Tips For Choosing A First Family Pet

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Introducing a new pet to your household can provide your household with a loving companion that can teach your kids about responsibility and compassion as they and you help care for the animal. However parents, it’s important to remember that not all pets are created equal when it comes to compatibility with kids. Here are some tips that can help you select a first pet that’s suited to living with kids and won’t outgrow your home.

1. Consider Your Family’s Lifestyle

One of the most important things to first take into consideration is your family’s lifestyle as a whole when you’re choosing a pet. Is the house empty most of the day or is there someone at home throughout? If it’s empty most of the day, a puppy that needs to be taken outside multiple times might not be the most ideal choice.

2. Financial Responsibility

Any pet, big or small, requires a financial commitment from the family. Food isn’t free, and neither is healthcare for pets. That being said, some pets are much more expensive to care for and feed than others. Adopting a rescue might be a noble choice, but one that comes with preexisting health issues will also bring a slew of medical bills that might break the bank. Think about how much room there is in the family budget, and keep that in mind when you consider upkeep costs for the pet.

3. Allergies

Some pets are more aggravating to allergies than others, and living with an animal that triggers those allergies can be miserable. For example, no matter how much your child begs for a puppy or kitten, if someone in the home is allergic to pet dander, it’s just not a good idea to bring one home. However, there is a little caveat to this, there are cats and dogs that are hypoallergenic, it just takes a little research into which breeds (and how expensive they are) fall into this category.

4. Space Constraints

A small, cuddly, baby fluffball might be cute and extremely tempting to bring home, but sometimes, those cute little babies can grow up into large, unwieldy pets. An iguana might be small when you bring it home, but some can grow up to 6 feet in length! Similarly, a Great Dane might not be the best choice of canine companion for a small apartment.

Great Pyrenees being a goof ball

5. Animal Care Requirements

Every pet has certain care requirements that are non-negotiable and must be taken care of. Litter boxes need to be cleaned, dogs need to be walked, fish fed, and gerbil cages cleared. If the primary goal of owning a pet is to help introduce a level of responsibility for your kids, make sure that the animal care requirements aren’t beyond their ability to manage.

6. Be Realistic About Responsibilities

This next tip fits in with #5 above. You may have these grand ideas that your child is going to be a major participator in pet chores, however, be prepared to shoulder that burden yourself if the kids don’t hold up their end of the bargain.

7. Do Your Homework

The best way to choose a pet that will mesh well with your family is to simply do research about any type of pets that you may be considering. Don’t be swayed by the cuteness of certain baby animals, and make sure you don’t simply buy on impulse. Create a list of pet types that would be suitable for your home, and narrow down the options to find the one that will be a good fit for your family.

Also, make sure that if you get a four legged furry companion, that you have them properly identified. This will not only save you from heartache later, by making sure that they are always easily identified in case they get lost.

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10 common myths about farming

Farming and agriculture are the backbone of our country, without farms we’d starve. However, many myths and urban legends swirl around this hard-working bedrock industry. In honor of the farmers in New York, and around the US we’re helping to set the record straight by disproving ten of the most popular myths about farming.

#10 – All farms are large corporate industrial farms

Completely untrue! 97 percent of all farms are family owned and run, and some have even been passed down from older generations. Don’t let the names of some fool you. Just because a farm has an “inc.” on the end of their name doesn’t mean they’re a corporate farm.

#9 – Farmers don’t care about their animals

When someone claims that farmers do not care about their animals they couldn’t be further from the truth. Farmers do what the animal needs, when they need it to make sure that the animal is taken care of. From staying up all night birthing calves on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day (yes, this happens), to going out in sub-zero temperatures in the middle of the night to make sure their water isn’t frozen and they can get to their food, farmers do it all. For farmers, their animals are just another extended part of their family.

#8 – Farmers don’t care about their damage to the environment

Honestly, farming is one of the greenest professions out there these days. With advancements in technology growing exponentially daily, farmers are able to use less fertilizers and chemicals, while producing more product. Additionally, the land that the farmer uses is their greatest resource, it feeds their animals, and nurtures the plants they grow, why would they want to sully that?

#7 – Small farms don’t matter, and are eaten up by larger farms

You know how earlier I said that 97% of farms are family owned? Well, a good portion of that percentage is small farms. Small farms are what allow people to get locally produced food and able to know the farmer that helped raise their meal.

