Reva Gandhi– Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- The LRHS agriculture students and FFA are working hard to keep all their farm animals healthy and safe, especially their newest additions.
Two cows, Penny and Dipsy, had calves in late October. Dipsy’s calf Brutus is a steer. A steer is a neutered male calf, who is raised for beef.
FFA has four older steers besides Brutus, one beef heifer, 13 dairy heifers, and multiple pasture cows. Each type of cow requires their own feed that is specially designed to help them grow.
The 13 dairy heifers are sponsored by Dakin Dairy Farm and are fed a total mixed ration, consisting of feedstuff that maintains their milk supply. The pasture cows are fed a different feed that focuses on maintaining their body and nutrition levels.
The LRHS barn also has seven pigs. The pigs are kept on high protein and fat feed to help develop their muscles and build their body coverage.
Junior Emily Duthie tends to the school’s eight chickens. The chickens eat a feed designed for poultry that keeps their feathers shiny and consists of the proper nutrition they need.
Duthie stated, “The chickens have to be watched carefully and require a specific schedule. Every morning I release the chickens from their coop and feed them. Then, in the evening, I put the chickens back into their coop to protect them from predators.”
All equipment used is separated based on the species it is used to avoid cross contamination and help make feeding time easier.
All animal exhibitors are required to feed their animals at a specific time to ensure that the animals are fed on a consistent schedule. This helps to avoid traffic and crowding in the barn.
Exhibitors are required to wash their hands prior to entering and when exiting the barn, and are required to wear gloves when handling equipment, food, or livestock.
FFA president junior Madison Hartwig commented, “We implement the safety and ethical practices like the ones above to ensure all of our animals receive the best possible care here at the Ranch.”
With the extra precautions and new farm animals, the LRHS agriculture class and FFA are busier than ever.