let's talk farm animals

Practicing Animal Welfare every day on the farm

by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and Agricultural Advocate

Many people are familiar with the term “animal rights”, and hearing can bring up images of activist groups on parade.  Animal rights supporters don’t believe humans have a right to use animals for any purpose. Activists are not usually interested in finding solutions but prefer to focus on problems and dramatic examples to generate funds and support.
A term which is heard less often in the general public is animal welfare, although this is the phrase that refers to what farmers and researchers are doing every day.

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Posted by FFC on February 25th, 2011 :: Filed under Activism,Animal care,Animal health,Codes of Practice,Innovation and technology,Sustainability of the family farm
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A day in the life of a freestall dairy farmer

 by Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

In an earlier post, I highlighted what a day in the life of a tie stall dairy farmer looks like. Today, I thought I’d cover the other type of dairy farming – a free stall farm. 

Here's a milking parlour awaiting cows for one of two daily milkings on one Canadian dairy farm

On any dairy farm, days are laid out based on the milking schedule.  Cows cannot miss a milking, so someone always has to be present. Dairy farmers milk their cows two or three times per day.  The farmer makes the decision about how often the cows are milked, and a big factor to consider is how many employees work at the farm.  For farms that milk three times each day, extra workers are required.

At my parent’s farm, cows are milked twice per day.  George and Agnes wake up at 5 a.m. to go to the barn and begin milking by 5:30.  They have a free-stall barn, which means the cattle live in a large open space between milkings, and at milking time walk to a central milking parlour to be milked.  An example of both a free-stall and a tie-stall dairy operation can be found on the Virtual Farm Tours website at www.virtualfarmtours.ca

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Posted by FFC on February 16th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Dairy cattle,Family vs factory farming,Farm life,Sustainability of the family farm
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An Unexplainable Feeling

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An Unexplainable Feeling

The following post was written by Ursina Studhalter; a student at the University of Guelph studying Agricultural Business. It was first published on the http://farmersmatter.ca/blog/ website and is reprinted here with permission.
She and her family have a diverse farm, raising pigs and milking dairy goats.

Everything comes second to the farm. Without it, I’d feel lost. I know the instant I’ve crossed into my home territory. The road opens up, large barns begin to appear and fields span the horizon. That’s when I know I’m at home. It does not have to be Huron County, I could be driving along Rue 116 in Quebec. I’m at home at any kitchen table where the talk revolves around this coming spring’s planting and the new tractor the neighbour just bought. I’m at home standing between rows of content cows, the fresh smell of hay in the air.

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Posted by FFC on February 11th, 2011 :: Filed under Farm life,Sustainability of the family farm

Winter - farm style

By Patricia Grotenhuis, Lifelong farmer and agricultural advocate

Winters are hard, no matter what your job is.  Growing up on a farm, winter meant being outside even on the nastiest of days.  We always knew there would be extra chores in the barn that could include such “glamorous” tasks as thawing out water lines, chipping ice off of the free stall floors so cows didn’t slip and putting extra straw down for the animals who were outside.  Sometimes it was lunch time before we even got in for breakfast, or we would have to go in when there were still a few jobs to do to thaw out and find warmer or drier clothes, then leave the comfort of the house to brave the elements again.

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Posted by FFC on February 8th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Beef cattle,Canada,Dairy cattle,Farm life,Weather

A Sad Day on Haley Farms - guest blog

Today, with permission from Mike Haley of West Salem, Ohio, we’re reprinting a piece he just recently posted on his blog titled “A Sad Day on Haley Farms” .  The blog gives a great insite into the work that livestock farmers do, daily, to care for their animals - although as the piece so poignantly tells, sometimes even a family’s best efforts aren’t enough.

On a related note, this week we were also impressed to see a lot of Facebook postings related to the crazy, cold Canadian winter weather we’ve been experiencing. The status updates of many of our farmer friends read: “BREAKING NEWS: There will be no farms closed/shut down due to the ongoing BLIZZARD. Each and every farmer will be out in the blistery, cold, blowing wind and heavy snowfall tending to their livestock. They will be praying for machinery to work and non-frozen water pipes. If you know or LOVE a farmer, re-post!” Amen to that.

You can read more of Mike’s blogs at http://haley-farms.com/blog/ or you can follow him on Twitter at @farmerhaley. Again, thanks to him for permission to reprint this blog.

A Sad Day on Haley Farms
Posted on February 3, 2021 by Mike Haley

Sorry to say but this blog post will have no smiles or happy pictures as I am writing it on a sad note.  On our farm we strive to keep our cattle content, happy and healthy.  People ask at times about how we feel about the livestock in our care and today’s experience is a good illustration even if this is tough to put down on the blog. If there is a calf that appears to be feeling under the weather, we know that we need to take action right away to make him/her feel better otherwise the calf’s health may continue to go downhill and reach a point that we can no longer help it.

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Posted by FFC on February 4th, 2011 :: Filed under Animal care,Beef cattle,Farm life,Weather