How to Take Care of a Bird

Pet bird in a cageBirds are very interesting creatures, which is exactly why it’s important to give your new bird enough attention to feel loved but not smother him or her. As easy as it might seem to spoil your new bird, spoiled birds tend to become unhappy, uncooperative members of your family that will end up only causing ruckus in your home. In order to develop happy and healthy birds as family pets, here are some easy to follow tips.

Establish boundaries

Just like any other animal, you need to teach your new pet what the boundaries are now that they’re living with you. Birds are very quick to adapt to new environments, but you need to make sure you teach them right off the bat what’s acceptable and what’s not. For example, when taking your bird out of the cage, teach them the step up rule to avoid any biting or nipping at your hands. This will in turn teach the bird that they have to behave this way with not only you but everyone else as well.

Prevent single bonding

Unfortunately this rule is pretty backwards compared to how you’d teach a dog that you’re his master. With a bird, single person bonding does help to establish a bond between you and the bird and decreases any fears between the bird and any human handlers, but it shouldn’t just be taught with a single person. Each caregiver in the family should have the opportunity to help your bird feel secure with all family members in order for the bird to feel comfortable with each and every one of you.

Be realistic with attention

CockatielSo you’re excited about your new bird and you want to spend as much time with it as possible, but this isn’t exactly a good indication of the future relationship with your bird. If you initially show your bird this much attention, they’ll get used to it and think it’s the norm. You want to be realistic with the amount of time you’ll be spending paying attention to the bird and do this from the very beginning in order to avoid giving any false expectations.

Develop a healthy diet

If you’re new to being a bird owner, you’ll learn quickly that food is one of the most abused sources of comfort and appeasement for birds. In order to help your bird grow healthy and lean, you need to be aware of the type of food your bird is eating and how much he’s consuming. Avoid spoiling your bird with too many seeds and other treats and you’ll be in the clear.

Bird-proof your home

213..365 | Birds > CatsJust like you have to prepare for any other pet, preparing the home for a new bird is imperative to ensure that nothing can get damaged in the process. Birds go off of visual, audio, and olfactory stimulation, but birds tend to use their mouths to explore and like to give everything a taste at least once. Before bringing your new bird home, put away any plants, toxic substances or anything that could prove to be harmful to your bird. Also, if possible, try to cover any electrical sockets or chords.

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

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Top 10 Pet-Friendly Cities in the US

It’s no secret that we love our pets, which is why today we want to highlight the best cities throughout the United States for having pets! From east coast to west, here are the best pet-friendly American cities.

Phoenix, Arizona

freakin' at the dog parkPhoenix is well known for their abundant sunshine, but did you know they have a plethora of pet stores, dog parks, and even an annual Halloween costume contest for pets? With six off-leash dog parks, 14 pet stores, over 270 veterinarians, and a variety of pet-themed events, it’s no wonder Phoenix, Arizona is one of the best US cities for owning a pet.

Sacramento, California

Redondo Beach Dog ParkOver to the west coast, Sacramento ranks at number nine on our list for pet-friendly cities. Having seven off-leash dog parks and four major pet stores is a good start, but there are also some fantastic pet-friendly events such as the annual Sacramento SPCA Doggy Dash-a 2k/5k walk and other big pet festivals. Some pet policies include mandatory spay-neuter law for dogs and cats and a permit number is required in all advertisements selling animals.

Fort Worth, Texas

DSC_6010aHave you ever heard of Barktoberfest? If you live near Fort Worth, Texas, chances are you have! With strict spay and neuter laws, this city isn’t messing around. This city includes four dog parks, six major pet stores, dog meet up grounds and dog park events. A pet policy in this city to note is that all female dogs and cats over the age of six months and male dogs and cats over the age of eight months have to be spayed or neutered unless the owner obtains an intact pet permit.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Dog Walk - ARLSRI Oct 2011-30Charlotte is not only a beautiful city, but it’s a fantastic place to spend with your favorite furry friend. Not only does this city love pets, but they also love volunteering. They have a total of eight dog parks, three major pet stores and 160 vets. Some great fundraising opportunities include Pet Palooza, where dog owners can do a fundraising walk or run a 5k with their pet as well as the Ties & Tails Gala.

