Pink Ribbon Cattle Tags

To show our support for the women and men battling Breast Cancer, Ketchum designed a Pink Ribbon Tag. We featured the Pink Ribbon tags on our website for the month of October. The profit from the sale of the tags was donated to the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County.

How the Tags Started

Early in October, I asked Gary to engrave a ribbon on one of our pink cattle neck tags. I thought the ribbon on a cattle tag was a unique way for us to show our support for the women and men fighting breast cancer. The tag turned out great and I posted a picture of the tag on our Facebook page. We got a very positive response.

Our Customers are so Generous

One of the comments on our post was an order for 20 of the tags, as well as several other inquiries about how to get a Pink Ribbon tag. So the idea to offer the tags for sale actually came from one of our customers! I always say, our customers have the best ideas! We decided to place the Pink Ribbon Tag on our website and donate $2.50 for each tag sold to the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County. While there are many worthy organizations working to find a cure and treatment options for breast cancer, we wanted to keep our support local.

Keeping our Donations Local

Breast Cancer is as personal for us as it is for most people. Our Mother is a survivor; we are so blessed to have her with us! We wanted to keep our donation local and help support our neighbors through diagnosis and treatment programs in our community.

Our goal was to sell 100 of the Pink Ribbon Tags. We didn’t reach our goal, and we did make a $250.00 donation to the Cancer Services Program of Saratoga County. We plan to offer the Pink Ribbon Tags again next October, with a more comprehensive marketing plan and a higher goal! Of course, like everyone, we are hoping the cure will be discovered this year!

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

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The History of Animal ID Tags

Dog with tags
We all know what a dog tag is for. If your dog ever loses its way, there’s that little piece of metal is there to save the day. And if you ever visit a farm, you’ll notice that cattle have a small tag on their ear. Most people don’t give this tag a second thought. What’s the real significance of these animal tags? Why did we start using them? Read below for a quick history on this system.

Dog Tags

The famous jingling sound coming from a dog’s neck has been around for a very long time, and it has a fascinating history. Most dogs used to have just their name written on the tag. Over time, people avoided putting their dog’s name on the tag. One reasons was that it became easy for a thief to steal a dog simply by calling it over. And when dogs were stolen, the thief wouldn’t have to give authorities much proof it was theirs – they would simply say the dog’s name and the dog would respond, which was proof enough that the thief was the “owner.”

To avoid these highly illegal and truly sad acts from happening, people started putting different info, such as a phone number or an address, on the tag. In the last half-decade or so, you could even put a QR code on an ID tag. Or use an ID tag with a microchip installed. As helpful as all of that can be, putting your dog’s name on a tag has its advantages. One popular advantage is that when a lost dog is found, the finder can use the dog’s name to comfort it.
Stanley Iwanski's WWII Dogtag (1942)
Ever since the early days of information getting put on identification tags, the army started using what were basically real “dog tags” as a way to identify anyone in the military. These tags became very popular in World War II. Still today, soldiers wear dog tags. If a soldier is wounded in battle, they can be identified. Back before dog tags were used, soldiers would identify themselves in any way possible – even if it meant putting paper notes on their coats.

Cattle Tags

Cattle
Cattle tags have been around since farmers started to need a way to distinguish their cattle in a herd. Branding used to be the most popular way to do it, and it’s still sometimes the method of choice today. For humane and economic reasons, America has adopted a method of using livestock ear tags. What gets put on the tag differs. It could be as simple as a two to four digit number that makes the sales process easier. Sometimes your auction name can be customized on the back. Or if the cattle is already at home on a farm, the tag could include its gender, date of birth, and its parents. Ankle tags and neck tags are also used on cows, while poultry commonly have leg and wing bands.

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7 Foods Your Dog Should Avoid

Annabel 3 months old
Dogs are often known for begging. Sometimes it can be really hard to resist feeding them whatever you’ve got nearby, especially when they devour it happily. However, it’s important to know that dogs have a very different digestive system than humans. Feeding your dog a healthy, balanced diet will keep them living longer. Here are seven of the worst food offenders for your dog!

