rambles

animal welfare

This tag is associated with 17 posts

What do cows eat?


The cattle on our dairy farm eat diets that are made specifically for them by a ruminant nutritionist. Here on the dairy we mix together individual ingredients to make a ration that is then fed to the cattle. In addition we do have some pasture to supplement the rations.

The ingredients are:

Dried Distillers Grain – this is the grain left from brewing and distilling spirits and is a good source of fat and protein.

Dried Distillers Grain (DDG)

Dried Distillers Grain

Almond Hulls – Outer protective skin when the Almond grows on the tree

Almond Hulls

Cotton Seed – the inner part of the cotton boll that is left after the cotton fiber is removed

Cotton Seed

Various silages – made from Corn Plants, and various small grain plants

Silage Bags

Alfalfa Hay

Alfalfa Hay

Various minerals and vitamins

Rumen Buffer

We also include steamed flaked corn, water and some concentrated energy additives to make the ration.

Cow Food

To learn more about technical information on cattle rations please visit the blog of my great friend Jeff Fowle he is currently doing a series of posts on cattle nutrition.

Cow games – Follow the leader – Wordless Wednesday


Follow the leader

Here you can see how much our cows love to walk on the rubber mats that we have for them.

Thinking backwards – are we suffocating ourselves?


One night last week we had a Breech calving  here at the dairy, a Breech birth is when the calf is coming backwards or rear legs first.  These calvings are extremely difficult because  the last part of the calf to be exposed is the head. A normal birth is front feet and head first presentation because it is naturally somewhat more aerodynamic and the calf can start breathing sooner.  This situation has to be dealt with as an emergency and immediate attention and assistance is given so the calf does not suffocate.

As I was finishing the calving it hit me that the situation mimicked life a bit, in that if we are backwards in our thinking sometimes we can’t see the light and will suffocate. Sadly I see this thinking more and more everyday. For example overburdening regulations that actually makes doing the right thing more expensive than neccessary it threatens the sustainability of an industry. Here in the California Central Valley we have regulations from the Central Valley Water Resources Control Board that can actually make doing the right thing downright unsustainable for business survival.  As time has gone by and common sense been added to the water environmental regulations they have been much easier to work with. Farmers are all about doing the right thing we just want a common sense economically feasible way to do it.

Backwards thinking can also be seen in knee jerk reaction to one high profile incident just to create that warm fuzzy feeling that something was done, only to end up making the problem many times worse.  Another example of thinking backwards is the thought that something should always be done one way because that is how it has always been done, and refusing to see the opportunity for innovation by looking for more options.

By thinking backwards we can almost guarantee ourselves that we will never move forward and stretch our boundaries to see what lies beyond them.

If you are wondering how the calving ended up through teamwork my father and I were able to help a calf be born alive.

What things that happen on a farm are of interest and should be shared online by farmers?


What things that happen on a farm are of interest and should be shared online by farmers? Write an answer on Quora

What things that happen on a farm are of interest and should be shared online by farmers?

Excited to see farmers speaking up


I am extremely excited to see all of the blogs, tweets and status updates from farmers explaining that what the recent “undercover video” shows is not the norm. The pride I felt today while catching up with reading all the posts that I missed on vacation was amazing so I listed some below.

A few blogs in response to the video:

Farm Experience:

  • Dark Secrets of Farms by Michele Payn-Knoper — Michele provides insight into her personal experience on hundreds of dairy farms.  She talk about the common practices she’s seen employed on dairy farms.
  • Animal abuse: It’s disgusting by Tessa Curti Hall — Working as a vet, Tessa sees several dairy farms and urges people to understand the footage seen recently is disgusting and reflects a very rare occurrence.
  • Drama on the Farm, Farmer Attacked by Chris Chinn —  There are hazards in farming to that threaten the lives of farmers as they care for animals at times. This is the story of a nearby farmer caring for his herd when an accident took place.
  • Why I’m mad as hell by Connie Lechleitner — Connie talks about the emotions she went through as she watched the video and continued to think about it.  The reality is caring for animals only makes sense for farmers and anything else is unthinkable.

Community:

  • Hell yes, I’m mad by Jeff Vander Werff — Jeff provides some tips on the objectives groups have when they release video critical of agriculture achieve certain goals and why it requires individuals respond, whether the attack is personal or not.
  • My Thoughts On The Ohio Dairy Farm Abuse Video by Troy Hadrick — As a life-long cattleman, Troy outlines his thoughts around the veracity of things on the internet, importance for legal followup and how insulting it is that anyone could believe this is part of the community he belongs to.
  • Hey! Quit Picking On My Friends. Why I Thank A Farmer! by Eliz Greene — Eliz talks about how she has gotten to know farmers through stress management training.  She highlights how important it is for people to consider fairness and honesty as well as to question what they see by asking farmers for their perspective.
  • Zero tolerance needed on animal abuse by Mike Barnett — Mike says this should serve as a call to action for farmers to make it clear that agriculture doesn’t accept such abuse in its ranks and will pursue legal prosecution of anyone engaged in it.
  • Now More Than Ever by Kelly Rivard — The importance of community for agriculture is the focus of this post, starting with the neighbor across the fence and continuing to ag neighbors own the road and further afield.
  • I Just Can’t Get It, Don’t Want to Either by Janice Person — Having been on vacation when the news of abuse broke, Janice had a contrast of images running through her mind. She cannot understand the motives for such behavior and has decided to build on the images most common in ag even if she can’t forget.

