Did you know that so far this year Ohio has produced enough young, chilled or frozen turkeys that each Ohioan could eat up to 12 lbs. of turkey and there still be leftovers? Yum, that is a lot of healthy protein. It is incredible to see how diverse our agricultural production is when you look at the numbers from our great state. I hope that the spread on your Thanksgiving dinner table will include at least one local favorite. Get lunch ready before you read on, because this is going to make you hungry.
I’m drooling already thinking about dipping succulent turkey into a serving of fluffy mashed potatoes. When you think potatoes you probably think Idaho, but Ohio produced a fair 2.76 million lbs. of potatoes in 2015. What goes better on the side of a great meal than a flaky croissant roll? Thanks to Ohio wheat growers, soft red winter wheat production is forecasted at 44.8 million bushels. Broken down into terms you can throw around for family trivia, 1 bushel of wheat can be milled into 42 lb. of white four, which is enough to make more than 70 dozen dinner rolls. As for pumpkin pie, you can eat up while eating local. Last year’s pumpkin production was nearly 8.5 million lbs. Not a pumpkin fan? Apple is delicious too and also a thing to be proud of. Already in 2016 apple production has surpassed 42 million pounds. That is about 4 lbs. of apples per Ohioan. Isn’t that amazing?
Now, if you’re trying to keep things healthy this year, hidden calories can be found all over the table. Butter is one of those things that can really enhance flavor. It can also be easy to get carried away with how much we add to our meal. In contrast to criticism by the public for many years, it has actually been proven that butter is a healthy choice for families in moderation. Moderation is the key. One tablespoon of butter is about 100 added calories to your side dish. Real whipped cream is delectable on top of a dessert, but it also can also be one of those overlooked calorie additions. Depending on what type you use one tablespoon could add 25 calories or more. Rethink your drink too if you’re monitoring sugar intake. Water in your cup will help you savor the flavor of what is on your plate. Ohio State Extension has a variety of information that can help you prepare a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving dinner. Feel free to give us a call or visit ohioline.osu.edu and click on “Food” to see the factsheets we have available anytime, day or night.
Caring for groups of livestock and groups of young children share many similarities when it comes to disease prevention and control. I am reminded of this a week after Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) came home with our daughter for the third time since August. Since they often inhabit the same spaces, they eat, drink, and play together. Both young children and livestock taste surfaces while exploring their environments. It’s wonderful for developing social skills and also wonderful for spreading pathogens. Neither toddlers or livestock can effectively wash their bodies after every encounter with an infected individual or contaminated surface. As caregivers, we have to do our best to prevent disease from entering the system, because once it is there, control becomes increasingly challenging. Some illnesses can be treated effectively with antibiotics, but the more we use antibiotics, the greater resistance is built within the bacterial population. Not to mention, that viruses (like HFMD) cannot be treated with antibiotics. Given all this, the best way to fight illness is through prevention.
Beginning on January 1, 2017 Veterinary Feed Directives (VFDs) will be required for use of any fed antibiotics for livestock that are also medically important for humans. A VFD is similar to a prescription, but does not need to be filled by a pharmacist, only approved by your veterinarian. Feed stores can continue to sell feeds and minerals containing antibiotics, but the seller must have a current VFD to buy them. Antibiotic feeds have been used for years as ways to prevent and treat bacterial illnesses in livestock and this has helped improve herd health. In conjunction, antibiotic feeds have been used unethically by some parties to promote weight gain or to compensate for sub-par management practices. Research has shown and concluded that overuse of antibiotics increases resistance to their effectiveness in the long run. Therefore, it is important for human and animal health to only use antibiotics when disease is a present threat (not just suspected) and in an ethical manner.
There are many ways to stop disease before it starts and they have been identified for livestock producers in quality assurance (QA) guidelines. To quote the Good Production Practices (GPP) factsheet, “It is every animal owner’s responsibility to assure that proper management and welfare are at the core of animal care.” There are ten core GPPs:
- Use an appropriate veterinarian/client/patient relationship as the basis for medication decision-making.
- Establish and implement an efficient and effective health management plan.
- Use antibiotics responsibly.
- Properly store and administer animal health products.
- Follow proper feed processing protocols.
- Establish effective animal identification, medication records and withdrawal times.
- Practice good environmental stewardship.
- Maintain proper workplace safety.
- Provide proper animal care.
- Utilize tools for continuous improvement.
These are the core guidelines for herd health. Inevitably, disease will still get through our barriers on occasion. When it does consult your veterinarian about how to treat the herd, whether it be with medication, isolation of infected animals, or improved practices. The best things you can do in preparation for VFD implementation in 2017 is to establish and maintain a relationship with your veterinarian and follow QA guidelines.
Avian Influenza or “Bird Flu” is a type of influenza that is specific to poultry. It is introduced into commercial flocks from migratory birds who carry the virus. Some strains of the virus are very aggressive and have the potential to greatly influence American poultry production and consumption. This is because after exposure, generally 100% of the flock perishes. Not only does Avian Influenza pose a threat to commercial poultry, but also backyard poultry. Anyone raising poultry could potentially be impacted. It is very important that poultry managers know the signs of Avian Influenza and the steps to take if exposure in the flock is suspected. The Ohio Poultry Emergency Disease Management Committee, which is a collaborative effort between the Ohio Department of Agriculture, USDA APHIS Veterinary Services, The Ohio Poultry Association, and OSU Veterinary Extension has put together a brochure to help spread the word in the poultry community. Please share it with your peers.
