10 Surprising Facts About Sheep

With lambing season right about to start, we figured it was appropriate to present some fun and surprising facts about sheep. Hope you enjoy!

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a sheep?

Despite a recent decline in domestic sheep production within the US. The US still imports around 40% of its lamb and mutton from abroad. Most of the 162 million pounds of imported meat actually comes from down under! That’s right, most of our meat is imported from Australia and New Zealand, the two largest lamb and mutton exporters in the world.

Oh give me a home! Where the sheep and lamb roam!

In the U.S the states with the highest number of sheep per capita are Texas, Wyoming, and California. However, more than two-thirds of domestic sheep call the Southern Plains, the Mountain and Pacific regions their homes.

Where’s the mutton?

Did you know that lamb is the least amount of meat consumed in the US? The average American consumes 86 pounds of chicken, 65 pounds of beef, 50 pounds of pork, and only 1 pound of lamb per year. I guess why the saying is “where’s the beef?” and not “where’s the mutton?”

Like A Steel Trap

Sheep have amazingly good memories. They can remember at least 50 different people and other sheep. They’re able to do this using a similar neural process and part of the brain that humans use to remember people.

I’m not as dumb as I look

Contrary to popular belief, sheep are actually extremely intelligent for their species. They’re capable of problem solving and have a similar IQ level to cattle, and are nearly as clever as pigs. Looks can be deceiving, a farm is a smarter place than most people realize.

More sheep than people

Currently, there are approximately 34.2 million sheep on New Zealand. That’s enough to outnumber the humans living there seven to one! That’s quite the population, good thing sheep aren’t predators. However, back in the 80′s, this figure was even higher, with sheep outnumbering people 22 to 1! That’s a lot of sheep.

Top-notch vision

Sheep have amazing peripheral vision. Their large, rectangular pupils allow them to see in almost perfect 360 degree vision. They can even see behind themselves without even turning their heads. At least they never have to wonder if they have something on their back.

Spanish Sheep

In the 15th century, Spanish Merino wool was so highly prized, that the wool trade is what funded the conquistador expeditions, including Christopher Columbus’ expedition to the new world. Because this wool was so highly prized, exporting Merino sheep from Spain was punishable by death.

A Bond Between a Ewe and a Lamb

Female sheep, known as ewes (pronounced You-s) are very caring mothers and form deep bonds with their offspring. A ewe can recognize her lamb’s bleats when they wander too far away from the herd.

A gourmand’s best friend

Mutton and lamb is widely eaten around the world and is often used in gourmet dishes because of the delicateness of its taste. Additionally, sheep’s milk is widely used in gourmet cheeses (such as feta and romano).

 

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The History of The Easter Bunny

easter bunny

Easter Sunday was originally created as a way for the Christian community to come together and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, as modern views continue to chime in and grow in popularity, the celebration of Easter has been altered. A fictional character known as the Easter Bunny has been used to brand the holiday. Now, what’s even more interesting is that the symbol of the rabbit has no ties to the Christian community. So, where did it come from?

Easter aka Eostra

Well, Pre-Christian Germany dates back to the 13th century. During this time, people worshiped several gods and goddesses. One goddess, in particular, is responsible for the branding of the Easter Bunny. Her name was named Eostra. She was the goddess of spring and fertility.

Add Rabbit, Bunny, Hare.

Ancient History has branded this animal as a symbol of fertility. These rambunctious little guys are known for their high level of energy, small bodies, and  perky set of ears.

Meet the Easter Bunny

Originally named Osterhase, this hare was brought to American when the German settlers started to migrate here. The concept behind Osterhase was to reward children for being well behaved. In exchange, they would receive bright colored eggs filled with chocolates and candies. As years continued to pass, people started to catch on and add their own personal twists. The holiday has turned into a family affair to include a big Easter dinner and an interactive egg hunt.

Spring, in general, marks a time of blossom. It’s also a pretty happy time of year.
The snow is melting, people and animals are coming out of hibernation, and we are blessed with the cuteness of newly born livestock. Keep your eye out for these furry little creatures as the continue to pop up around farms nationwide.
baby farm animals

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

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Understanding Accountability Tags

accountability tags

Accountability systems are used nationwide and for a variety of different reasons. A common example you can relate to is using an accountability system when taking a class field trip. Teachers will hand out name tags or passes to children prior to start of the field trip, collect the passes when they exit off the bus, and then hand the passes back to the students once the field trip is over. The passes that remain will alert the teacher of who is missing.

Typically speaking, if you are in charge of another human being… it is important to have some sort of tracking and accountability system in place.