Responding:

  • This Week’s Column: Farmers Hate Animal Abuse by Andy Vance — As an Ohio farm broadcaster and cattleman Andy has a unique local view into the motivation of groups like Mercy for Animals and the Humane Society of the US when it comes to the legal process.
  • Guest Post: Undercover Agendas by Mike Haley — Ohio farmers are among those most appalled by the behavior seen in the recent on-farm investigation and Mike talks about the thoughts that haunted him in the days after seeing the video and the questions it raised.
  • Mercy For Animals Ohio Dairy Farm Video Outrages the Agricultural Industry by Shaun Haney — Shaun provides an overview of the video, his thoughts, and links to the video, other blogs and imbedded the video comments by Ohio ag commissioner.

Different undercover footage same reaction from me: Outrage


I am hearing of some video footage coming from a dairy farm in Ohio that shows someone abusing an animal(s) and my reaction is the same as every time one of these “exposes” is brought to light.  I feel a response is so important I am taking time away from my family’s vacation to express my disgust with this behavior.

Every other farmer I know who cares for animals has at one time or another put those animals well being ahead of their own or their families time or needs. Wether it is treating a sick animal during the middle of the night after having been woken from a well deserved slumber to recover from the previous days long hours, or having to jump up from the dinner table to fix a water system so the animals have a cool refreshing drink. I firmly believe that the right thing to do when anyone observes another person abusing an animal they should immediately stop what they are doing and confront the person or report it to their supervisor if that is not effective then make contact with someone in a regulatory capacity. An employee who blatantly abusesan animal observes another employee doing the same without taking the appropriate action should  be immediately terminated.

Here are some of my previous thoughts on this topic:

Update on the Animal Rights activists use of sensationalism

January 27, 2010

I watched a investigative report on a major networks late night news show Nightline  that was about dairy farms. The sensationalism used in these stories is getting harder to watch as a second generation farmer whose family has cared for our animals comfort for nearly 40 years. I feel the media and activist groups use isolated incidents to create a sense of a major problem when quite the opposite is true. In the video I listened to the farmer say he does not stand for the improper care of animals and has previously fired employees for just that. I only wish he was able to express whether the employee(s) in this incident had been let go. If you want to see a video of animals on an average dairy you can see avideo I did for Evernote. the California Milk Advisory Board also has put together some great videos of average dairymen and dairy families throughout California.

The dairy farmers  in the United States are working toward implementing a best care practices program for animal care called the National Dairy FARM Program. when this program is in place we will have an animal care manual that all dairy farms can use to continue to provide the highest level of care for their animals.

A great friend of mine Jeff Fowle, a cattle rancher from northern California has a great post on his blog Common Sense Agriculture discussing  animal rights versus animal welfare and why we should pay close attention to the difference.

In addition the post I made on this topic in September of 2009 is still pertinent as is the post referenced below from Dino Giacomazzi.

Sensationalism and the Animal Rights movement

September 29, 2009

Below is a link to a blog post by a fellow California Dairyman Dino Giacomazzi. Dino does an awesome job highlighting the unnecessary pressure and sensationalism some Animal right groups are using to ban the docking of Cattle Tails in CA. This is all unnecessary because no farm or dairy group opposes the ban and one group even supports the ban now that the farmer can provide prompt care for an injured animal.
I’m not a farmer but I play one on TV!

Update on the Animal Rights activists use of sensationalism


Tonight I watched an investigative report on a major networks late night news show Nightline  that was about dairy farms. The sensationalism used in these stories is getting harder to watch as a second generation farmer whose family has cared for our animals comfort for nearly 40 years. I feel the media and activist groups use isolated incidents to create a sense of a major problem when quite the opposite is true. In the video I listened to the farmer say he does not stand for the improper care of animals and has previously fired employees for just that. I only wish he was able to express whether the employee(s) in this incident had been let go. If you want to see a video of animals on an average dairy you can see a video I did for Evernote. The California Milk Advisory Board also has put together some great videos of average dairymen and dairy families throughout California.

The dairy farmers  in the United States are working toward implementing a best care practices program for animal care called the National Dairy FARM Program. when this program is in place we will have an animal care manual that all dairy farms can use to continue to provide the highest level of care for their animals.

A great friend of mine Jeff Fowle, a cattle rancher from northern California has a great post on his blog Common Sense Agriculture discussing  animal rights versus animal welfare and why we should pay close attention to the difference.

In addition the post I made on this topic in September of 2009 is still pertinent as is the post referenced below from Dino Giacomazzi.

Sensationalism and the Animal Rights movement

September 29, 2009

Below is a link to a blog post by a fellow California Dairyman Dino Giacomazzi. Dino does an awesome job highlighting the unnecessary pressure and sensationalism some Animal right groups are using to ban the docking of Cattle Tails in CA. This is all unnecessary because no farm or dairy group opposes the ban and one group even supports the ban now that the farmer can provide prompt care for an injured animal.
I’m not a farmer but I play one on TV!

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