#6 – Farmers are uneducated

This myth is a doozy, and I can’t stand it! The truth of the matter, not only does the farmer have to know how to farm, they must also be mechanics, weathermen, vets, and a business owner. The days of using old farm wisdom passed down by family members is long gone. Times have changed and so have the duties and knowledge necessary to be a farmer.

#5 – Farmers are rich

Farmers don’t farm for the money, they do it for the love of the job. I’m not saying that there aren’t rich farmers out there, but a few does not make up the whole. Farmers farm because they love the lifestyle, they know it’s one of the backbone industries of our country, or they do it for the love of farming. Whatever their reason is, be sure it isn’t for the money.

#4 – There’s no future in agriculture

Completely untrue. One of the highest growing industries is actually farming. Not only are the numbers growing in agriculture related degrees, the number of young farmers is growing consistently.

#3 – Farmers line their pockets from the cost of food

Many people believe that food prices are driven by what the farmer wants to charge the stores so that they make as much money possible. However, only 15 cents goes to the farmer. The rest goes to paying things such as transportation, labor, processing, and other business costs. Unfortunately, many of the direct and indirect costs that farmers face, such as insurance and feed for the animals, are not as easily covered. Additionally, these costs are even harder to deal with when there’s a drought, hail, hurricane, flooding or any other sort of natural disaster that wipes out the crop, the farmer can lose most of their year’s income but still have to deal with the costs.

#2 – Food costs too much

In some parts of the world, this is absolutely true. It not only costs too much but is unavailable to many people. But in the United States, we have one of the most abundant and affordable food supplies in the world. In a recent study, food costs were shown to make up about 7% of our income. In Japan, it’s 14%; China, 21%; and India was 51%.

#1 – Our food is unsafe

Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the headlines that a commodity or a producer is having problems. Thus, the reason these stories are called news, because it is outside the realm of normal. The truth is, the food industries has some of the strictest standards and regulations of any industry. For example, before a cow can be cleared for slaughter, the slaughterhouse must test to make sure that any antibiotics or hormones have completely passed through their system. In fact, many other foods contain higher levels of hormones that are astronomically higher than that found in dairy and meat products.

So I hope this helps dispelled some myths about farming for you. So, next time, you want to pick up some great produce at a local store, remember to thank your farmers!

Sources:

http://wsm.wsu.edu/researcher/WSMaug11_billions.pdf

http://www.realfarmersrealfood.com/

http://www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/productsafetyinformation/ucm055436.htm

http://www.usda.gov/documents/FARM_FAMILY_INCOME.pdf

http://findourcommonground.com/food-facts/corporate-farms/

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7 Important Pet Safety Tips for Spring

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Even though spring technically starts on March 20th, the month of April is when it really begins. It’s that time of the year for warm weather, fresh gardens, and enjoying the outdoors with your pet. You can finally take your pet outside and not put on 5 layers for the freezing cold! But as with any change of season, there are always some important safety tips to consider. Let’s take a look at some of the most important ones:

Vet Visit

Spring is a great time to schedule a veterinary visit, especially if it’s been awhile. You can ask your veterinarian about topics like tick & flea prevention, spray/neutering, and more. Your vet will also observe/test your pet for any problems that may have come up during the winter. It’s been a tough winter in the northeast – things can happen!

Watch the Lawn & Garden

Fertilizers, herbicides – all that stuff that helps your lawn stay healthy certainly won’t do the same to your pet. Take special care in keeping your pet away from a freshly sprayed lawn. If your pet starts eating the grass, the results could be fatal. On the same token, certain plants can cause problems for pets. Some plants are poisonous, some will cause allergies, and others will cause choking hazards. Don’t let your pet roam around in an area you’re not familiar with.

Home Cleaning Supplies

Not only is spring the time to get your lawn in shape, but your house as well. Be mindful of all the cleaners you’ll be using to scrub the floor, dust the fans, and more. Make sure your pet doesn’t get into the cleaning supplies, as it could prove fatal.

Insect Bites

You know how insect bites are a big pain for humans – especially the ones that make you concerned? That same concern should be taken if your pet is bitten, too. Make sure serious insect bites are treated.

