Old Boys have their Playthings as well as young Ones; the Difference is only in the Price.
Old Boys have their Playthings as well as young Ones; the Difference is only in the Price.
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 serious birdwatcher’s bookshelf because of the valuable information it contains.
The information provided on each bird varies somewhat, but the entries for most of the species contain the following:
Birds in Kansas is not a field guide, but rather a valuable reference work about the past and present habits of birds within our state. If you have questions about when and where you can expect to see a particular species, this book can be a big help. Great addition to the Kansas birdwatcher’s library.
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 proper functioning of nearly all immune cells, and it works as an antioxidant, removing substances that have the potential to harm cells. For this reason, vitamin A is important for preventing infections and parasite infestations.
Vitamin A also plays a vital role in reproduction. It is necessary for fertility and conception, as well as proper development of embryos. In mammals, vitamin A ensures healthy mammary glands. In poultry, the vitamin is necessary for a smooth hatch and for chick vigor. In all types of livestock, vitamin A is needed for proper growth.
Beta carotene is a plant pigment which is converted to vitamin A in the gut of many animals. Some animals, such as cattle, do not absorb vitamin A directly from their food, but rely on its precursor, beta carotene. Swine, poultry, and dogs, however, can also use the preformed vitamin A found in animal-derived foods. Cats cannot use beta carotene at all, but must rely solely on animal sources.
By far the best source of beta carotene for grazing animals is green, leafy forage. Hay (particularly legume hay) qualifies provided that it is properly grown and harvested. Beta carotene can be destroyed, however, by poor storage.
Yellow corn has more beta carotene than any other cereal grain. Other sources of vitamin A include organ meat (particularly liver), cod liver oil, egg yolks, and whole milk.
Because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin, stored in the animal’s fat and in its liver, it takes approximately two to four months to build up a deficiency. Any type of prolonged stress can cause vitamin A deficiency, including disease, parasites, and abrupt changes of diet. Deficiencies in zinc and vitamin E can also lead to a deficiency in vitamin A.
Many animals suffer from vitamin A deficiency after receiving poor-quality diets. This may include extremely processed feeds and feeds that have been stored for long periods of time. Since green forage is the best source of vitamin A for grazing animals, a diet high in grain and low in roughage can lead to deficiency. So can a prolonged spell of drought, which reduces the beta carotene and increases the toxins present in grass.
Chemicals can also interfere with vitamin A synthesis. Common culprits include steroids and other hormone treatments, as well as nitrate contamination of pasture or drinking water.
Symptoms may vary widely.
There are no reported cases of beta carotene toxicity in livestock. Pets may temporarily develop darker coloring in their skin and fur.
When animals are given excessive vitamin A supplementation, however, the following symptoms may be observed:
Vitamin A can be rather dangerous when supplemented on its own. However, its precursor, beta carotene, has been used with success to treat eye problems. Studies also indicate it may have potential in preventing mammary infections in dairy cattle.
Content regarding medical conditions and treatment is provided for general information purposes only, and is not to be construed as legal, medical, or professional advice. Please consult your veterinarian for advice regarding your specific animal’s needs.
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.Continue reading What Type of Climate Does Kansas Have?
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 feeling for. Most of your examination will center around the sheep’s spine. Each vertebra has a number of projections, or processes, three of which you will use to score the animal. The spinous process is vertical, forming the ridge down the center of the back. The two transverse processes are horizontal, pointing out to the sheep’s sides. A body condition score for sheep is based on how prominent the ends of these processes are, although you will also be checking for muscle and fat in the loin eye, the area between the spinous and transverse processes.
The scoring system itself is simple. Sheep are scored on a five-point scale, with 1 being emaciated and 5 being obese:
The ideal body condition score will depend on where the sheep is in the breeding cycle. A BCS between 3 and 4 is necessary at the beginning of the breeding season to ensure maximum fertility. In the early stages of gestation, the ewe should score no lower than 2.5 at any time. Her condition should also increase before lambing. A score between 3 and 4 is necessary to ensure that she will be able to feed her lambs properly. The more lambs that she has, the higher her score should be. No sheep should ever be allowed to fall below BCS 2.
Body Condition Scoring of Sheep
Handy PDF with illustrations and more information on scoring sheep.
…In truth the finest heroes are home-spun, and are more often hidden in obscurity than platformed by public observation.
The Wonderful Art of Drawing Horses by Barry Stebbing starts with the basics:
Then on to a number of discussions on drawing different breeds, markings, gaits, and poses. Interesting activities liven up the lessons.
The intermediate section of the book helps artists to develop their skills in a number of ways:
Then follows an excellent exploration of a number of master artists who drew horses:
Stebbing wraps up with a few fun activities.
This book provides young artists with an excellent way to practice basic art techniques on a favorite subject, but it also presents more advanced skills in a friendly manner. Furthermore, The Wonderful Art of Drawing Horses goes beyond art and provides information on horse breeds, care, and anatomy.
So if you need a book for a young horse enthusiast who also happens to be a fledgling artist…this is the one!
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 in a straight line. Many times adult swans will have a small yellow spot in front of their eyes, although this is not invariably the case.
Kansans may sometimes see a swan with dirty-looking feathers, particularly on its head and neck. This is likely an immature swan. By the time it returns the following winter, it will be snowy white like its parents.
The tundra swan is known for its soft, mellow call, which has been compared to cooing, laughing, and yodeling. This sound is often described as whoo-ho or wow-HOW-ow.
