Cattle on the Wilder Side

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Q. Are there any wild cows?

A. Yes, though many of the surviving wild species do not look much like the dairy cows in a Grandma Moses landscape or the herds of beef cattle on a Western ranch. They include some buffalo, bison and yaks.

The wild ancestor of most domestic cattle, the aurochs, Bos primigenius, has been extinct since the 17th century.

Every week, we’ll bring you stories that capture the wonders of the human body, nature and the cosmos.

According to wildcattleconservation.org, an educational website that keeps track of the remaining wild species, there are fewer than a dozen species that can be considered cattle still living in the wild, mostly in small and scattered populations. Most of these are considered vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered, threatened by shrinking habitats and poaching. Read more…

 

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The Effects Of Mud On Cattle Health

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One of the most frustrating things to deal with in the spring is mud. It keeps us out of the fields and off the back roads, plus it makes your wife mad when you inevitably track on her floor. In addition, mud doesn’t only make cattle look messy, but can have several other negative effects on cattle health and performance. While it is a challenge, some steps can be taken to decrease the effect mud has on your livestock.

The first problem mud creates for cattle is it makes it harder to move around. While this may seem obvious, this means it takes more effort to get up to the bunk and eat, taking energy away from growth. This extra effort also suppresses feed intake. According to National Resource Council Nutrition Requirements, four to eight inches of mud can decrease feed intake by 5 to 15%.

Mud also decreases cattle’s ability to regulate their temperature as efficiently. Hair mats caused by mud decrease the insulation capability of the hair, leading to cattle having to consume more energy to stay warm. The combination of these two challenges leads to an increased cost of gain. University of Nebraska Extension research has shown that four inches of mud in 36 degree weather can increase the cost of gain by 23.5%.

So how can we counter this mucky menace? The best way to start by shaping the pens for adequate drainage in the summer, before the rain and snow occurs. This is a distinct challenge in East River South Dakota, where much of the state is as flat as a pool table, but it can be done. Building mounds that allow the cattle a dry place to lie down throughout the pen, with a slope that takes water in a single direction away from the feed bunks will go a long way. In hillier areas, creating the slope will be less of an issue, but keep in mind where the water is draining towards so it doesn’t conflict with your runoff management plan. Read more…

Keep your doggie safe on the road – travel

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Dogs can travel safely by wearing a harness and seat belt

If you have a dog, there will be some point when you have to transport it in a vehicle – whether it is for the annual visit to the veterinarian or a weekend beach jaunt.

It is second nature for you to belt up and to ensure every person in the car does so too. But what about your dog?

In Singapore, it is not uncommon to see owners holding their canine companions in their arms while in the car or merely leaving them in the rear seats unrestrained.

“Dog carriers and crates are one of the least popular items in our inventory,” says Mr Kieran Kua, who oversees the operations of Pet Guru, an online pet store owned by SOSD, a humane organisation which rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes rescued strays. “If a customer purchases one, it is usually because it’s needed to fly a dog back home and not to use it to ferry the dog around in a car.”

For some drivers here, other concerns seem to be a higher priority than safety.

Medical doctor Robert Woon, 40, says: “A car seat cover is most important to me when I am taking Max, my Labrador Retriever, to the park or the beach. He is so docile and low energy, he just lies at the rear for the entire journey.” read more…

 

 

What Supplements Do Eventing and Dressage Horses Consume?

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Eventers ranked stamina and fitness (43.9%), lameness (41.9%), and energy levels and behavior (37.1%) as their top three horse health or performance concerns.

 

Key findings regarding supplement use included:

  • The most frequently reported reasons for feeding supplements to dressage horses were to improve joint health and mobility (78.4%), vitamin and mineral status (46.1%), and behavior (45.9%);
  • The most frequently reported reasons for feeding supplements to eventing horses were to improve electrolyte status (70.5%), joint health and mobility (68.9%), and behavior (43.9%);
  • Both dressage and eventing owners listed joint supplements as the most important in their feeding program (57%);
  • Many owners listed behavior and energy levels as the most important concern for their top performance horses, but most did not use a supplement specifically for behavior; and
  • The vast majority of owners in both groups reported that they feel the supplements they used to target a specific health concern did make a difference in their horses (96.8%).

read more…

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Owning a dog could benefit your mental health.

The video shows that when humans and hounds are around each another both species’ heartbeats have a nice, calm rhythm.

The advert then claims that this test is proof that dogs can calm anxiety and stress. But it this all just a shaggy dog story?

“Although the video only showed a few instances of synchronous heart rates between owners and their dogs, it demonstrates what has been shown in other studies, that dogs can reduce stress in their owners,” Elizabeth A. Stone, a professor at Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, told The Huffington Post.

But Stone was quick to add: “All of the examples in the video showed people who were very attuned to their dog as was the dog to them. These results might be different if the owner was somewhat indifferent to the dog or the dog was ill-trained and caused increased stress to the owner. For instance, some people wouldn’t want a dog jumping up on them as was shown in the video.” read more…

Why are cats so weird?

It’s something I consistently find myself asking when I watch my cat. Thankfully, a new video from TED Ed, narrated by cat guru Tony Buffington, gives a scientific explanation.

“Cats today retain many of the same instincts that allowed them to thrive in the wild for millions of years,” Buffington explained. “This explains some of their seemingly strange behaviors: To them, our homes are their jungles.”

Here are the explanations from the video, based on the hypothetical life of Grizmo the cat:

  • Why cats love the highest spot in the house: “Enabled by their unique muscular structure and keen balancing abilities, cats climbed to high vantage points to survey their territory and spot prey in the wild. Grizmo doesn’t need these particular skills to find and hunt down dinner in her food bowl today, but, instinctually, viewing the living room from the top of the bookcase is exactly what she’s evolved to do.”

read more…