Access the printable PDF here:
Brochure -Noncommerical Poultry
Effective January 1, 2017 livestock producers will need a Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) to purchase feeds/supplements that contain “medically important” antibiotics (antibiotics used for both animal and human medicine), including tetracycline, penicillin, neomycin, and others. The implementation of this federal policy sparks many questions within the livestock community. Here are 10 common questions:
- What is a VFD? A VFD is a written statement from a veterinarian which authorizes the use of antibiotic feeds for a specific situation. While this sounds like a prescription, by definition it is not. The main difference is that a prescription must be filled by a pharmacist, while a VFD does not.
- Why do we need VFDs? Within the multitude of producers, there are a handful who have used these feeds as a crutch to support sub-par animal husbandry practices or to take advantage of the increased feed efficiency linked to the feed, rather than to treat, prevent, or cure disease. Over use of these antibiotics increases the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
- Can I stockpile feed before January 1, 2017? You should not. If you notice, the tags on these feeds already state that they should not be fed without a VFD and when 2017 begins the policy is effective whether the feed was purchased before or after January 1st. If misuse of the feeds is discovered, the producer will be reprimanded. In turn, if a retailer sells the product without a VFD from the buyer, both parties will be reprimanded.
- If I get a VFD and follow the rules, does it mean that when I finish the treatment regime I have to discard the leftovers and buy a new bag next time? No, you can keep the product until it expires, but you must have a valid VFD to feed it at any time. VFDs do expire.
- Can my vet renew my VFD? Yes.
- How long do I have to keep record of my VFD? You, your vet, and the retailer should all keep a copy on file for at least 2 years and it should be accessible upon demand from the FDA.
- What do I need to do before January 1st? Maintain your relationship with your veterinarian. If you do not already have a relationship with a vet, establish one.
- How much does a VFD cost? There will be cost associated with a VFD, although there is no set price. Cost will depend on the circumstance and your relationship with your veterinarian.
- Are there exceptions to obtaining VFDs based on the number of livestock in consideration? Whether you intend to offer these feeds or supplements to one animal or your whole herd, you still need a VFD which explains the scope of the situation.
- How can I learn more about VFDs? Visit http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/ucm455413.htm or talk with your veterinarian.
The information in this article is adapted from the words of Dr. Justin Kiefer, DVM at The Ohio State University and announcements from the Food and Drug Administration.
This article originally appeared in the March 21, 2016 edition of The Journal Leader.
Easter is right around the corner and in the past couple weeks, I have seen multiple advertisements with chicks for sale. Often people will purchase chicks as temporary pets to entertain children as a part of celebrating Easter, but before long, these adorable little balls of fluff begin to hit puberty and turn into ragamuffin teenage birds. At this point they often lose their appeal and those who bought these cuties begin looking for a way out of keeping them.
“If only more buyers would be investors!” I have thought to myself. Raising an animal is a great way to teach a child responsibility and get a return on your investment (eggs or meat). Of all the types of livestock to undertake as a starter project, poultry is one of the easiest. In addition, the initial investments and maintenance costs are low compared to those for larger types of livestock. From my point of view, one of the most appealing aspects of raising poultry is that you can have a marketable product very quickly. Market broiler chicks can reach ready to eat weight in 5-6 weeks. At 20-24 weeks roosters reach maturity and hens begin laying eggs. You can even have a market ready turkey at 22 weeks.
If you find yourself considering purchasing chicks, here is some important information to be aware of before you buy:
- You will need to check local ordinances, zoning laws, and property association rules to make sure raising and keeping poultry is permitted in your area.
- Check if you are buying market birds or layers. Also check if they have been sexed (gender identified) or not. Birds sold in a straight run have not been sexed and your ratio of males to females is luck of the draw.
- Baby chicks need to be kept warm and dry. Without a mother hen, you will need to supply a safe, warm, and confined area to keep the chicks for the first few weeks. This area should include clean bedding, access to clean water and feed, and a heating lamp.
- Some of your chicks may die. There are many reasons why you may lose a percentage of your chicks (in these conditions, 20% is common). When mortality occurs, remove and dispose of the bird immediately and ensure that everything within the chicks’ environment is clean.
- As the birds mature they will need different types of feed (starter feed, then grower feed, then layer feed) and additional space. There are many systems you can use to house the birds depending on your preferences. Research these systems and construct a plan before you buy your birds.
These are just a few important tips. Call, click, or stop by the Noble County Extension Office if you are interested in starting poultry. There is a wealth of information available on this subject and I would be happy to help you find it.
If you are curious about what types of poultry are available and/or are interested in buying, try contacting Meyer Hatchery of Polk, OH (www.meyerhatchery.com) or Mt. Healthy Hatchery (www.mthealthy.com) of Cincinnati, OH. Both hatcheries are reputable suppliers, locally owned and operated, and offer a wide selection of birds for purchase.
Agriculture is a very dynamic and inter-woven industry mainly due to the fact that it deals with plant and animal life across many different environments. This is something farmers have to deal with on day to day bases. At times however, there are major events that can cause major impacts. One such impact that has caused a major concern in the poultry industry is the avian influenza. The avian influenza, also known as the bird flu, is a flu virus that has been killing birds at a rapid rate all over the country since December 2014. The Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza strain H5 (HPAV H5) is believed to be spreading to various poultry operations all over the country by contact with infected wild birds. The strain is easily spread from bird species and is highly lethal. To date, over forty five million birds have been euthanized to prevent the further spread of the disease. (USDA, 2015) This strain is not pathogenic to people but sick birds (or any animal) should never be consumed.
For a list of bio security protocols please see the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) link:
Sick birds or unusual bird deaths should also be immediately reported to the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Animal Health at 1-614-728-6220 or through USDA APHIS’s toll-free number at 1-866-536-7593.