Antibiotics: Doctoring Food Animals

Giving antibiotics to food animals is a hotly debated topic.  I’ve spent a fair share of time giving vaccinations and doctoring sick calves on our ranch and others.  I would like to tell you first hand that people producing animals for food are not just administering drugs to animals all willy-nilly!  Food animal production is a careful science and to many farming families it is their income and purpose in life.  Raising animals is often a rewarding experience and lifestyle but it is also hard work and it takes a special breed of person to do it!

The FDA and other regulatory bodies regulate the types and amounts of drugs that can be administered to animals.  There are even more stringent regulations and withdrawal periods for livestock raised for meat and milk production.

Treating sick animals is expensive!  No rancher wants a calf to get sick because it directly effects their productivity and bottom line.  Ranchers also have compassion and don’t want the animal to suffer. When an animal is sick it is not gaining weight and developing like its contemporary group.  Just like humans, when animal disease and sickness is not treated, it spreads.  The vaccinations given to animals throughout their lives are to help them, not harm them.

Generally, calves raised in the beef industry are treated with antibiotics when they get sick.  The antibiotics and other medications have specific withdrawal times.  See the Beef Magazine article below for more information about withdrawal times.  An animal cannot be harvested until the applicable withdrawal time has passed.  The FDA and USDA have done many studies on withdrawal times and the length of time antibiotics stay in the animal’s system.  They also consistently do testing in harvest facilities to make sure producers are following the rules and keeping our food safe.

My main point is that it is good to know where your food comes from and monitor it’s safety, but stay informed and don’t believe the scare tactics put forth by activists groups.  The American food system is safe and highly regulated.  Farmers and ranchers struggle every day to meet the strictest regulations and put a safe product in your grocery store.  Be thankful you have high quality, safe food!

“According to the CDC, the most urgent threats are posed by antibiotic-resistant infections that have emerged in hospitals, as a result of heavy antibiotic use there.”

Repost from The Salt

Beef Magazine – Understanding Animal Drug Withdrawal Times


Cooped up





As a backyard chicken farmer, you and your flock will do a lot to support the health and wellbeing of our environment:

  • Chickens help eliminate household organic waste by eating everything from vegetable scraps to garden and lawn clippings, saving it from the dump and turning it into something useful
  • Chicken manure serves as an excellent organic fertilizer for your lawn and garden, eliminating the need for harmful chemical alternatives
  • Unlike most store bought eggs, backyard chicken eggs do not require industrial cleaning, packaging or shipping, making them much more environmentally friendly



The above descriptions are true. Additionally, they don’t take up much space and are fairly low maintenance. My personal favorite is their entertainment value. Each time I enter the pen to feed and water them or give them food scraps I giggle at their reactions. They make funny little noises and move their heads around checking out whatever I have with me. So far I have at least one egg per day and I’ve had three chickens for a week, then got two more a couple days ago. Like any animal, stress decreases their production. It is very likely that their production will increase once they get settled in their new coop after being caged, transported and released into a new place.


We used a friend’s old chicken coop and put a dog kennel around it to keep our dogs out. When you have more dogs than chickens and they aren’t used to each other it is recommended to keep them separate. Also, if the chickens are roaming free they poop everywhere. I prefer containment and they don’t seem to mind it. Even when the dogs are locked up and we let them roam free, they don’t go far from their home. Giving chickens plenty of food, water, shade and shelter is critical to overall health and production.


Having fresh eggs is great and the chickens are fascinating. I’m enjoying every minute of this new venture!







Furry Friday: Gus Gus & Boots

Barn cats

We adopted Gus Gus (kitten) to keep Boots (cat) company. They have gotten very spoiled and are now used to our move. We hope to relocate them to our new barn soon! Until then, they just hang out and listen to law school lectures, play inside and attack my feet from underneath the bed. Darn cats!