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Resolve to Learn about Antibiotics

I’m grateful for antibiotics. I’m even more grateful when I don’t need them. I try hard to keep my kids out of the doctor’s office, but when my son came down with scarlet fever, I was grateful to live in a century where a quick stop at the pharmacy dealt with a once life-threatening condition.

Same goes for the animals in my care. First I’ll take good care of them– food, water, shelter, etc.. But when they get sick– really, truly sick, they get medication.

For Lizzie it happened when she was just a few weeks old. It was super cold out and the poor little lamb got so, so sad. See the heartbreaking eyes.

sick little lamb

And just a few weeks ago Harriett started limping. At first it was minor, but a day or two later it took her ten minutes to stand up. So she got a shot.

Resolve to learn about antibiotics

Then there are the baby chicks who get starter feed with a low level of medication. Baby chicks die seemingly without cause and I’m not happy about loosing a single one.

Resolve to learn about antibiotics

These are backyard animals, but the same principles apply for livestock producers.

This may surprise you, but healthy animals are good for the farmer too. Sick animals require more time and money. If you don’t like co-pays for your family of four or five imagine vet bills for herds of four or five hundred (or thousand!).

That doesn’t mean antibiotics are never used. But perhaps understanding when they are used will help you make the right choices for your family.

Resolve to learn about antibiotics

Farm families eat the food they grow as well!

For one rancher it might make the most sense to give all the animals some level of medication in their feed when they are weaned from their mothers. This is a decision a producer/friend of ours makes because 10-12 days after this transition the calves often become sick, even die.

A friend whose calves are born in the fall rather than the spring gives medication when they are young to help them through crazy temperature changes—you know, the ones that make everyone sick.

Here’s the nice thing though. Repeatedly I heard from livestock producers that keeping an animal from getting sick resulted in an animal more likely to stay healthy later.   Then they can grow for the next 9 months to a year before butchering with very little need for more medication.

Resolve to learn about antibiotics

Did you also know there are regulations about how soon after being given antibiotics a steer can be butchered or milk from a dairy cow can be sold?

But every farm is unique, every farmer different. If you’re a farmer leave a comment about what works on your farm. If you’re not, resolve to learn about antibiotics and join the conversation. Maybe you’ll come to a better understanding of what it takes to get food to the table.

 

Don’t miss Resolve to Learn About Your Food in the New Year

and Resolve to Learn About Organics

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Categories: Food | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Resolve to Learn about Antibiotics

  1. I agree that I generally don’t like taking medicine, or giving them to my kids or animals, but sometimes it must be done for a short period of time. As long as you do your research and use discretion for the greatest good, everyone can be healthy and happy. As a new hog farmer, I don’t give antibiotics routinely, but if one of my pigs is sick or injured enough to cause concern, he/she will get a dose. It takes 30 days after treatment before you can butcher for meat so if one gets treated it doesn’t get sold until it’s system is clear either. People just need to handle their animals and medications properly, and educate themselves. It seems there is a lot of fear out there that farmers care about profit and don’t care about their customers, or the food they provide. This is so untrue. I don’t want to treat my animals, but I also don’t want a good animal to die for something easily treated, and I don’t want to foster disease or allow infection to spread. My strategy is to treat only as needed, then wait for the medicine to cycle/process through the animal before butchering or selling. It’s just responsible care and thorough understanding that is needed.

  2. Courtney

    Good read Kelly!!

  3. Debra Corner

    Michael had scarlet fever when he was 5. Just to add to family tree, and I had forgotten that, it’s only been 33 yrs, lol

  4. I’m very thankful for antibiotics. My son also had scarlet fever when he turned one. I was shocked to find out people still get that! I’m so glad he was able to get medicine to make him better.
    I also have had to use them to battle pneumonia on a baby goat, and mastitis on my dog.
    I’m always reading up on what drug works best for which ailment, I don’t use them often but always have them on hand, because when an animal gets sick it can die quickly.
    Great post!

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