let's talk farm animals

Twinkle toes - pedicures for cows

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by Kim Waalderbos

Our cows are walking with some extra bounce in their step. They’ve all just been given a cow-sized pedicure by our hoof trimmer Peter.

Peter comes to our farm two-to-three times each year to help care for our cows’ feet. It’s an important job because we want all them to be walking comfortably, so we dedicate a whole day each visit to trimming and shaping.

Hoof trimming is a regular and important part of cow care. Here the hoof trimmer uses a special tool to even up the bottom and tips of the cow’s foot.

When it’s her turn, each cow is loaded gently into the hoof trimming stall. Peter has a setup that allows each cow to lie down comfortably while he’s working.First he looks over each foot to check for any issues with sore spots or infection – that might need extra attention, maybe even a bandage or special wooden shoe to take the weight off a sore spot temporarily. Then he uses some clipper-like tools to trim the toe length, and knife-like tools to shape and file the foot.

The process is much like we trim and file our own finger nails – no pain involved. The cows are comfortable while Peter tends to their hooves, many even chew their cud while he works. In the case of our cow pedicures though, we don’t bother with any colourful nail polish!


Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 29th, 2013 :: Filed under Animal care,animal handling,Animal health,Dairy cattle
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Chicken lungs

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Did you know that farm animal veterinarians are extremely specialized? A poultry veterinarian will be an expert in caring for chickens or turkeys, but usually won’t be as experienced in treating a beef cow or a pig.

Today, we want to draw your attention to a blog written by Mike, an Ontario chicken veterinarian.

You can learn more about Mike and his interesting choice of careers at http://mikethechickenvet.wordpress.com/about/

Here’s a link to his latest blog – Chicken Lungs

“Anyone who knows me knows of my hate-hate relationship with running. I have started running in the past year, and have decided that it is the most ridiculous activity known to man. You can’t score goals, you can’t look cool, and you will NEVER make it to Sportcenter (Usain Bolt excluded….I mean….he IS Usain Bolt).

The main reason I hate running is because I suck at it. I’m strong, but my aerobic capacity is lousy. I wish I was a bird. If I was a bird, my trachea (windpipe) would be 2.7 times as large, reducing air resistance. My rate of breathing would be about 1/3 of what it is currently, and I would take much bigger breaths.

This is the first part of the system that makes the bird respiratory system much more efficient at gas exchange than mammals (especially this particular mammal). ”

To read more go to…http://mikethechickenvet.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/chicken-lungs/


Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 23rd, 2013 :: Filed under animal handling,Animal welfare,Chickens,Laying hens,Poultry
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by Kim Waalderbos

Mooove on over, ladies. There’s a new diva on the block, and she’s…accessorized. Her momma too.

Cows and calves on Canadian dairy and beef farms are all sporting a pair of ‘earrings’ or ear tags that are unique to them. The cool part about these ear tags is not only are they stylish, but they serve an important purpose too — traceability.

A young dairy calf sports her Canadian national identification ear tag (the round button in her right ear).

These ear tags are part of an industry initiated, industry-led program called the Canadian Cattle Identification Program (http://CanadaID.com). Participants in Canada’s beef, dairy and bison sectors established the program January 1, 2001, with full enforcement (including fines and penalties) since July 1, 2002.


Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 21st, 2013 :: Filed under Animal care,animal handling,Beef cattle,Dairy cattle,Food safety,Traceability
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Farming is a sweet thing for this eighth generation country boy

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By Andrew Campbell

Bloomfield - When you think of a typical high school student, you might think about someone who spends time sleeping in, cramming for exams or practicing to make a school team.  But what about starting a new business? It may not be common, but Justin Williams of Wilhome Farm in Prince Edward County is anything but ordinary.

At the young age of 11, Justin took his interest in a friend’s family maple syrup business home to his parents’ farm. He was sure he could also produce high quality maple syrup. Together with 25 maple trees and the help of a neighbour who let the young entrepreneur borrow a sap boiler, ‘Justin’s Maple Syrup’ was born.

More than a decade later, Justin, now 24, taps 500 trees each year, uses a vacuum system to bring the sap through the forest to his sugar shack and has upgraded his boiler several times. Today, he’s producing 500 litres of maple syrup annually and typically sells out of his supply. When he’s at peak production, he’s often assisted in the sugar shack by his “Nana” and other members of his family.

Justin Williams in his family’s barn with a young heifer calf.


Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 13th, 2013 :: Filed under Agricultural Advocates,Agriculture Education,Animal care,animal handling,Barns,Dairy cattle,Maple Syrup
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In Europe, our sea-weasels are sacred

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By Terry Glavin, Ottawa CitizenMay 3, 2013  (Reprinted with permission of the author)

A kind of history was made this past week in the proceedings of a World Trade Organization adjudication panel in Geneva. For the first time in the 66 years since the signing of the original General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a dispute settlement panel is being asked to consider the assertion of moral and spiritual grounds as the basis for a contested trade restriction.

The unlikely threat to European public morality is Canada. It comes from Brussels’ determination to keep the citizens of the EU’s 27 member states safe from the moral harm that would come from being exposed to mukluks, kamiks, parkas and whatnot, owing to those trade goods being made from seals. Only the stout and sensible Norwegians, who have a small seal hunt of their own, are on Canada’s side.

To read the rest of the column visit: www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/Europe+weasels+sacred/8335050/story.html


Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 8th, 2013 :: Filed under Activism
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Magic happens everywhere – both at Disney and on Ontario farms

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By Kristen Kelderman

While the great Walt Disney was a man with a big heart and an even bigger imagination, I would argue against the famous tagline that Disney World is the most magical place on Earth.

For me there is nothing more magical then a trip home to the farm. The birth of a new born calf, the tiny seed that grows into a nine foot corn plant and the sweet smell of fresh cut hay on a warm June afternoon are some of the magical every day experiences happening on farms across Canada.

Don’t get me wrong. The Disney experience ignites a nostalgic feeling of childhood memories and my inner kid at heart begins to show. But the spark that lit up my magical moment at Disney this year was a behind the scenes tour at my favourite park, Animal Kingdom.

A team of nutritionists at the Animal Kingdom spend their days managing the meals of 250 species of animals living at the park. Two of the nutritionists studied at the University of Guelph

As luck would have it, our schedules synced up and we were able to go behind the scenes to tour the park’s incredible nutrition and veterinary facilities.

Eduardo and Shannon graciously took time out of their day to discuss the daily happenings and challenges of raising animals both in captivity and in the public eye.


Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 7th, 2013 :: Filed under Animal care,animal handling,careers
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Meet the faces of May in the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar

By Patricia Grotenhuis

Running a store, bakery and tea room while also running a farm may seem like a daunting task, but it’s one the Schillings family of White Feather Farms in Oshawa embrace.

Cindy and Hubert Schillings, along with their daughters Leah and Emma, son Joel and Hubert’s sister Liz and nephew have a big commitment at the farm. While Liz runs the store, which features a tea room and bakery, the rest of the family runs the farm, which has a combination of egg laying hens, broiler chickens, and field crops including corn, soybeans, wheat and barley on their land.

In 2013, Cindy, Leah and Emma are featured in the 2013 Faces of Farming Calendar published by Farm & Food Care Ontario.  Their page is sponsored by Egg Farmers of Ontario.

The mother/daughter team of Cindy, Leah and Emma Schillings are the faces of May in the 2013 Faces of Farming calendar


Posted by Farm and Food Care on May 2nd, 2013 :: Filed under eggs,Faces of Farming,Farm life,Uncategorized
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