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Tips For Keeping Your Senior Dog Mentally Sharp

Do you have a senior dog?  Do you wonder about how to engage them and keep them 'sharp' as they age?

Here is a great article from Canidae with helpful tips that you can use to keep your senior dog's mind active.  These simple suggestions can be incorporated into your daily routine with ease.

What do you think of the tips mentioned?  Share your thoughts by commenting!

 Read 'Tips For Keeping Your Senior Dog Mentally Sharp'
Wednesday, May 7, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (16443)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Dog

What You Need to Know : Feeding Your Senior Horse

As most horse owners know, as our horses age, their nutritional needs change.  It can be difficult to determine what to feed our horses to keep them healthy and happy.  Kathleen Young, Ph.D and Lead Technical Equine Nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition, shares valuable information that you can use to maintain and improve your aging horse's health.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (101636)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Horse

What You Need to Know : Chicken Egg Production and Egg Gathering

As you get started with your family flock, there are a few important facts and tips you need to know about chicken egg production and egg gathering.  Here is a helpful article from our Purina Mills Nutrition Experts.

"Healthy hens will begin laying eggs at about 18 to 20 weeks of age. Here are some quick facts and tips about egg production and gathering.

It is not necessary for a rooster to be present for egg laying to begin, but without a rooster, all eggs will be unfertilized.

Hens will be at peak production at about 30 weeks.

80 percent to 90 percent is considered excellent egg production (100 percent = 1 egg per hen, per day), but breed, housing, weather, management, parasite load and nutrition can all affect the rate of lay of your hens.

Eggs should be gathered three times daily, and even more often in hot weather.

Eggs for hatching should be stored at 55ºF and 70 to 75 percent humidity.

Eggs for eating should be refrigerated.

Eggs are laid with a protective coating, which helps keep bacteria out. It is best if this is not disturbed. Excessive washing can force bacteria through pores in the shell and into the egg, greatly reducing its chance for successful incubation and hatching. If washing is necessary, be gentle and quick, using water only. Be sure to use water that is warmer than the egg. Dry and cool the eggs as quickly as possible.

Frequent egg gathering serves two purposes. First, it helps keep the eggs cleaner by reducing exposure to environmental bacteria and potentially eliminating the need for washing. Second, it lessens the opportunity for hens to learn the bad habit of egg eating. This is when a hen finds a broken egg, tastes it, likes it and begins searching for other broken eggs, and then learns how to break them herself. Frequent egg gathering is your primary weapon against this behavioral problem."

Saturday, February 15, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (101932)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Family Flock

Getting Started : Preparing a Space for Your Backyard Chickens

Are you thinking about raising chickens?  As you prepare, one of the most important things to consider is how and where you will house your chickens.  Here is a helpful article from Purina Mills on preparing your backyard for chickens.

"Raising chickens is a great experience for the whole family. One of the primary requirements is providing housing that is comfortable for your backyard flock. Young chicks can be raised in a variety of structures, but the area should be warm, dry and ventilated, but not drafty. Also make sure it is easy to clean. 
  • Small numbers of chicks can be warmed adequately with heat lamps placed about 20 inches above the litter surface.
  • Bigger groups of birds in a large room, such as a shed or a garage, should have a supplemental heat source such as a brooder stove. 
Before you bring them home:
  • Several days in advance, thoroughly clean and disinfect the brooder house and any equipment the chicks will use. Doing this in advance will allow everything to dry completely. Dampness is a mortal enemy to chicks, resulting in chilling and encouraging disease such as coccidiosis (parasite infection).
  • When the premises are dry, place 4 to 6 inches of dry litter material (wood shavings or a commercial litter) on the floor. 
Feeders and Waterers
It’s important to ensure your chicks have access to fresh feed and water. Positioning the feeders and waterers along the edges of the comfort zone will:
  • Keep the water and feed from being overheated
  • Help keep water and feed cleaner (chicks milling and sleeping under the warmth source often scatter bedding and feces)
  • Encourage the chicks to move around and get exercise 
Saturday, February 15, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (101158)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Family Flock

Causes of Bloat in Goats

We are excited to see more and more of our customers becoming interested in goats and adding them to their families.  Goats are fun, full of personality, and contribute to a self-sustaining household.  While goats are typically pretty easy keepers, goat bloat is something that all owners should be aware of.  Here is a helpful article from Purina Mills Animal Nutrition on the causes of bloat in goats, how to recognize it and what to do if your goat is experiencing symptoms.

"Bloat is the symptom that occurs when a ruminant animal cannot burp. The rumen produces a lot of gas from the fermentation of food, and goats (as well as all other ruminants) normally get rid of this gas by belching. If something blocks the escape of gas from the rumen, the rumen will begin to expand. You will notice a large bulge on the animal’s left side, as if it had swallowed a soccer ball. 
Cause #1: Obstruction in the goat’s esophagus
There are two major causes of goat bloat. One is an obstruction of the esophagus; the goat may have swallowed something large, and it is stuck. In this case, you may be able to feel the obstruction in the throat. If you cannot gently work it down the esophagus, get a veterinarian’s help. You never want to be rough with an obstruction, since you don’t know if it has sharp edges.  Under NO circumstances should you ever try to push the obstruction down the throat using any kind of instrument. If the obstruction does not feel soft and pliable, do not put any kind of pressure on it, or you may cause serious damage. 
Cause #2: Consumption of inappropriate food or diet change
The second major reason for goat bloat is that either the goat has gotten into a source of soluble carbohydrates such as grain, or someone tried to change its diet too quickly. With a quick diet change, rumen microbes cannot deal with that amount of unfamiliar feed. Common sources of soluble carbohydrates are grain, the first fresh clover in the spring, and many weeds and forbs that produce high starch levels in the fall in response to cold nights.
The result of eating too much of these feeds is a shift in the pH of the rumen, resulting in death of the normal microbes, leaving “bad” microbes to increase in number and work on the feed to produce foam. The foam fills up the rumen and blocks the entrance to the esophagus, preventing the escape of gas. (This response is often the result of a mild grain overload or a meal of the first fresh clover of the season, as opposed to a severe overload that could quickly kill the goat.)
What to do
The best course of action is to call your veterinarian. Common traditional treatments include mineral oil to try to settle the foam, but your veterinarian will have much more effective surfactants that will decrease the foam and allow your goat to belch away the problem. Serious cases may require stronger intervention from your veterinarian. The best prevention is to keep the goat separated from food it is not supposed to have, and to make any dietary changes very gradually."
Wednesday, January 22, 2014/Author: Kristin O'Leary/Number of views (101841)/Comments (0)/
Categories: Goat

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