A large animal veterinarian – and Herd health calls

Each summer veterinary students from the Ontario Veterinary College delve into that practical experience at veterinary clinics across Ontario and additional locales. These blog posts are an opportunity to tag along with nine of them this summer.

By Sarah Pechmann

Sarah_herdHealthAs my time at Port Perry Veterinary Services continues, I am starting to develop a routine for myself. Each morning one of the first things I am sure to do is scan the daily appointment schedule. The calendar is always packed with a wide array of interesting calls which each present a unique and exciting learning opportunity for me.

A common appointment that I find on the schedule almost each and every day is known as a herd health call. I remember being a little puzzled by this term when I first heard it. I have quickly come to realize that these herd health visits are some of the most important responsibilities a large animal veterinarian has and a great chance for me to grow as a veterinarian in the making.

Most dairy and meat producers will actively participate in a herd health program. This means that these producers will have a veterinarian visit their farm on a regular basis to evaluate how the herd is doing, and help make suggestions on ways to improve and maintain the health of the animals within that herd. Rather than focusing on sick animals, the entire herd is examined and the focus is on healthy animals and preventive measures that can maintain their health and well being. Continue reading

Day in the Life – ‘Kidding-around’ with a goat farmer

DayintheLifeHi! My name is Anna Haupt and together with my husband and three young children, we run Teal’s Meats – a provincially licensed butcher shop on our farm in Haldimand County, on the north shore of Lake Erie in Ontario. I also raise a small herd of registered Boer goats on our farm, Springvalley Boer Goats. I enjoy showing, sell breeding stock to other producers and process our market animals for sale through our butcher shop. Our summers are extremely busy serving our butcher shop customers, so I like to kid out (giving birth) my does (female goats) in the winter months when I have a little more time to spend in the barn.

Today on our farm… Continue reading

Innovative dairy goat farmers win prestigious awards

By Lilian Schaer

evin and Cindy Hope, with daughter Mackenzie, received their County of Peterborough Recognition award for agricultural leadership on May 24 in Norwood, Ontario.

Kevin and Cindy Hope, with daughter Mackenzie, received their County of Peterborough Recognition award for agricultural leadership on May 24 in Norwood, Ontario.

(Keene) Cindy and Kevin Hope always knew they wanted to create their own branded line of dairy goat products and goat meat right on their farm some day. What they didn’t know was that their efforts to build sustainability into their farming business would net them two prestigious awards.Cross Wind Farm was the recipient of a 2013 County of Peterborough Recognition Award as well as a Premier’s Award of Excellence for Agri-food Innovation Excellence in 2012. Cindy is delighted with this kind of recognition for the work her family is doing on their farm and in Ontario’s growing goat industry.

“To win an award of this magnitude means the world to us. It means the small producer does matter and is making a difference in our local food chain,” she explains. “The work that farmers put in in a day hardly gets noticed so this recognition is a great pat on the back for us.” Continue reading

Do goats really eat tin cans?

 By Patricia Grotenhuis

Many storybooks show goats eating everything around them, including tin cans.  It’s a common myth.

When I was 9, I bought my first goat, and had my own herd for 14 years.  I did see the goats eat a number of things over those years, but they had a very definite eating pattern – which didn’t include tin cans.

If they did come across a tin can, they would probably get much more enjoyment out of stepping on it and listening to the sound of the tin crinkling than anything else.

In this barn, goats are eating from a fresh bale of hay

Goats are browsing animals, not grazers like cattle and sheep, so goats like treats of leaves, cedar branches, and weeds in their pasture, much like a deer. They take a lot of time to search out the best snacks. They will often stand on their hind legs to reach the best part of foliage that may be out of reach to other types of livestock like sheep.

Continue reading

Little Hop-a-long

 By Patricia Grotenhuis

One day when I was in high school, I noticed that one of my goat kids seemed to be having trouble walking.  It was only, at most, a month old, and while the others were out on pasture, it had stayed near the barn.  I went out to see what was wrong, and checked the kid over.  One hind leg was being favoured, and the hoof was on a slight angle. 

I flagged my dad down right away, and he confirmed my suspicions…the kid had a broken leg.  We could not call the vet or bring the kid in to the vet clinic, so we made a splint ourselves for the small kid.  Popsicle sticks were the perfect size to stabilize the leg, and we wrapped it with multiple layers of vet wrap, which sticks to itself but nothing else and provides support. Continue reading