In past articles we’ve discussed the history of marking livestock for identification purposes, from branding to ear tags to RFID (radio frequency identification). Many of these methods, while effective, are also often permanent in nature, which may not be desirable. They may even involve minor injury to the animal or damage to the skin or coat. But what if you don’t want the I.D. to be permanent (much less cause any pain to the animal)? That is where Ketchum livestock markers prove their worth!
On farms across the English-speaking world, the term used to describe the birthing and raising of sheep is lambing. The best chance for lambs to survive and thrive is when the weather is mild and grass is plentiful, and for that reason, in the northern hemisphere, Mother Nature decreed that autumn would be the season for sheep to mate, so that their lambs could be born in the springtime.
Yet, according to Emily Ruckert, an Oregon State University graduate with a degree in animal science, with modern farming technology this is not a hard and fast rule. “In nature, lambs are born in the spring, but we do it in the winter,” Emily said when asked about the best time of year for lambs to be born. “By summer all the babies are gone and we can breed again in July.”
While Nature does most of the heavy lifting, on the farm a successful lambing season still depends on the knowledge and experience of the sheep farmer. In previous blogs we have discussed:
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. It follows, then, that a moving picture must be worth at least a million. Below are ten of our favorite, most informative YouTube videos on lambing, by sheep farmers whose knowledge of the subject ranges from the beginner to the expert.
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”
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.