I’d always loved goats—every one
of them different from every other one,
and all of them goofy and playful.
— Steve Watkins, What Comes After
So you’ve finally resolved to make the leap: whether for their milk, or fiber, or simple companionship, you’ve decided to add some goats to your family menagerie. In preparation, you have…
- Read everything you can get your hands on about the care and feeding of goats;
- Set aside a chuck of land big enough to accommodate your new goat friends;
- Enclosed it with a fence tall and strong enough to hold them (remember, goats are curious and love to climb things, or else eat through them);
- Built a small barn or other roofed enclosure to house them in inclement weather (goats hate to get wet);
- Invested in stainless steel buckets and a milking bench (if delving into the goat milk and cheese business is your plan), and created a sanitary environment for serious dairy production; and
- Picked out the breed and gender of goats you want to keep and brought them to their new home.
Now all that’s left is to choose names for your goats (and get them imprinted on durable Ketchum goat ear tags). Coming up with suitable names may be the hardest part of all—but also the most fun. Continue reading “The Naming of Goats”
We all can get along.
— Rodney King
For many people, nowadays it feels like “knives out” is the new name of the game. Everybody seems to be on edge over one thing or another. In a world where “road rage” is all the rage, publicly expressing a personal opinion is just as likely to win you a round of applause as a punch in the nose. One side hates the other—and for the other side the feeling is entirely mutual.
This is not good.
In these divided times, we do well to heed the words of America’s prophet–poet, Walt Whitman:
I think I could turn and live with animals,
they are so placid and self-contain’d…
One of the important life lessons we humans can learn from the fellow creatures with which we share our planet is simply this: how to get along with each other, no matter our differences. Continue reading “Press Clippings: Amicable Animals”
Whether you own one head of cattle or thousands, it is important to manage your herd properly. At its most basic level, “herd management” means keeping track of your cows through some means of reliable identification. In previous centuries, this meant simply guarding against loss or thievery. One of the oldest methods of doing so was to mark the animals permanently with a brand, which left on the skin a unique identifying symbol to establish ownership of the animals.
Nowadays, the purposes for identifying cattle have multiplied. In addition to proving ownership, those who keep cattle should also maintain accurate records regarding performance, breeding, origin of the animal, its health, vaccination history, and intake of antibiotics and other medicinal treatments. Of particular importance is the need for “Animal Disease Traceability” (ADT), intended to help prevent the spread of brucellosis and other types of serious contagious infections among herds. Continue reading “Guide to Cow Tags and Other Cattle Identification Methods [Infographic]”
Farmers today who regularly tattoo their hogs, goats, cattle, horses, and other livestock may not realize it, but they are participants in a practice dating back to the very dawn of human civilization.
Thousands of years ago, almost as soon as our hunter–gatherer ancestors stopped hunting–gathering and instead took to farming and animal husbandry in fixed settlements to supply themselves with reliable sources of food and clothing, they realized they had a new challenge to face: how to keep track of their ever-growing herds of swine, goats, cows, sheep, and other animals in their care.
Continue reading “Tattooing Livestock: Farmyard Facts”
When people think of animals of the canine variety, most of us instinctively picture them in their common role of serving “merely” as household pets: that is, boon companions to us and our kids, if not full-fledged members of the family.
Yet thousands of years before domesticated dogs took on this role within the home, evolutionary biology had already forged a unique bond between animal and human in which the quadruped also served as helpmate and acolyte to its bipedal comrade. Such dogs (depending on their breed) boasted qualities of speed, strength, endurance, resistance to cold, proficiency in swimming, high intelligence, receptivity to commands, sharp eyesight, acute hearing, and/or superior sense of smell that allowed them to perform tasks on our behalf—but to the dog’s mutual benefit—for which people were not naturally well suited. For that reason, certain dog breeds continue to this day to work alongside us in a variety of key areas, not as pets but as collaborators.
In honor of this coming Labor Day weekend, we at Ketchum Mfg. Co. pay homage to those working dogs who do the jobs we can’t do, make our own daily work easier, and ofttimes even save our lives. Continue reading “Labor Day Dogs”