Pools

A lot of people wait until its summer to open up the pool. Some like to get it done with in the spring. Remember, pets should never swim unattended.

Open Windows

When you keep the windows open, make sure there’s a screen so your pet isn’t tempted to hop out. Now is the time to fix those broken screens!

Pet Tags

Pets are ready to get out and run around by the time spring rolls around. You’ll want to take them to a lot of new places – the dog park, a mountain, a nice walk on a new street, etc. And that’s all perfectly fine, as long as you keep an eye on them and they’re tagged. You certainly don’t want your pet to get lost!

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Some Tips For Raising Ducks

In the past we’ve talked about raising chickens, goats, sheep, and even cows. However, there is one fowl that we haven’t talked about yet, but is a common occurrence on many farms. Of course I’m talking about ducks. Now, raising ducks is not necessarily a simple task, however, they tent to be easier to care for than other fowl and can be enjoyable to watch and tend to. So read on for our collection of tips and to-do’s when raising ducks.

Ducklings

Safety First!

One thing that is important to remember is health safety when it comes to raising ducks. Like chickens, ducks may have Salmonella germs in their dropping and on their bodies, even if they appear healthy and clean. These germs can also get on anything the duck interacts with within their habitat. Of course, this can pass on to the caretakers if they’re not careful. Always make sure that you wash your hands immediately after handling the ducks or anything in the area that they live in.

Feeding Baby Ducks

When taking care of baby ducks make sure to never feed them without water. Water helps get the food down and clean their beak vents. Always give baby ducks access to water for at least an hour before feeding and an hour after. Also, when providing them with water make sure to use a chick fountain or shallow bowl, and be prepared to clean the area often. Ducklings love to splash around in the water, which can be adorable, but also a pain in the rear once they’re done. Also when providing water make sure that it is no deeper than a quarter inch so that the ducks don’t drown.

Providing Shelter

When you have ducklings, you can’t put them into a normal shelter to protect them from predators and weather. There is a special cage you will need called a brooder. These help keep the ducklings safe and warm and can be made in the home or out of easy to get materials. For the base you can use a spare bathtub, plastic tote, dog crate, or even a sturdy cardboard box lined with plastic. Additionally, until they reach 7 to 9 weeks, you’re going to want to keep a heat lamp on the brooder to keep the ducklings warm. The reason being, before they reach that 7 to 9 week point, ducklings can’t regulate their internal temperature and need outside sources of heat to keep them alive. For the first week that the ducklings are in the brooder the temperature should be 90 degrees Fahrenheit. After that first week you will want to lower the temperature by a degree a day until the temperature is equal with the temperature outside the brooder.

What Came First? The Duck Or The Egg?

Once the ducks are old enough, and the females begin producing eggs, they can actually be used as a good replacement for chicken eggs. They’re the same as chicken eggs but are much larger and contain higher levels of protein, calcium, iron and potassium. Additionally, they’re can be useful when baking cakes, as the extra protein helps the cake to rise, and the fat content can add more richness and flavor to the bakery treat.

What are some of your tips and tricks when it comes to raising ducks? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Why You Should ID Your Sheep

Identification is a very important tool when managing livestock. Every successful business operation must have accurate records, and the livestock industry is no different. Where sheep are concerned there are several differentiations in identification. There are permanent, semi-permanent, and temporary. Curious what each is used for? Read on.

lamb[1]

Ear Tags

Ear tags are some of the most commonly used form of livestock identification. They come in many forms and colors and are usually made from plastic or soft metal, such as brass. The metal ear tags are usually the same size and take along the same shape, the plastic ones come in different colors and a few different shapes. Brass tags are ideal for using on small and newborn lambs because they’re light and won’t pull down on the ear. Each style of ear tag, metal and brass, can be numbered or be left blank in case you use your own numbering and ID system. These tags are applied to the animal’s ear using an ear tagger which acts similarly to a piercing gun used for human ear piercings.

Scrapie Identification

While not used primarily on the farm, these tags are used when shipping sheep and lambs out of state. The U.S. Dept. Of Agriculture requires almost all sheep and lambs to have premise identification ear tags before leaving their farm of origin. This is done to help eradicate scrapie disease, and identifies where every sheep came from when shipped. These tags are applied like a normal ear tag using a tagger.