Chocolate

With Halloween right around the corner, chocolate might be easier to find than water. Dogs should never consume any chocolate, and the darker it is, the worse it is. The theobromide chemical contained in chocolate could make your dog experience many of the same traits as a sick human. This could include vomiting, increased thirst, and more. Sugarless candy is also an offender. The Xylitol found in it could cause a drop in your dog’s blood sugar, and cause many of the same effects as chocolate.

Nuts

Nuts are very high on the “avoid” list. Macadamia is the main type of nut to avoid. Just a small handful of Macadamia nuts could make your dog uncomfortable for up to 48 hours. This includes weakness in the legs, pain, and tremors. Even worse, it could be near fatal. You’re better off not letting your dog near most types of nuts – for example, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc. are also dangerous. Your dog can eat peanut butter, but you should be buying it all-natural. It has less salt and sugar.

Raisins and Grapes

Raisins and grapes are notorious for causing kidney damage. Be careful if your dog consumes even a small amount, because the lethal dosage varies depending on the dog. Your dog could experience various gastrointestinal problems as soon as one day after eating raisins or grapes.

Onions

The rainbow dog 2
If you’ve ever eaten onions, you’re aware of the “kick” it gives your taste buds. It’s important to understand that dogs can’t handle onions as well as humans do. An onion on a piece of pizza that falls off the table probably won’t significantly harm your pet, but watch out for larger doses than that. Any large helping of onions, or even a little bit of onion served regularly is dangerous. Your dog could develop hemolytic anemia which leaves them short on oxygen.

Moldy and Old Food

There are many dog owners that think it’s less wasteful to give their dog moldy food. It’s not! Rotten fruit produces ethanol, and that’s associated with alcohol, which your dog cannot have. Other foods can contain toxins; this can lead to convulsions among other problems. Make sure your dog can’t access the trash, either.

Cat Food

Your dog might enjoy the cat food, and if they’ve had a little of it once in awhile, it’s not terrible. However, cat food typically contains more protein and fat, as well as different vitamins. Since dogs and cats have different digestive systems, your dog should be eating food specifically designed for them to avoid potential health problems.

Table Scraps

A dog that’s continuously fed table scraps is getting an unhealthy, unbalanced diet. It’s okay for your dog to eat a couple of things that fall on the ground, but watch out for it happening regularly. A meal that you can’t finish is probably better off in the trash, despite it feeling wasteful.

This list includes some of the worst foods to feed your dog, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call your local veterinarian.

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5 Awesome Pet Halloween Costumes

You might be “anti-pet-clothing,” but deep down inside you have to admit one thing. A pet in a Halloween costume is really a sight to see. If there’s one time of the year to dress up your pet, Halloween should be the time…for three reasons. It’s acceptable, you’ll get a ton of comments, and you can take a bunch of really funny pictures that will last you forever. Sold? Good. Here are five great pet costume ideas for Halloween 2013. You can usually buy these costumes at a local Wal-Mart or PetSmart, but it’s even more fun to try and make them yourself.

Mad Scientist

This one is a fairly simple project.  All you need is a small pair of lab glasses and something that will look like an open lab coat.  You can cut apart some white cloth or an old white shirt and try to shape it perfectly.  Then, style your dog’s hair so it goes up and looks crazy.  An easy alternative to this costume is Harry Potter.  Replace the lab glasses with circular glasses, replace the white coat with a black one, and add a red and yellow tie.  If you want, you can add a fake lighting bolt scar with some pet paint, which I’ll show you in a bit.

Dog Batman

im batman
A classic dog costume – perfect for the dog who loves to jump. All it takes is a cape and a little Batman logo chest piece. If you want to go all out, put some black ears on your dog. Then throw a tennis ball and take a picture of your dog catching it in mid air. Post it on Facebook, and say hello to a ton of comments. (Side note: If you’re more of a Superman fan, it’s basically the same thing!)

