weather.

Go to The Vet

It seems like this is something you get told at the start of every season, right? Well that’s because it’s the truth! Pets need a routine check up. You know how when the temperatures start to dip, humans tend to get sick? The same thing can happen to your pet. If your pet was fine without a checkup last year, it doesn’t mean that’s okay for this year.

Stay Extra Alert

For many American workers, the summer is a symbol of an easier work routine (a.k.a. “summer hours”). This usually means you’re around for your pet much more often. So when you get back to the normal routine in the fall, your pet may experience separation anxiety. They may start acting abnormally (chewing on household items is usually an issue). When you are around, look for changes in your pet’s personality.

Fall is also the time that decorations and holiday goodies start to come out. Keep your pets away from Halloween candy, Christmas lights & tinsel, etc.

Brushing

Noticing the start of a lot of shedding? At the end of the summer, pets tend to shed so that they’re winter coat will come in. Brush your pet regularly, as this will help to stop hair from being everywhere. If your pet is shedding heavily, you should get in touch with your vet. It can be a sign of deeper health problems.

Food

As humans, we often associate the cooler weather with hardier meals. Big holiday feasts, hot chocolate, and big bowls of soup sound familiar?

Pets aren’t the same way. Since most pets aren’t as active in the winter, they don’t need more food. In fact, they usually need less. This brings me to my next point…exercise.

Exercise

Summer is a time that pet owners can get lazy because it’s too hot to walk. Fall should be the opposite. It’s a great time to walk your pets – you won’t be dripping with sweat immediately upon walking outside. So get out there! Also remember –hydration is still important for your pet (and you as well!)

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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The Most Common Behavioral Problems in Dogs

dog-bitingOwning dogs is a joyful experience – most of the time. When they start behaving poorly… let’s just say things aren’t so easy. It usually doesn’t matter if you’re a brand new dog owner, or you’ve owned dogs for 20 years. Behavioral problems will happen. It’s when you accept and start to understand more about the problems, that you can better combat them. We’ll go through them, below.

Barking

A small bark once in a while? Not a problem – that’s just what dogs do. There’s no other way they can communicate. So when a stranger is approaching the house, or the dog hears something out of the ordinary, you’ll more than likely hear a bark.

But, constant barking? Certainly a problem. In order to prevent barking:
Don’t shout at your dog to stop. It sounds counterproductive, but shouting will just make the problem worse. Develop the use of a certain word, that when said at a normal volume, will trigger the barking to stop (similar to “Sit”, “Play”, etc.)
Change what they’re currently doing. Perhaps your dog is really bored, and just needs to play. Perhaps you’re waiting too long in between daily walks. Or maybe you just need to have your dog lie down. In situations where you notice excessive barking, simply switching up the situation could work wonders, and you could see a change in their barking behavior.
Patience is a virtue. Your dog won’t change its barking habits overnight.

Aggressive Behavior

Sure, barking could be a large part of aggressive behavior, but I’d like to break this into a category entirely of its own. Aggressive behavior could mean biting, lunging, teeth showing, etc. And if it’s serious, it’s usually not very easy to change.
•One of the best things I can recommend is working with a trainer. They’ll offer advice and plan development. It could entail creating distance between strangers, teaching different behaviors, etc.
•If that doesn’t work, you may want to talk to a veterinarian. Your dog may need a certain treatment for a condition that isn’t visible (or you don’t know about).

Leash Tugging

I noted in a recent blog that I often see dogs walking their owners, not owners walking their dog. Do you constantly find your dog pulling you along for the walk? Read about how you can change that, here.

Jumping on People

Maybe you (or your guests) get annoyed with the dog jumping up to you whenever you walk in the door. Often times, people attempt to combat this by pushing the dog down. It will get the dog off, but it won’t stop them from continuing to do it.
•The easiest way to stop this behavior is to ignore it. While it might not seem to work at first, it should over time. Dogs jump up for attention. When you don’t show them attention, they’ll learn that jumping won’t give them any benefit.

Chewing

A lot of times chewing is ok. But when your dog is chewing up your sneakers, or quite literally eating your kid’s homework, then you need to make a change.
•The most important things to have on hand are chewable dog toys. You’ll need them to show your dog what they can chew.
•Keep an eye on your dog, and confine them to certain areas until they know what they can and can’t chew.
•As with most other things, punishment will rarely help.
Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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The Introductory Guide to Raising Chickens

chicken-picture
Back in the day, if you heard someone say they were raising chickens, you’d assume they lived on a farm. It wasn’t until the late 60’s/early 70’s that community gardening programs became popular, and more people began to see advantages in urban (and suburban) agriculture over time. Nowadays, anyone can raise backyard chickens. Here’s the brief intro and tips for starting:

Why Raise Them?

-The eggs
Chickens are useful animals because they produce eggs that you can actually eat. No need to buy eggs at the supermarket again. And honestly, they’re organic and a lot tastier.

-Their personalities
You may not know it, but chickens love to play. Yes – they can run and jump, and they’re smart too. If you want to know a little bit more about their personalities, check out our blog on fascinating chicken facts.

-They’re manageable
While having a large group of chickens might seem daunting, the truth is that they’re easygoing and manageable animals. They’re also inexpensive.

Think about the expenses and tasks that dog owners have – food purchases, vet trips, daily walks, grooming, toys, and more. For chickens, you’re gathering eggs, providing food and water (not as often as a dog), and changing their bedding (once a month).

What Do You Need?

-A chicken coop. You have to be able to stand in it do the…manure shoveling.
-Food and water. Water goes in containers, and food goes in a feeder.
-Space. As I already noted, chickens are personable animals. Put chicken wire fencing on your list as well.

This stuff will, of course, cost money. But if you want to build the chicken coop yourself, it’ll probably run you only 250 – 500 dollars, depending on the size. That’s not bad for a long-term investment.

Where Do You Get Them?

You can get chickens (and baby chicks) from two main places. One choice is a local feed store (if you go in-season). Another choice is to hatch chicks from eggs. This article from BackYardChickens.com should help you out.

I hope that reading this short article has you interested in raising chickens in your backyard!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+!

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