Tattoos

Tattoos are one of the best forms of permanent livestock identification. They don’t harm the animal’s appearance nor reduce its value. This is usually done by tattoo gun or by press, with the numbers and letters made of needles that place very small holes in their shape and then ink is applied to the holes so that the number is readable. The downside is that the tattoos are very hard to read at a distance and will require catching the animal to read the tattoo.

Ear Notching

Ear notching is done by placing a V-shaped notch placed somewhere in the ear. While swine producers use this system as a way to identify their livestock. Sheep producers mainly use it for simple differentiation. For example, a farmer may use ear notching to denote birth type or when the lamb/sheep was born. Additionally, it can be used to mark ewes for culling.

Neck Chains

Finally, there’s neck chains. This form of identification is most commonly used for dairy animals such as cows or goats. The chain needs to be placed around the animal’s neck tight enough that it doesn’t fall off but loose enough so it doesn’t choke them or cause growth problems, which means constant inspection. Additionally, chains can be caught on objects causing the animal to choke. I would not consider this a permanent form of identification as the chains can be easily removed.

What do you use as a form of livestock identification? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you’re in need of some livestock ID tags or tattooing supplies check out our full line of supplies.

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

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Is A Great Pyrenees The Peer For You?

Once known as the royal dog of France with their stunning white coat and imposing presence, the Great Pyrenees is considered one of the most beautiful breeds today. The Pyr is a member of the working dog family, and has a rich heritage as a flock guarding dog used in the Pyrenees mountain range that spawned its name. Today, the Great Pyrenees is a family companion and is a great dog to have around kids and other animals. However, they do require a good deal of attention and training, so the question is; Is a Great Pyrenees the peer for you?

Great Pyrenees being a goof ball

Temperament and Personality

At their best, the Great Pyrenees is confident, gentle, and very affectionate toward their family, especially with children. However, their heritage as a guard dog makes them territorial and protective. Early socialization is essential to prevent this dog from becoming overly mistrustful or fearful of change. So if you do decide on a Pyr puppy, make sure you are bringing them with you on runs and other social outings where animals are appropriate. Great Pyrenees are also extremely smart and will pick up on nuances very quickly. When training, make sure to use positive reinforcement techniques and don’t make them repeat the same actions over and over, they will get bored very quickly if you do. Don’t get frustrated though, these dogs like to push the limits and then take a few steps past them. Just be patient and firm, these dogs might be stubborn but they will listen to their humans.

Pyrs generally get along well with other household pets. They’ll ignore the harassment from smaller dogs, and will only fight as a last resort. Additionally, two mature Great Pyrenees of the same sex will not get along together as house pets.

Grooming

The Pyr has a beautiful double coat that is usually white or white with markings. They also shed year round, so prepare to have to brush them weekly for about a half hour. Outside of that, standard care as needed (clean the ears, trim the nails, and bathe when necessary).

Feeding

This might come as a surprise, but Great Pyrenees don’t need a lot of food. Because of their temperament and low metabolism, they eat as much as a Border Collie or a Sheltie would. However, you’re going to have to get the big breed food for them.

Well, we hope that this helps you out with what you’re going to have to keep in mind before deciding on these giant balls of white fur. For any ID tag or Rabies tag needs, feel free to drop by our site, we’ll be happy to help!

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Tips to Keep Your Cat Healthy and Active This Winter

A couple weeks back, we featured Tim from Saratoga Dog Walker who was kind enough to give us a great post on how to keep your dogs happy and healthy this winter. Well, as a sequel to our canine friendly post here are our top tips for keeping your feline companions happy and healthy this winter season.

siberian

Give Your Cat Some Company

While it’s true that some cats prefer to be the only fur love of your life, many do enjoy having a companion (read: minion) to play with. This should be done slowly and carefully, to make the experience the most pleasant for all residents, humans included. While most cats are aloof and seem less emotional than humans, it doesn’t mean that they don’t get lonely.

Make Mealtime Fun For Your Cat

If your cat’s routine is eat a lot and then sleep, and proceeds to repeat that cycle all day, that is a quick path to having a Garfield level roly-poly. To avoid this, you can try hiding food around the house/apartment or in feeding toys. This will help increase your cat’s activity and help hone their hunting instincts. Additionally, the game will make them more interactive with you, and studies show that animals enjoy their food more when they have to work for it.