Tucson, Arizona

North Domingo Baca Dog Park, Albuquerque, NMThis city has it all – 10 dog parks, nine major pet stores and over 200 veterinarians. It doesn’t end there! Some great pet-friendly events include The Puttin’ on the Dog Tucson Cover Dog Search, Chow Down for Hounds, Paws in the Plaza, Tails and Ales, Paws for the Holidays, and more.

Denver, Colorado

Dog 'n' I at the Summit.Denver is already well known for their outdoor activities, but chances are you didn’t know how seriously pet-friendly this city is. There are 28 dog parks, four major pet stores and about 220 vets. In a city that’s all about activity, there are so many pet-friendly events to keep your average pet-owner busy! This includes puppy preschool training classes, the canine festival and European market, and doggie meet ups!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Dog Park 2/28/10Talk about a city full of events – Minneapolis is full of them for pets! The American Humane Society puts on three pet-friendly fundraising events each year in Minneapolis, as well as two formal dining events each year. There are 10 dog parks, plus five off-leash dog parks, and 200 veterinarians.

Seattle, Washington

Kermit at the Miyuki Dog ParkLove having options? Seattle, Washington has all the dog park options one needs. With 40 dog parks, you can visit a different one each day with your pet! They also have Put O Ween, the annual Halloween party that’s set specifically around your pet’s schedule!

Dallas, Texas

Pixie dog halloween costumeDallas has its southern charm, but it’s also a great place to have a pet! Some big pet-friendly events that occur there are the Christmas country dog events, walk wag and run event, Walk to Nowzad, and Barktoberfest. Dallas, Texas also has around 22 dog parks and seven major pet stores to cater to your dogs every need!

San Diego, California

Dog-on-the-Beach-at-Sunrise__64858Rounding out our list is this west coast city, which ranks as number one for a variety of reasons. Aside from it’s nine off-leash dog parks and dog-friendly beaches, this city includes 60+ pet-friendly hotels and over 50 dog-friendly restaurants as well. For San Diego, the city has many laws for the protection of animals, including rabies vaccination laws, enclosure laws and feeding and watering and sanitation requirement at kennels.

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

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Transfaunation in Dairy Cattle: What is it?

You may be thinking to yourself, “What the heck is transfaunation?” Or, perhaps you are already familiar with the term.  If you have experience with a large dairy farm, you probably already know.  I think a lot of us have seen cows (usually of the dairy variety) with windows into their abdomen at fairs and perhaps even at a farm you visited.  Though the idea of putting a window in the side of a cow is cool enough on its own, it does actually serve a purpose.  Before we explore that purpose, let me first explain a little about the stomach and the window.

The stomach of a cow is divided into four compartments.  The rumen is the largest of these compartments, and I mean large.  In a Holstein cow the rumen can hold over 40 gallons! The rumen can also be thought of as a holding and fermentation vat.  Being prey animals in the wild, evolution has designed cows to go out and eat as much food as possible while it is safe.  Obviously there isn’t time to properly chew your food if you are eating it as quickly as possible.  This is why we see cows chewing their “cud” almost constantly when they are relaxed.  They will regurgitate a wad of material from their rumen back into their mouths and chew it properly so that it can pass to the other stomach compartments and eventually into their intestines.  The environment inside the rumen is not very acidic like it is in most other species.  This is because the cow is constantly regurgitating the material and an acidic environment would injure their esophagus, and also because of the bacteria that live in the rumen and help break down the cow’s food.  A very acidic environment would kill off the bacterial colonies and the cow would not be able to properly digest her food.  So, what I really want you to take away from this whole paragraph is that the bacteria inside the rumen of cows is of utmost importance to their survival.  Got it? Good.

Now, the window.  A healthy cow is chosen by her owner to undergo this procedure and become the source of rumen material for any cow that may need it in her lifetime.  A veterinarian will cut into the abdominal wall of the cow and into the rumen, from there a plastic cannula is placed in the incision site.  This cannula is what holds the side of the abdomen open permanently.  A plastic screw-in plug is usually placed in the opening that can be removed whenever needed.  Cows recover well from the surgery and do not even notice their new accessory.