Taco Dog

Remember that Taco Bell commercial from the late 90’s? Yo Quiero, Taco Bell. If you don’t remember it, here it is. If you have a chihuahua, the perfect costume for your dog is a taco. I’m quite serious. Simply put some cardboard shaped like a taco shell on each side of your dog’s body, and throw the lettuce, tomatoes, etc. on top (you can make all of that with felt.) It’s not the absolute easiest costume to put together, but it’s 100% worth it. Want to see a finished product? Click here.

(Side note: You can make a hot dog, too.)

Scuba Diver

This dog costume is actually pretty simple. It just requires a few purchases from a store like Wal-Mart. Get some kids sized flippers, a pair of boxers, and some goggles.  Place them on your dog accordingly. Don’t put the goggles on tight! Finish off the costume with a couple empty one liter bottles. Tape them together and put them on the dog’s back!

Color Spray

Target Dog-2
Don’t feel like putting your dog in a costume? Not a problem. You can still have fun. All you have to do is get some Pet Paint. It’s a color spray that is veterinary tested to be safe with dogs, cats, and even horses. One of the easiest things you can do is put a bull’s eye around your dog’s eye, and then you have the Target dog. Then, just give your pet a wash when the party is over. Your kids will have an absolute blast with this stuff.

 

 

What’s your favorite pet Halloween costume? Let us know below.

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The Basics of Raising Cattle

Cattle
The cattle business can be stressful, but getting into it can be worth it.  Owning cattle has many benefits, and learning to raise them is a way of life for many farmers. Learning everything about how to raise cattle will take a lot of time and experience, so here’s a brief rundown on what you need to know before getting into the cattle business!

Planning

There are a few different reasons for raising cattle, so you have to decide what your purpose is. Are you raising them for show? For beef or for dairy? For personal use or for selling in mass? You also need to consider how devoted you will be to your business. What’s going to set you apart from the others? Is it the right time to start this business? Once you’ve thought this through, you need to develop a business plan. Then, you need to find the proper grounds. A lot goes into this – the right vegetation, proper fencing, proper shelter, etc. And be advised that cows don’t always need a top of the line barn. You can usually get away with a lot less – i.e., a very basic shelter. After that, you’ll have to purchase machinery (example: a feeding machine). You’re probably thinking that you need to shell out a lot of money before you even buy the cattle. Unfortunately, if you don’t already own a farm, this is true!

Buying

Cattle at Klågerup
As we discussed before, cattle are raised for different reasons. Thus, there are different kinds of cattle, and there are always things you want to be aware of – like mothering ability and good conformation. When you study a cow’s conformation, you’re basically studying it’s structure. You want cattle with good depth of hearth girth, a fairly broad and wide forehead, and many other things. When just starting out, it’s not smart to buy a bunch of cattle at once. You’ll be in over your head. Choose a nice number of good, quality cows. Always go with a reputable breeder, and ask a lot of questions. Take a lot of photos of the cattle you’re looking to purchase, and study them in comparison to pictures of ideal cattle. Once you make a purchase, there’s an entire transferring process. You’ll need a trailer that is slip-free, and you’ll need to make the process from start to finish as quiet as possible. Disturbing the cattle is a big no-no.

Raising

A long time ago there was a computer game called The Oregon Trail, and you had to maintain cattle in order to keep them alive. And it was kind of a tedious process – you did one thing wrong and the cattle were done for. Aspects of that game ring true in real life. Raising the cattle can be difficult, but it can be very rewarding and fun! You’ll have to learn a lot on the technical side, but there are just a few basics you’ll need to know now. Keeping records should be a very high priority — everything from cattle health and vaccination records to purchases. You’ll need to keep up with cattle maintenance regularly – feeding, watering, and health checkups are the three main components. You’ll need to learn a lot about the large amount of water the cattle will drink, the types of food they will eat, etc. And during the whole process, you’ll need to know when it’s a good time to sell your cattle. If you’re raising cattle for personal use, you may not need to worry about that as much.

Sound like a lot of work? It is! But if you have the passion, it won’t even feel like work.

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

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How to Choose the Right Pet for You

When it comes to having a pet, they really do come in all shapes and sizes. Before you head out to your local shelter and decide to adopt, there are a few things you might want to consider. We’ve put together a list of questions you should ask yourself when trying to decide which pet is right for you and your lifestyle! Good luck!

