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Month: January 2016

Choosing The Perfect Calf Blanket

It only makes sense to use a calf blanket for babies during the winter months. We know that these calves need to stay warm and dry during damp, cold winter days. Not only do they need to be comfortable, but blankets will keep them healthier by increasing weight gain. In my past experience, blanketed calves noticeably gain a significant amount of weight versus non-blanketed calves. Here are some points to ponder when choosing the right blanket. 1. How durable is it? Blankets are an investment in the health of your calf—don’t skimp on a cheap one! They should hold up during washing and daily use. If you purchase a good quality blanket, it can be used for years. 2. Is it water resistant? Look for a blanket that is water resistant. It’s important to keep your calf dry during snowy or rainy days. This will prevent them from getting sick and keep you from getting stuck with another vet bill. 3. Does it have straps? Straps are needed to keep your blanket in place on the calf. My personal preference for a closure system would feature a hook and loop front closure that rests on the calf’s chest. Also, I prefer adjustable elastic straps that fit snugly around the calf’s rear legs. Don’t give up on the hunt to find the perfect blanket! Your calf will thank you for it. Renee Hershberger

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When you feel like quitting, try this instead

I get it. It’s cold. If you live north of I-70, there’s a good chance there is snow and ice. Everything seems more difficult in the winter, doesn’t it? Cleaning pens suddenly requires specialized gloves that won’t cut off circulation, somehow keep your hands dry, and still won’t let you get frostbite. Hauling feed now requires skill in ice skating. My personal winter pet peeve: getting dressed to go outside takes longer than the quick barn check itself. In harsh conditions, it’s especially easy to feel like quitting. It’s just going to freeze again tomorrow, why bother breaking up that ice? Surely that one last chore can wait until the weekend, or spring for that matter. You said you were going to work with your animal every day, but that was before all this snow. Your friends have really started bugging you about not going out on the weekend with them any more, so it would easier to just blow off the chores you should really do on Saturday night. When you feel like quitting, ask yourself, “What will I feel like if I quit?” That’s right – what will it feel like when you don’t reach your goal because you gave up your commitment? What will it feel like when you let yourself down? What will it feel like when you know you didn’t do everything possible to achieve your goal? You know the answer. So stick with it, go the extra mile, and tough it out. Even when…

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The ONE thing that makes all the difference

  At the beginning of a new year, it seems all we hear about are resolutions – goals for the new year, changes folks swear they are going to make this time around, and, of course, weight-loss missions. That first week of January, your news feed is flooded with declarations of intent. You probably also notice them at the beginning of every sports season, every school year, and every holiday. We all have goals. We all have dreams about what could be. We might even have one (or more) of those resolutions for the new year. The reason we ALL have goals and dreams is because that’s the easy part. How many posts will you see later this month about those goals? What are the chances you’ll read about someone’s progress in March? Who will be excited to tell you about their improvement this summer? The bigger question, how many won’t? One of my favorite quotes is from Henry Ford. “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” Reputation isn’t the driving force here, but it’s a solid reminder that what distinguishes leaders is the ability to execute. Anyone can set goals. Not everyone will be willing to do the hard work to get there. You have some goals for your livestock project in 2016? Then you need to make the choice to do the work. What will the work look like for you? Depending on your goals, it could mean going to the barn before school,…

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What the pros know about being successful

Have you ever caught yourself saying these things? “If only I had a better wash rack, then…” “When I finally get better at clipping, then…” “We don’t have what [insert neighbor’s name] has, so I can’t…” Yep, I’ve been there, too (on all counts, unfortunately). But here’s the deal. When we’re faced with challenges, it’s easy to to fall into the “if/then” trap, but it doesn’t get you any closer to your goals. Even the most expert and elite professionals started somewhere. And therein lies the key: START. Just start. Start where you are. Don’t wait until you feel ready. Don’t wait until you have all the equipment on your wish list. Don’t wait until you can go every last show. Don’t wait until your barn is perfect. Just start. Successful people – in livestock, sports, business and life – know that what separates the great from the good is the willingness to get started, wherever you are, and then keep working, even when you don’t feel ready or when progress seems slow. So stop making excuses. Walk your pigs. Rinse your calf. Practice showmanship. Clean the pens by hand. Learn as you go. Celebrate the wins and learn from every win and loss. And keep working. Take action. Before you know it, you’ll be on the road to success. But before you can get on the road, you have to get started. What will you start today? Marlene Eick

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