Ok, enough about all that.  What is transfaunation?! Transfaunation is the transfer of one cow’s digestive flora into another cow.  Digestive flora is the healthy bacteria, protozoa and fungi that live in the animal’s (all animals, yes, even humans!) digestive system and help break down food.  If a cow is sick, she will very often stop eating and/or drinking.  Or, if she has to be treated with antibiotics they can kill off the good and the bad bacteria in her system.  Yes, it’s important to get rid of the bad bacteria that are making her sick, however, when the good bacteria are also killed off it will inhibit her ability to digest food and absorb all the nutrients she needs.  For whatever reason a cow loses her healthy bacteria, it is imperative that she gets it back quickly or her health will continue to decline.  That is where our cannulated cow comes in to save the day, and possibly the life of her barn mate.  The farmer can simply reach into the rumen of the cannulated cow and take out some of the material in there.  He will then feed it to the sick cow (cows will eat just about anything), or if she is not eating, they can force it into her with a stomach tube.  This rumen material is filled with all the healthy microorganisms that our sick cow needs to have recolonize her rumen and make her a happy, healthy, milk producing cow again.  So you can see, the job of the cannulated cow is very important, and the procedure of transfaunation can save a life.

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

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How to Prepare for a Summer Road Trip with Pets

dog in windowSummer is all about having fun, right? But when you plan your summer road trip, there’s more to it than just packing up your stuff and driving away. Your pets need to be planned for as well! Make sure your pets are comfortable and taken care of for your vacation by following these tips for summer road trips!

Familiarize yourself with animal travel gear

Responsible passenger, wearing his seatbeltIf you’ve never traveled with your pet before, pay close attention to this tip. Having the right pet travel gear is a must for long trips! First step is to go and visit the local pet store to see what types of harnesses they have. Look for a dog harness with a handle on top, which makes it easier to walk with your dog as well as strap your animal in the car by running the seat belt strap through the harness handle. Just remember – a harness might be uncomfortable for your pet to wear for the first time, so make sure you give them lots of praise and treats!

Check your pet’s health prior to traveling

Niya @ the vet'sBefore taking your pet on a long road trip, have them examined at the vet for any health conditions. You want to make sure that your pet is updated on all of their shots and vaccinations, especially if you’re traveling to an area that will have other animals your pet might be in contact with. Finally, stocking up on your dog’s medications is a great way to ensure you’ll be prepared throughout your travel, especially if the trip ends up lasting longer than anticipated.

Test your pet in the car

It was, apparently, an exhausting weekend!If your pet has never really traveled in the car for long periods of time, you want to test out their behavior over time. Practice by taking pretend road trips that are in short bouts of time, but are long enough to test your pet in the car. During these short trips, check your pet to see if they’re nervous or are drooling excessively or panting. If this is happening, you might want to consider treating your dog with anti-nausea medication for the real trip to prevent over-heating or discomfort.


Tongues outIf you’re bringing a very young animal on your trip, it might be more difficult simply due to potty-training. If your animal hasn’t yet learned to use the restroom on command, you might want to make this a priority before your road trip. While you might be able to pull over every hour to make sure your animal doesn’t go in the car, you’ll be more efficient and effective if you can hold off stopping that often and having inner peace knowing your dog can hold it for longer.


southbound MA to FLALastly, don’t forget to bring the toys for your road trip! Toys will help keep your pet occupied and more comfortable on the long trip. They’ll also help to be distracting during any potentially stressful situations in the car.



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

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Benefits of Adopting a Shelter Pet

take me home #2Considering a new pet? Look no further than your local animal shelter. There are plenty of shelters with a great selection of animals, including cats, dogs, birds, and other small animals. In fact, the animal you’re considering buying from your local pet store or breeder is probably waiting to be adopted in a nearby shelter.

Why adopt a shelter pet

Between 6 and 8 million pets end up in shelters each year, half of which, will never be adopted. The saddest part is that most pets end up homeless for circumstances beyond their control. These animals fall victim to a death, illness, divorce or a move that doesn’t include them. By adopting a shelter pet you are saving a life. Your new pet will be extremely appreciative of the life you’re giving them. Plus, your adoption fee will benefit other animals at the shelter. This fee is used to support the shelter’s community and help care for other homeless animals.

Cost effective

Adopting a pet from a shelter is highly cost-effective. The cost of getting an animal from a pet store or breeder can be very high, which can make it extremely hard for the average family to afford the animal. That doesn’t even include the pets’ first round of shots and to be spayed or neutered. These expenses can cost well over $100 within the first year of having the pet. Most animal shelters include the cost of first shots and spaying/neutering in the adoption fee. Depending on the age of the pet, adoption fees can range from $50 to $250 dollars.