Don’t Forget Treat Time Also!

Try playing a game of hide and seek with a catnip or treat toy. Start off by showing them where it is and placing it somewhere the cat can see. When they get to the toy, give them a treat (or let them get the treat out of the toy), and then start the game again, as they begin to understand the game more, you can proceed to make it more difficult for them to find.

Schedule Some Playtime!

One thing that should come intuitively is playing with your cat. While tossing the catnip toy can get them going for a little bit, if you devote some time to some serious play, you’re sure to give your cat (and maybe yourself) a good workout! Try taking 10 minutes out from your evening and get on the floor with some of your cat’s favorite toys and have some fun!

 Try Teaching Them Some Tricks

Just like dogs, cats can learn some tricks as well. Simple tricks such as come, sit, fetch and stay (contrary to the cat’s opinion and personality)! Start with a treat that your cat loves and practice for around fifteen minutes a day. You may need to break up the treat into small pieces, just to limit the cat’s treat intake. Once your cat performs the desired action reward them as soon as the action is done so that they associate the reward with the command.

It’s A Jungle In There!

Another great way to keep your cat active is to pick up a cat tree for them. Cats love climbing so that they can survey their kingdom (read: your home) better. Cat trees give cats new nooks to explore and places to relax in.

Cat in cat tree

Walking Your Cat, Yes You Can Do That

As crazy as it sounds, you can actually leash train your cat. Cats love exploring and can learn to walk comfortably with a harness and leash on. It can be a long and arduous process, and you’ll have to be more stubborn than the cat to teach them, but, if your cat is curious about the outdoors, this could be a great way to introduce them to it. Just remember, if you’re cold, then they certainly are. Make sure the strolls are simple and enjoyable for the both of you. However, be prepared to get them back into warmth quickly if need be.

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

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Local Spotlight: Lake Luzerne-Hadley Fire Dept.

I know that we’ve posted in the past about our furry friends and how to take care of them along with some interesting things on personal farming and gardening. But, this week we wanted to take a moment to highlight friends of ours that put there lives on the line to save ours and our homes. So, this post is going to be dedicated to the brave firefighters of the Luzerne-Hadley Fire Department.

History of the Luzerne-Hadley Fire Department

The history of the LHFD starts back in the early 20th century. in 1926, the Rockwell Falls Presbyterian Church was completely destroyed along with two other buildings. This fire caused over $50,000 in damages that day. Just to give you an idea, that would be equivalent to a fire costing a community in almost a million dollars in damages today. This fire brought the community together to vote to create the beginnings of the Van R. Rhodes Fire Company.

In January of 1927, three hundred men gathered together in the Gem Theater on Main Street in lake Luzerne and organized the Rockwell Falls volunteer fire company, which is the foundation of what would become the LHFD. However, according to town records and historical documents, these brave men fought fires with little to no equipment until the summer of 1927 where the town approved the use of $25,000 for purchasing equipment along with the erection of the firehouse on School Street in Luzerne.

The Rockwell Falls VFD would last for one year until it was re-formed as the Van R. Rhodes Fire Company, the name that this company still carries today. Van R. Rhodes is a local figure who not only helped to organize fire protection within the district, but also helped develop the area, bringing more business and homes for people of the area. Additionally, he was a charter member of the board of directors of the Luzerne-Hadley Bank.

The Van R. Rhodes Fire Company has been involved in many different philanthropic endeavors within the community over the years. First, with its annual Fireman’s Ball which it held every year until the start of World War II. Later, they would sponsor a regatta which became a popular event for many years. They were also the sponsor for the local Boy Scout troop for many years.

So thank you LHFD, for everything that you do. It’s not an easy job, but we’re glad there are strong selfless people like you in the world.

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

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Some Pre-Spring Tips for Lambing

two lambs

I know we posted this back in the end of Fall, but with lambing season beginning soon, we felt that we should bump this post back to our front page. This will help make sure that you’re prepped for lambing this Spring (which is only two months away, by the way). Also, if you’re new to raising sheep or are researching the possibility of adding sheep to your farm, we have a short tip sheet as well as put together a more in-depth guide that you should take a look at!

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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