Tag Archives: Antibiotics

Why I Use Antibiotics

Antibiotics are amazing. They can do so much, so quickly! I want to tell you a story about one calf and one shot of antibiotics.


We found this little calf in the morning. Her mom gave birth to her in water during the night and left her. She was very ill. Very cold, very close to death. In fact, when we first saw her, we thought she was already dead. We loaded her in the back of the polaris and took her to the hospital pen. We dried her off, treated her with antibiotics, electrolytes, fluids, iodine on her naval, and some vitamins. We followed the label on the antibiotics and the advice of our veterinarian to the letter.  A few hours later,  she was able to stand up by herself. She was ready to go back to her mom in about a day.

Before and after, in just a matter of hours.

Before and after, in just a matter of hours.

My point here is, despite what Subway would have you think, antibiotics are not always bad when used in animal agriculture. They actually save a lot of lives and a lot of suffering. By the time this calf hits the market, no residue will be left. So please think about that next time food marketers talk about antibiotic free.

Antibiotics are a hot button issue within agriculture right now. Farmers and ranchers are working very hard to fight antibiotic resistance, because we realize how this can and will impact us. Personally, our ranch uses superior genetics, nutrition and vaccines to prevent illness. But as I showed here, sometimes we still have problems and we need to be able to do the humane thing and treat our animals. It’s the right this to do.

I urge you to talk to other farmers,  ranchers and veterinarians to learn how and why they use antibiotics on their ranches. Coming from agriculture and seeing how we have changed our protocols, I feel like our general public might not know what we have changed and why, in regards to this topic. Fear and half-truths have been used often to promote “antibiotic free” meat marketing agenda.

I even got the opportunity to learn more about antibiotics at the Alltech convention I attended last May. Meat scientist Dr. Yancey wrote a nice recap about it, you can read here.

Is antibiotic resistance a problem? Absolutely. Do we know for certain what is causing it? Kinda. Is agriculture doing something about it? Yes.  It is a complex issue. But,  friends and readers, feel safe about the meat your are eating. Trust that your friendly neighborhood ranchers are aware of this problem and we are working hard to continue to keep our food supply safe and affordable. 

If you have more questions or would like a list of more experts, veterinarians, farmers or ranchers to talk to please leave me a comment below and I will do my best to accommodate you. Thank you.


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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, Know a California Farmer, Ranch life, Rants, Uncategorized

Video: Roping a Calf From the Polaris Ranger

Don't wear flip flops to doctor calves. This is why I have the most hideous feet you've ever seen. Boots, socks, pants - they are your friends!

Don’t wear flip flops to doctor calves. This is why I have the most hideous feet you’ve ever seen. Boots, socks, pants – they are your friends!

Our friend Pete Neer came over for dinner, but ended up being put to work! We’ve had a really aggressive strain of pink eye hit our cattle. We’ve been very pro-active, treating them for flies (that helps prevent the spread), giving them minerals (healthy cows are happy cows!), and staying on top of the sick ones.

Despite our best effort to prevent illness in our cattle, we’ve had to treat some.

We used antibiotics on this calf because if we wouldn’t have the calf would have been in a lot of pain, and lost his eye. He’ll be sold separate from the rest if our herd, but that will be next year. By that time, no residue will be left. I use AB’s as a last ditch effort, very carefully, and very respectfully.

When we use antibiotics it costs us a lot of money. Not something that a ranch wants to do. It’s costs us to treat the calf and after it is treated, it’s not worth as much money because we can’t sell it as ‘natural’. That is why we work so hard to keep our cattle healthy. Quite simply, our consumers demand it, and we want them happy.

That is me screaming because my Dad wasn’t paying attention when that cow was in front of us! I thought he was going to hit her!

The calf is now fine. He can see, he feels good, he is healthy. It’s really amazing how one little shot can save a life.


Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, Know a California Farmer, photos, Ranch life, Rants, Uncategorized, Video