Semi-trained pet

The majority of shelter pets come semi-trained. All cats will come litter-trained and most dogs will come somewhat potty trained. However, when the pet first comes home expect some mistakes due to the stress of moving and adjusting to a new place. Contrarily, getting a pet from another owner does not always guarantee that your pet will be potty trained. This can led to clean up and frustration for you. Many shelters rescue wonderful pets that are trained and family ready.

Socialized animalShelter dog looking friendly

Animals that spend time in a shelter are often socialized. Because animals are taken out of their cages for playtime they become comfortable with both volunteers and other animals. This allows the animal to adjust to different types of people and animals. In most circumstances, the shelter can tell you if the pet you’re looking at is good with children and other pets. When you get a pet from a breeder, it usually has only been around a select few people and pets.

At Ketchum, we are passionate about adopting pets. Therefore, if you’re thinking about getting a pet for your family, please consider the benefits of adopting a shelter animal. While pet stores and breeders may seem like the more advantageous option, rescuing a pet can be equally rewarding and perhaps a better fit for your family.

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

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Feral Swine

Domestic Piglets from Breezy Pond Farm

Feral swine herds have had explosive growth since the 1990’s, with an estimated population of 6 million pigs, according to the New York Times.  What used to be a problem for southern states is spreading and there are now feral swine in 45 states.  The estimated annual damage, in the United States, caused by feral swine is 1.5 billion dollars.

The Spread of Feral Swine Herds

Swine are very adaptable and with a near by source of water, can thrive almost any place.  Capture and release practices are one of the major causes of the rapid geographical spread of feral hogs.  Some people capture nuisance pigs and rather than killing them, transport them to a new location, while other groups may introduce wild hogs to an area for sport hunting.

Government Responses

Many states governments are taking aggressive action to decrease the harmful impact  of feral swine on the environment.  New York State, as well as many other states, has an open hunting season on wild hogs.  North Carolina has a serious problem, with every county in the state reporting wild pig populations, along with an open hunting season, new regulations have been adopted.  In North Carolina all domestic hogs being transported on public roadways must be identified with either an ear tag or a tattoo.  The fine for transporting live, unidentified swine is $5,000.00 for each pig.

Tattoo Supplies

Ketchum has a variety of tattoo products available.  We offer a hog slap tattooer that can hold 4, 5 or 6 large 3/4″ digits.  The slap tattoo is an inexpensive way to mark the hogs before they are transported. Our Baby Pig Tattooer is another option and may be the easiest way to tattoo, while the piglets are small and more easily managed.  Ketchum Hog Slap tattoo ink and paste are available in green and black. Please visit our website for more details.

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Community Supported Agriculture

I just became a member of a CSA,  which stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  I first heard the term CSA last Spring, my sister-in-law took me to her “Farm” on pick up day.  I thought it was such a great idea and I’m so excited to be able to join a local farm.

CSA Agreements

In the winter and early spring a CSA farm will offer membership shares.  The farmers are paid in advance and through the growing season the shareholders receive weekly baskets of produce.  The members share the risks and rewards with the farmers.

The Benefits to the Farmers

One of the main benefits to the farmers is receiving working capital to purchase seeds and other supplies in the spring.  With the knowledge of how many families they will be supplying produce to, they can plant  their crops accordingly.  There is less waste, as the farmers do not have to guess what will sell at the farmers market.  The farmers are able to spend more time and resources on farming.

The Benefits to the Share Holders

Each week, during the growing season, the CSA members receive a basket of fresh, farm produce, many of the items are harvested the same day the baskets are picked up.  The quantity and variety in the baskets will change each week depending on which vegetables  are at their peak. 

The Benefits to the Environment and Community

Since the farmers are able to sell their vegetables locally the transportation costs are greatly reduced, thus saving on fuel and emissions.  The available land can be managed efficiently with the knowledge of the quantity of produce required.  The farmers and the members get to meet and form friendships. 

I think the CSA is a win, win, win opportunity.  I can hardly wait to get my first basket of farm fresh veggies!

