Hubbard Life

Hubbard Life Blog

Your resource for advice from Hubbard® Life experts.


4-H and FFA: Where 1 + 1 equals a lot more

I have had the great fortune of working with local 4-H clubs in my county and FFA groups close to the Botkins, OH plant for many years.  It is wonderful to see these bright, eager minds and bodies ready to tackle almost anything, from learning how to handle animals that outweigh them by 10-fold or to step in front of a group of people and speak. 

I just finished working on an FFA project where the kids did not want to perform an old “feed them/weigh them” experiment, but wanted to expand their knowledge.  They wanted to learn more about how new ingredients, like yeast, would affect the gut morphology when added to the animal’s diet. They observed it affected production and more importantly, taste.  They took their research project a step further by visiting our Botkins feed mill to see how their feed was made, and then went to the facility where the birds were processed.     

As I opened my email this morning, I noticed an article from the Pork Network by JoAnn Alumbaugh about 10 Reasons Why your Child Should Join 4-H or FFA.  I was in 4-H for 10+ years, as a youth, and those experiences, and great people I met, help me even still today.  I thought I would share the 10 reasons I believe youth should join 4-H or FFA:

  1. Leadership skills:  I started as a recreation officer and worked to president of many organizations.
  2. Knowledge of agriculture:  I had a step ahead of many of my fellow students when I went to college.
  3. Healthy living:  Life skills on feeding animals correctly and knowing what is in my Cheerios in the morning.
  4. Confidence:  In many of my first Junior Leadership meetings, I did not say a word.  But the experience helped me learn to make friends and work together.
  5. Good Sportsmanship:  Taught me to be a good winner, but most importantly a good loser as well.
  6. Work ethic:  My parents helped, but I learned early that it was up to me to get projects completed or to find an answer.
  7. Community service:  Showed me how great it feels to help someone else.
  8. Lifelong friendships:  I currently live four hours away from my hometown and still exchange Christmas cards with many of my old 4-H friends.
  9. Scholarship and education opportunities:  One of my daughters is a senior in college and the other is in grad school, anything to help save money is HUGE!
  10. And so much more:  Mentors, friends, education, etc.  The list goes on and on.

I am so glad that my sisters, myself, and now my children had the chance to develop and become better people, thanks to great organizations like 4-H and FFA.  

Posted on 1/9/2017 by Dr. Ed Bonnette  |  Category: Equine, Poultry, Cat, Dog, Rabbit, Sheep, Goat, Specialty
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Parasite Control Makes Animals Healthier

A scheduled program for internal and external parasites is a must for your animal’s health.   Whether you have a herd of goats, a few sheep you raise for wool or a horse that you ride on the weekends, you can find information about parasite control by Googling ‘internal and external parasites in…’, then add the animal; ‘goats’, ‘dogs’, ‘horses’, etc.

For internal parasites, worms are the most common and for external parasites we are concerned with creepy crawlers like fleas, ticks and mites.  The best source of local information is your veterinarian who can make you aware of the local parasites your animal may be exposed to and can help set up a control program. Programs vary from region to region so if you are moving to a new area, contact a veterinarian in that area to start on a program specific for the new location.  

If you have not yet established a parasite control program for your animals the best time to start is NOW!  If you have a program follow it rigidly so parasite re-infestations are controlled. If you notice an unexpected weight loss, rubbing, scratching, energy loss or parasites on your animal or in their feces, contact your veterinarian and review/update the control program.  Avoid ‘home remedies’ as the remedy may cause damage to the animal’s skin or digestive track. Follow the use directions on all products and only use it for the animal it is made for.  Inspect your animals frequently for parasites.

Animals look and perform better when they are on a program to control parasites. This is especially important for young animals and those nursing babies as their nutrient needs are greater per unit of food. Parasite-free animals digest their food better which helps young animals grow faster and reduces the amount of food required for older animals to maintain proper body weight.  They are more alert and active.  Hubbard® Life offers products for a wide variety of animals.  It is formulated to optimize your animal’s nutritional needs and health. You can learn more at www.hubbardlife.com.

Posted on 5/10/2016 by Dr. Dave Whittington  |  Category: Equine, Poultry, Cat, Dog, Rabbit, Sheep, Goat, Specialty
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Sheep are from Mars, Goats are from Venus

A question I often get is, “What are the differences between sheep and goats?”

Actually, there are quite a few differences between these small ruminant species.  There are so many differences it leads me to believe sheep are from Mars and goats are from Venus.   They are almost as different as horses are to rabbits (except for the huge size disparity).

Called small ruminants because they share similar digestive systems as cattle (four stomachs that utilize bacteria to ferment cellulose for energy), sheep and goats are much smaller in stature, but they still have differences between their natural eating behaviors.  Sheep are technically grazers, meaning they prefer chewing grass and clover low to the ground. Goats, on the other hand are known as browsers, meaning they often choose to select leaves, shrubs, vines and weeds.  They like to eat at the tops of plants, higher off the ground. They are very agile and will stand on their hind legs to reach vegetation.

This natural difference between the two animals is key when it comes to pasture management.  Sheep have an overall better resistance to pasture parasites because they have evolved eating close to the ground, putting them in close contact with roundworms, tapeworms and the like.  Goats, in contrast, developed eating off the ground over time.  With less contact with parasites in manure on the ground, goats have a less developed natural ability to resist parasitic infections.   

Sheep have a narrow tolerance for excess copper in their diet, though toxic levels depend upon the level of other minerals in their diets.  Breeds also vary in their sensitivity to copper toxicity.  For this reason, it is generally recommended that sheep not be fed grain and mineral mixes that have been formulated for other livestock (including goats), as these feeds likely have copper added to them.  Goats require more copper in their diets than sheep and are not sensitive to copper toxicity.  Their maximum level of copper is considered to be similar to cattle.  When sheep are co-mingled with goats or cattle, sheep products should be fed as a safety factor. 

Lambs (sheep) tend to grow much faster than kids (goats), no matter what the diet is.  Sheep convert feed more efficiently.  For that reason, grain-feeding is less likely to be profitable in goat meat production.  Sheep and goats often “fatten” very differently.  Goats will deposit fat around their internal organs before depositing external fat over their back, ribs and loin.  Sheep deposit external fat before depositing the internal fat.

Another notable difference is the general behavior.  Goats are naturally curious and independent.  Sheep have a natural flocking instinct and will prefer to stay together and follow each other.  It is easier to keep sheep inside a fence, while goats will look for creative ways to get out.  Goats will look for shelter from a storm while sheep don’t mind weathering a storm in a tight group in open terrain.

And finally, appearance differences abound.  Goats have hair (not wool).  Most sheep have a thick coat of wool covering their bodies that needs to be sheared off repeatedly during their lifetime.  Goat tails will stand up while sheep tails go down.  Most sheep tails are docked at birth for health and sanitary reasons.  Many breeds of sheep are polled (meaning they have no horns).  Those sheep who do have horns often have thick, tightly curved horns at the sides of their heads.  In contrast, goats have horns in most cases.  And the horns tend to be narrow, upright, less curved, and come to a sharper point.

A final bit of trivia: Which female has a longer gestation (pregnancy)?

The doe (goat) has a 150 day gestation and the ewe will range from 145-147 days.

I hope this information has been interesting and maybe even helpful.  To learn more about high quality feed products available for sheep and goats visit www.HubbardLife.com

Posted on 3/30/2016 by Amy Brown  |  Category: Sheep, Goat
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