Why are you looking to own a pet?

Is it because you want something to play and cuddle with throughout the day? Do you want something that will keep you company? Or is it more something you want because you want to liven-up your home? This is a very important question to ask yourself that might help you decide what direction to go in as far as pet ownership.

How much time do you plan to spend with your new pet?

Do you have a lot of spare time or do you have a demanding 9-5 job? Will you have much non-busy time to offer your new pet? The amount of time you can dedicate to your pet will also determine how easily it will be for you to take care of a pet such as a dog in comparison to a reptile.

Do you want a pet that you can communicate with?

I know this question sounds a little silly, but it’s a very important question to ask. Of course, there aren’t any talking dogs out there (that we know of!), but there are some animals who will respond to commands as opposed to not really having any real communication with the pet. Decide what’s most important to you as far as communication before taking the plunge!

Do you want a pet only when it’s convenient for you?

This question can be very telling, so be sure to think through this one very carefully. If you’re not willing to spend all or most of your free time with a new pet, then a dog might not be your best option. If you’re not willing to give up going out with friends, going away for nights at a time, etc, then you should find a pet that can be cared for without 24 hour attention.

How much upkeep do you want to be responsible for?

Are you willing to give it your all and do whatever it takes for your new pet, or would you prefer to do as little as possible when it comes to upkeep? Depending on your comfort level when it comes to responsibility, you want to be sure you’re prepared for the obstacles of having a new pet, especially one that requires significant upkeep!

What’s your living situation?

Do you have a house or an apartment? Is there a yard? Does your home have a lot of expensive decor? These are all going to determine which types of pets you should eliminate from your list, specifically because there are many who really need certain types of living situations. For example, medium to large dogs are better off in bigger living spaces with yards, whereas a cat can happily live in a small apartment with no yard.

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5 Pet Care Tips for Fall

Fall is a busy time of year for many families. The kids go back to school and schedules change. However, with all the change that fall brings, it’s important to make sure your pet is happy and healthy. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe all season long:

Feed them pumpkin

Believe it or not, canned pumpkin is good for your pet’s diet! The soluble fiber in pumpkin can actually help with digestive issues. Does your dog have skin problems? Pumpkin also contains antioxidants and fatty acids that can help promote healthy skin and fur. Other nutrients found in pumpkin are beta-carotene and iron, which can help reduce the likelihood of your pet to develop cancer.

Here are some tasty pumpkin recipes for your furry friend:

Brush pet regularly

One of the biggest nuisances pet owners face is unwanted hair in their homes. Unfortunately for us, many pets begin shedding their summer coat during fall to make room for their winter coat. However, you can reduce the amount of shedding by brushing your pet daily. Brushing will also make your pet’s coat softer and cleaner.

Daily aerobic exercise

Take advantage of the beautiful fall weather by taking your pet for a long walk or throwing a Frisbee in the park. Exercise helps to keep pets healthy, agile and limber. It also helps to prevent injury. With today’s busy lifestyles, many pet owners find it difficult to give their animals the exercise they deserve. While the amount of exercise needed depends on their age, size, and breed, most pets will benefit enormously from daily aerobic exercise.

Flea and tick control

With fall, comes flea and tick season. Fleas carry tapeworms that can drain your pet of blood and nutrients. In order to control fleas and ticks, it’s important to keep the area surrounding your home clear of debris. You can also apply an outdoor insecticide that is labeled specifically for ticks. Don’t forget to check your pets regularly!

Bundle up

UntitledFall months bring chilly weather. If your pet spends most of its time outdoors, make sure he or she has a warm place to sleep at night. Prolonged exposure to cold can result in frostbite. It’s equally as important that your pet stays dry, as a wet coat loses its insulating properties. Hypothermia can occur when a pet has been submerged in cold water for long periods of time.

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Fascinating Chicken Facts

The majority of the time, chickens are not given the respect they deserve as animals. Why? It might be because most people don’t realize how truly fascinating and intelligent these animals really are! Interested in learning more about what makes chickens so darn cool? Read on to find out!

