Birds in Kansas

One favorite book on Kansas birds is the two-volume work titled Birds in Kansas by Max C. Thompson and Charles Ely.  Although these books are no longer entirely up to date (new species are sighted occasionally, and even the old species turn up in new places), Birds in Kansas still has a place on a…

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Vitamin A, also known as retinol, has an incredible array of functions within the bodies of animals.  One of its best-known purposes is to maintain eye health and night vision.  However, it is also necessary for healthy teeth, skin, coats, hooves, bones, nerves, kidneys, mucus glands, and adrenal glands. This vitamin is key to the…

What Type of Climate Does Kansas Have?

What type of climate does Kansas have? It just depends on who you ask. There are several different systems of climate classification, and each one will give you a slightly different answer.   The North Temperate Zone The northern hemisphere is often loosely broken into three regions: Polar. Temperate. Tropical. The north temperate zone lies…

Body Condition Scoring: Sheep

Body condition scoring a sheep can be a little more difficult than scoring other kinds of livestock because of the sheep’s thick covering of wool. While most animals can be scored with a simple visual inspection, evaluating a sheep’s condition is a more hands-on process. So first you will need to know what you are…

Quote of the Week: Heroes

…In truth the finest heroes are home-spun, and are more often hidden in obscurity than platformed by public observation. —C.H. Spurgeon

The Wonderful Art of Drawing Horses

Children love drawing horses! Here’s a book that can guide them through the process in a fun way. The Wonderful Art of Drawing Horses by Barry Stebbing starts with the basics: Shading. Mixing colors. Using shapes to make drawing easier. Then on to a number of discussions on drawing different breeds, markings, gaits, and poses. Interesting…

Tundra Swan

America’s most common native swan is the Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus).  This magnificent white bird is smaller than a Trumpeter Swan, its wingspan measuring only six to seven feet. The Tundra Swan has a few unique characteristics about its face.  Its black bill has a somewhat concave slope, while its lores cut across its forehead…

The Railroads and the Homesteaders

After the Civil War, two notable events took place, changing the nature of Kansas forever: In 1870, the Union Pacific, Eastern Division, (also called the Kansas Pacific Railway), reached across the state from Kansas City to Denver. In 1872, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe crossed the western state line. These were grueling projects, with…

Body Condition Scoring: Swine

The body condition scoring (BCS) system for swine is very simple and is based on a five-point scale: Emaciated. Ribs, spine, and backbone prominent. Thin. Hips and backbone noticeable to the eye. Ribs can easily be felt with only slight pressure. Normal. Animal’s body is tube-shaped. Hips and backbone can only be felt with firm…