Latest articles


Four generations of Withington Creek writers

Family Tradition: Ranch life has always been an inspiration for Smith Thomas family

I’ve been writing for Grainews for more than 40 years, starting when I was a young ranch wife with two small children. I’d been writing articles for a few horse and cattle magazines to help pay the bills, and was grateful for another “market” for my work. My writing career began early, thanks to my […] Read more


Treating colicky bloat in calves

Calf Management: Timeliness is critical and treatments are no guarantee

In some herds, calves die nearly every year from enterotoxemia caused by bacterial toxins. The calves are usually about a month old, but may be as young as a few days or as old as two to three months. They are generally healthy, fast-growing calves that suddenly develop acute gut pain, kicking at their belly […] Read more



Tips on getting a newborn calf breathing

Hanging them upside down doesn’t work and can make things worse

There are many traditional practices and old wives’ tales about how to get a newborn calf breathing — some of which are valid and helpful, and some that are not. Cody Creelman, with Veterinary Agri Health Services (VAHS), a five-veterinarian beef cattle practice at Airdrie, Alta., says there are a few practices that are actually […] Read more


Be leery about buying fat bulls

It may look good in the sale ring, but too much fat can lead to permanent damage

Most of the bulls that go through a sale ring are over-conditioned to some extent. Fat is beautiful because it covers up a lot of conformational faults, but it is also very detrimental for reproduction, good health, and future soundness. Many young bulls have gone through a bull test/feeding program to measure rate of gain […] Read more



Important tips for pulling a calf

Have chains properly positioned; be gentle with the calf puller

Some calves are injured at birth by improper pulling methods, says Cody Creelman, a veterinarian with Veterinary Agri-Health Services (VAHS) in Airdrie, Alta. Most ranchers know when preparing to pull they should use a double half-hitch when placing chains on the calf’s legs. The correct setup should also include one loop mid-cannon and the other […] Read more


Fixing fractures in cattle is doable

Early attention to treatment can often get the critter back on its feet

Accidents happen. Sometimes a cow steps on her calf, breaking its leg, or a limb fractures due to extensive or improper pressure applied during a difficult calving. Veterinarian Eric Laporte, with the Bonnyville Clinic at Bonnyville, northeast of Edmonton, says he doesn’t see as many dystocia-related fractures now as in the past, due to better […] Read more



cow and calf

Hard to beat the value of good colostrum

Calf Management: Watch for blood infections such as septicemia

Calves sometimes develop systemic infection in which bacteria or their toxins get into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body. Some types of toxin-forming bacteria (usually gaining entrance to the body via the GI tract, after damaging the gut lining and slipping through it) cause rapid death. The calf goes into shock when internal organs […] Read more


Protecting calves through vaccination

Best to consult with veterinarian on what’s right for your farm

Newborn calves gain temporary (passive) immunity from disease when they ingest colostrum, since this “first milk” contains antibodies. After a few weeks or months this temporary protection diminishes, so calves must build their own immunities. Vaccinating at the proper time can help protect them until weaning age. Vaccinating them too soon, however, may not stimulate […] Read more



Horses in their stable

Horse foot care — keep it simple

Horse Care: Each animal is different, try to maintain a natural lifestyle

No foot, no horse” is the old saying. A horse is only as sound as its feet. Care and management of feet will depend on the individual horse, its conformation and hoof structure, environment (including climate), and use. Whether or not the horse needs to be shod will also hinge on these factors. A shod […] Read more


Watch out for ergot in grains

Another wet growing and harvest season in 2016 is increasing the level of toxins in some feeds

Ergot is a fungus that can grow on certain grasses and grain plants when moisture conditions are just right. Ergot becomes a problem mainly after a wet season, rarely during dry conditions. The fungus replaces seed in the seed head with a dark-brown/black mass and produces toxic alkaloids. One or more of the kernels in […] Read more