The concept of this type of system is no different for firefighters. However, instead of going on field trips, these brave men and woman are fighting dangerous fires.

Each year over a hundred firefighters die in the line of duty. It is extremely important to stress personnel accountability on the fire-ground for safety purposes. Through out the years there have been many different types of systems in place. And as technology continues to evolve, different options continue to become available.

The most common method of a firefighter accountability system is the use of identification tags. Tags are simple, efficient, inexpensive, and can be customized. They also come in different colors to assign different roles. For example, using a two tag accountability system is very popular.

One tag is used to indicate that the firefighter is on the scene, while the second tag is used, like an “entry permit”, to account for the firefighters that enter a building. Upon exiting the building, this tag should be immediately retrieved by the controller of the scene.

When correctly placed, a solid system will help the incident commander know how many people are on the scene. They also allow tracking of what each firefighter is doing and where he or she is doing it. Fire-ground scenes without accountability in place can result in chaos and increase chance of death.

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

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The Best Types of Guard Dogs

So you want a guard dog? I mean, why not. Not only can they be trained to protect you, but they can also be transformed into loving adorable family members. Pretty much sounds like a win-win. Depending on what you’re looking for and your lifestyle, different breeds may be better than others. You can expect confidence, devotion, and alertness when it comes to guard dogs. Check out these breeds that are naturally born with that protective gene. Typically speaking, you want to aim for the herding and working groups.

Rottweiler

Rottweiler Dog

An intelligent and beautiful breed, the Rottweiler is known to be extremely loyal to their owner. With proper training and socialization, the Rottie would make a great family pet.

German Shepherd
German Shepherd Dog
Extremely quick learners; the German Shepard is a popular favorite in the police dog categories. They present a calm nature in a household setting, but are quick to react to unknown threats.

Bullmastiff

Bull Mastiff Dog

What this dog lacks in height, it gains in muscle. The Bullmastiff is a fearless and confident pup that thinks independently. This breed is not for everyone. They are possessive, territorial, and have a distinct sense for who does and does not belong on a property.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dog

greater swiss mountain dog

Big and strong, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is both affectionate and enthusiastic when it comes to pleasing their owners. They also have superb listening skills, which is essential when it comes to sensing anything out of the ordinary.

Doberman Pinscher

Doberman Pinscher dog

Known for their speed and stamina, the Doberman Pinscher would be a great dog to have to protect your land or property. Gentle, loyal, and loving, this pup can be also be a superior companion to add to any family.

Now, before you jump into any crazy decision… when adopting any pet you must make sure you have the time, money, and patience to give to your new friend. Great things happen over time. Proper training and attention is essential when deciding to own one of these great pets.

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

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Preparing Your Pup for a Winter Walk

I feel like it’s safe to say that dogs love winter more than humans. With winter approaching it is important for you to take care of your pup before and after any outdoor activities. We all love nicely plowed roads and sidewalks, but with that luxury comes a build-up of salt. The salt can cause your pups paws to dry out, and in turn creates them to crack and be sore. In order to prevent any injury, here are some precautions you can take prior to your adventure.

Doggie Boots- if you can convince your dog to actually wear these things, than all power to you. Most dogs can’t stand them.
Oil- Here is a fun fact. If you gently rub oil on your pups paws before a winter adventure, it will prevent snow from forming ice balls between their paws. Since water and oil don’t mix, it makes sense! Types of oils to use: baby, olive, vegetable

 

Visit a Groomer- Keep the hair between your dog’s toes and pads clipped short. When hair is left too long around these areas, you get these dreaded painful ice balls that form. While you’re at the groomers, it wouldn’t hurt to get a nice nail trim. Long nails can cause your dog to walk on the back-end of their feet. In turn, this causes their toes to spread, which in turn leaves more room for ice balls to form!

BEWARE OF THE ICE BALLS they are the WORST!
The above tips should definitely help make your outside adventure last longer and it also will make it more enjoyable. However the work is not over. Proper care for your pup once you get inside after your walk is just as important.

Tip#1

Gently dip your pet’s paws into a bowl of warm water or use a warm washcloth to remove any excess salt build up. This will help prevent your pet’s paws from getting chapped.

Tip #2

Don’t assume that your pets fur coat is thick enough to keep them warm from any weather condition! It’s not. If you notice a wet coat after a walk, take a blow dryer to their coat to keep them dry and warm. Depending on the dog, of course, you could also invest in a pretty sweater or coat to maximize warmth and comfort.

As always make sure your pet as plenty of fresh water. Hope you and your pet have a fun winter season!

 

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

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