If you are reading this blog you are probably an owner of animals. Predominately farm animals. Animals that require husbandry, animals that get bred, animals that give birth. Animals that need raising, on the teat or the bottle. You have probably at least once brought a newly-born into your kitchen – and popped it in the bottom oven of the Aga to warm it up if you have been watching too many episodes of Downton Abbey.
Some of you may even have taken that newly-born into your bed, although, to be fair, I have only ever known one person who did that. But the point is, you know that a new-born must be kept warm. Depending on your species of choice, this New Year will either ease into it (a Spring calving beef herd) be on-going (dairy), or about to hit the fan with any early small ruminant breeding programs.
Almost everyone enters animal ownership with rose-tinted glasses. So where should you go when you truly need advice? We would encourage you to tap first into the most proven breeder of the species of your choice in your area. Make an association with a producer with commercial success, and a producer with longevity. Ask them how they keep their animals healthy, what handling facilities are needed, and the tips of the trade.
With any luck you might have bought your foundation animals from such a person but, if not, you may be reading someone else’s Blog. And what a minefield it is out there in Blogsphere.
We say beware the Blog (even though I am writing one too) because often there is nothing to it. Nothing is peer reviewed. It is yesterday’s mashed-potatoes. And the only reason we raise this point, other than the welfare of your animals, is that if you don’t take time to source a reputable breeder who offers sound advice, then you might end up having to call us!
So this New Year message from LVS is that we will always be here for the routine, the elective, and the true emergency. That goes without saying. But are veterinarians always the best source for husbandry advice? No. Your best day-to-day advice will come from the producers and breeders who live and breathe with their animals 24/7. We wish you a Happy New Year to you all.