Full color visionChicken

Unlike a great deal of animals, chickens actually have full-color vision. Because of this, they can distinguish between different surroundings and can communicate better with their offspring as well as any other species they come in contact with. Pretty cool, right?

REM sleep

Sleeping chicken

Thought REM (rapid eye movement) sleep was just for humans? Think again! Chickens similarly experience REM sleep, which means they have dreams just like humans do. I wonder if they’ve ever dreamed about crossing the road!

Defend young from predatorsUrban Mama Chicken

Hens specifically are very protective of their babies, which is why they show extreme confidence in defending their young from any predators that approach them. Just when you thought calling someone a “chicken” meant they were afraid of something, turns out it might actually be a compliment!

Motherly traits

A Fresh EggJust like a mother with her babies, chickens also talk to their off spring, even when they’re still in the womb. In fact, a mother hen begins teaching her baby chicks different calls before they even hatch! How cute is that?

Play timechicken heart

Get this – chickens LOVE to play! When they’re given enough space to roam, chickens will jump, run, spa and even soak up the sun! What’s really sad is that only a small percentage of chickens are raised in the United States with the ability to roam any land at all, while most spend their entire lives in tiny cages, usually no larger than the size of an iPad.

Smarty pants

Free range chickensDid you think chickens were pretty dumb up until this point? If so, you are sadly mistaken. According to recent studies, chickens are actually very intelligent animals with a variety of attributes similar to that of their primates. From the ability to solve complex problems to demonstrating self control and worrying about the future, chickens are much brighter than they’re given credit for.

MemoriesChicken

As humans, we have the ability to remember and store memories in a variety of ways. What many people don’t know is that chickens have the ability to recognize and memorize as well! While still not on the same level as humans, chickens are able to recognize and remember more than 100 different individuals, including humans.

Object permanence

backyard chickenAs children develop, they begin to develop object permanence. Well guess what? Chickens have this ability as well. Even when an object is taken away from them or hidden, they’re able to comprehend the fact that the object still exists, which is something that many animals don’t have the ability to do.

DinosaursWhite chickens

Did you know that chickens are living dinosaurs? That’s right – research has proven that not only have chickens evolved from dinosaurs, but they are currently the closest living relative to the T. Rex, one of the most popular dinosaurs in history.

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Importance of Vaccinating Your Pet

Puppy LoveVaccinations play a major role in protecting your pet’s health. Because some illnesses can be transferred to humans, vaccines can protect you too! The most common vaccines used today are for rabies, distemper and hepatitis. Vaccinating your pet is one of the easiest ways to help him or her live a long, healthy life.

What are vaccines?

Vaccines can help your pet’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like a disease-causing organism to the immune system, however they don’t actually cause disease. When a vaccine is introduced to your pet’s body, their immune system becomes activated. Then, if your pet is ever exposed to the real disease, his or her immune system will recognize the disease and fight it off entirely or at least minimize the severity of the illness.

Types of vaccinations

There are several types of vaccines recommended for all pets. While vaccines differ slightly for dogs and cats, the end result is protection from illness. The first type are core vaccines. These vaccines are generally recommended for all pets and protect against potentially fatal diseases. The second type are non-core vaccines, which are given depending on your pet’s age, lifestyle and the geographic area in which you live. Some veterinarians will recommend yearly vaccinations. Work with your veterinarian to determine an immunization program that fits your pet’s needs, risks and lifestyle.

Health risks for your pet

The most common reason people choose to not vaccinate their pet is because they worry about the potential side effects. Like any medical procedure, vaccinations do have some risk. However, the risk is often much greater if you do not vaccinate your pet at all. Reactions to vaccinations are rare and generally include pain or swelling at the point of injection. If you have any questions about vaccinating your pet, please talk with your veterinarian. They will always have your pet’s best interest in mind.

Vaccinations have become second nature for pets today, as they can effectively prevent against life threatening diseases. Not only can vaccinations protect your pet’s health, but also the health of your entire family. While there are some risks to vaccinating your pet, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

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

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