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Safety Drill

The Environment and Forestry Class that our nephew attends had a safety drill on their wood lot this past weekend.  Their instructor, Mr. Dennis Flynn, stated the school has fire drills and lockdowns, he thought it was a good idea to have a simulated accident on the wood lot.  Several area fire companies were invited to help with the drill.  The fire fighters became familiar with the location of the wood lot and practiced extricating a victim from under a downed tree.   More details on the wood lot drill can be seen at


Safety in the Work Pace

The safety conscious instructor got me thinking about safety in our plant.  Here at Ketchum we have a very good safety record and work diligently to keep our manufacturing plant incident free.  As a small business, we do not have the luxury of a full-time safety department.  We rely on videos, borrowed from our insurance company, to add visual content to our training.  Our April topics are hearing conservation and hand protection.

Hearing Conservation

We hire a company to bring their mobile testing van to our plant.  After watching a video on hearing conservation and proper use of hearing protection, through a series of beeps our hearing is tested.  The machines used in our manufacturing process are very loud and  hearing protection is required.  I believe the information we receive during training allows our employees to understand the benefits of wearing hearing protection.

Hand Protection

The punch presses at Ketchum stamp, cut and bend metal, as you can imagine, fingers and hands are no match for them.  All of our presses have electronic guards,  the presses will not operate if the guards are not in place.  The metal coils have sharp edges and leather gloves help to keep fingers and hands laceration free.

A big “Thank You” to Mr. Flynn for teaching safety to our students and reminding all of us that safety requires education and practice.


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It’s National Pets Are Wonderful Month!

April is officially Pets Are Wonderful Month (PAW), a time to honor the animals that bring love and happiness to our lives. There’s no question that our pets give us love and companionship daily, but they are also benefit our physical and mental health too.

Research has shown that pets can improve our cardiovascular health, reduce stress, decrease loneliness and depression, and facilitate social interactions among people who have pets. That’s why pets are so frequently used in nursing homes, for people with disabilities and children with autism. Here are five benefits of having a pet:

Good for the heart

In one study, people who never owned a cat were 40 percent more likely to die of a heart attack than those who did. Another study showed that people who owned dogs had a significantly better survival rate after one heart attack. In general, pet owners have a lower risk of dying from any cardiovascular disease than non-pet owners. Owning pets has also show to lower your blood pressure too.

Natural mood enhancers

Pets are natural mood enhancers; just a few minutes of watching your cat or dog play will instantly reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Therapists have even prescribed pets as a way of dealing with depression. Because no one loves you more unconditionally, or listens to you talk without interruption, than your pet. Having a pet can brighten even the worst of days!

Better physical fitness

While this one may be a given, people who have pets tend to be more physically active and less obese than those who don’t. And exercising with your pet will benefit both of you! Just two 15-minute walks a day will ensure you meet the minimum recommendations for physical activity. Plus, who makes a better exercise buddy than your four-legged friend?

Social interaction

Having an active social life is key to staying healthy. And pet owners have a tendency to interact with other pet owners. A dog is an instant conversation starter. Bring your furry friend to the local dog park and the social interaction will blossom.

Sense of security

Pets also provide us with a sense of security. Dogs in particular can alert us of potential hazards and intruders. They can also seek help in emergencies. For example, the “seizure dog” has been trained to live and work with people who have epilepsy. They bark to alert parents when a child is having a seizure. Some even lie next to a person having a seizure in order to prevent injury.

Here at Ketchum, we were thrilled to find out that April was National Pets Are Wonderful month. So, get out there and hug your furry friends today. We sure will!

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Ketchum Tags On Location

Parlay Studios in New York, one of our new customers,  is using Ketchum cattle neck tags to identify their expensive photography equipement.  They were kind enough to send us a note on how well the tags are working for them.

Here at Parlay Studios we use your tags on film and photography shoots to label our vast equipment inventory.  They are extremely useful in which they clearly label our gear and make it easier for our clients to differentiate our equipment from their own.  Now they not only set us apart from every other equipment rental studio, but let everybody know where they can contact us to order their own!  
EQ tags are not only informative but also stand out amongst a wide range of equipment in the production world.  For example we have about 40 sandbags in our inventory, a necessity during any production, and each one is clearly tagged with our personalized EQ Tag.  
There are no doubts as to which sandbags are ours and which belong to clients.  This is a large help to our business because we no longer have to worry about missing gear.  If someone borrows something they know exactly where to return it.  Thank you so much for your amazing product! 
 I have also attached a few photographs that show how we use EQ Tags.
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