The tundra swan is a rare migrant in Kansas, and it also occurs on a casual basis throughout the winter. It may be spotted anytime between early November and late April. Tundra swans are typically seen in the eastern part of the state, especially at the larger reservoirs, as well as at Cheyenne Bottoms.
Watching a group of tundra swans take off can be a rather interesting sight, as they run across the water flapping their wings. Once airborne, they fly in either straight lines or V formations.
The tundra swan dabbles for its food, using its long neck to hunt for submerged pond weeds and roots. It will also eat some seeds and occasionally shoots of grain plants.
Few birdwatchers are likely to be able to attract tundra swans to their property.
The trumpeter swan is the larger of the two swans of Kansas, but size is rarely a reliable field mark. Instead, look for the facial features that make these two birds distinct. The trumpeter swan’s bill slopes evenly into its head, creating a smooth, triangular look. Its lores form a V across its forehead, instead of a straight line. Also be sure to check for a yellow spot in front of the eye. Not all tundra swans have this field mark, but no trumpeter swan ever has it. Finally, hearing the swan call will make identification easy. The trumpeter swan’s voice is powerful and resonant, while the tundra swan sounds soft and mellow.
Photos, audio, and more information from Cornell’s All About Birds site.
After the Civil War, two notable events took place, changing the nature of Kansas forever:
These were grueling projects, with workers racing to lay tracks and towns vying for places along the line. The costs were enormous, too. Those in charge of both lines looked to the federal government for assistance in funding the work. In both cases, the government responded with land grants.
Section 3 of the 1862 Pacific Railroad Act reads:
And be it further enacted, That there be, and is hereby, granted to the said company [the Union Pacific], for the purpose of aiding in the construction of said railroad and telegraph line, and to secure the safe and speedy transportation of the mails, troops, munitions of war, and public stores thereon, every alternate section of public land, designated by odd numbers, to the amount of five alternate sections per mile on each side of said railroad, on the line thereof, and within the limits of ten miles on each side of said road, not sold, reserved, or otherwise disposed of by the United States, and to which a preemption or homestead claim may not have attached, at the time the line of said road is definitely fixed….
In 1864 the grant was increased to ten alternate sections on each side of the railroad. This privilege was allowed to the Santa Fe Railroad, as well.
Both companies sold their lands to help fund their enterprises, but at first few settlers were terribly interested. After all, the Homestead Act made land in Kansas easy to obtain. Homesteaders just had to live on their claims for five years to receive 160 acres—for free! In 1873, the Timber Culture Act was passed, which gave settlers an additional 160 acres simply for planting trees on 40 acres of the claim. Why pay the railroads four dollars per acre or more?
But necessity is the mother of invention.
In 1873, financial panic hit hard. American banks had invested heavily in railroads all across the country. Unable to sell their bonds, they soon found themselves bankrupt. This began a chain reaction which spread throughout the whole economy and created a severe recession. Many of the railroad companies themselves went bankrupt, and the survivors realized that they were hanging by a thread.
Fortunately for the Kansas Pacific and the Santa Fe, the panic had spread to Europe. Many other countries had overextended themselves in various industries, only to watch their bubbles burst one after another. Quite a few foreigners (and even some Americans) were eager to get a fresh start in a new home.
Both railroads, but the Santa Fe in particular, began to energetically promote the farm country of Kansas. This strategy promised two major benefits:
Besides writing glowing reports of the incredibly rich farmlands available in Kansas, the railroad companies attracted settlers by taking great pains to make the move as easy as possible. This was particularly a boon to foreigners who were unfamiliar with the ins and outs of American law. Although foreigners could file for free land under the Homestead Act, provided that they announced their intention to become United States citizens, it was much easier to work with knowledgeable railroad agents.
These men and the companies behind them frequently offered a couple of valuable services:
The railroads typically targeted farming cultures when making their sales pitches. (They needed the long-term financial security shipping crops would bring, remember?) This brought a number of European groups to Kansas:
Some Americans also came to the railroad lands. Yankees came to invest in town lots. Pennsylvania Germans were actively pursued by railroad agents to pave the way for settlers from overseas. Most Americans, however, still preferred to take advantage of the free lands available under the Homestead Act.
The new settlers not only added their own distinctive touch to their new homes, but they significantly influenced the state’s agriculture. For example, the Mennonites who arrived among the German and Russian groups introduced Turkey Red winter wheat, a crop that proved to be hardier than the corn that so many Kansans were trying to grow at the time. Also, the Englishmen brought cattle breeds such as the Angus and the Hereford, revolutionizing the American beef industry.
So while changing the nature of Kansas was not really the goal of the railroad companies, they succeeded nevertheless. What started as a strategy for survival still affects the way Kansans live today.
The Story of the First Trans-Continental Railroad
This free eBook offers more insight into the Pacific Railroad Act and the history of the Kansas Pacific Railroad.
The body condition scoring (BCS) system for swine is very simple and is based on a five-point scale:
With both boars and sows, the idea is to keep the score around 3 at all times.
In reality, however, sows will probably fluctuate slightly throughout their reproductive cycle. A BCS of 3.25 appears to ideal at breeding time. By farrowing time, the sow should score somewhere around 3.75. She should never drop below 2.5 at the end of a lactation.
Body Condition Scoring Graphic
This chart uses line drawings to make scoring swine easy to do at a glance.