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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Rabbit Oral Health: An important aspect to maintaining your rabbits health

After watching some rabbits chewing their food recently, it got me to thinking about whether rabbits tend to need any kind of oral care to keep those teeth strong and functional.

I did not know much about this area and did a little research into this topic.  I will share what I have learned.

Rabbits are chewers, using their teeth in many ways.  They use their teeth not only to ingest their high-fiber diet, but also to express frustration or happiness or pain, remodel their environment, groom themselves and explore new situations.

There is actually a lot we can do to help keep these important “tools” in good shape.  Problems that often occur in the oral cavity include malocclusion of the incisor teeth.  What is malocclusion?

Malocclusion-- when teeth don’t meet and wear properly.  When malocclusion occurs the teeth will overgrow and need frequent trimming.  Most cases of incisor malocclusion are hereditary and will show themselves before 6 months of age. Consult with your vet if your rabbit has that problem.

So, how can you check the incisors to determine if you have this issue?  The incisors are located at the front of the jaw and are easy to see and examine.

With your rabbit either on her back or sitting facing away from you, gently part her lips to make her “smile.”  If she is sitting use your body to prevent her from backing up.  The four large teeth you see (2 top and 2 bottom) are her incisor teeth.  Also, check to see that they are not loose and that the gum tissue is healthy pink (not red or purple). 

If malocclusion allows food or hair to collect around teeth, you can keep infection at bay by using the smallest size baby tooth brush to remove the accumulated debris.

The rabbit’s grinding teeth (also called cheek teeth) are too far back in the mouth to be easily checked, but you can watch for secondary signs of cheek tooth pain such as:

  • Drooling or wetness around the mouth
  • Swelling, warmth at jawline
  • Weight loss
  • Grinding teeth
  • Grumpy behavior
  • Bad odor from the mouth

Think about creating a safe chewing environment.  Offer plenty of approved and safe chewing objects such as cardboard, wood, dried pinecones and straw mats.  Exclude your rabbit from dangerous areas such as where electrical wires run or phone cords.  Pick up small objects that can lodge in rabbit’s mouth, such as rubber bands, needles, twist-ties and paper clips.

Healthy teeth are so important to maintaining your rabbit’s health.

Visit to learn more about rabbits, rabbit feed and other great companion animal information!  

Posted on 7/27/2016 by Amy Brown  |  Category: Rabbit
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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

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