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Monday, July 29, 2013

Why We Use Antibiotics on our Farm

There has been a lot of talk about antibiotics in the news again lately, especially with Panera's horrible EZ Chicken marketing campaign that implies those farmers that use antibiotics are taking the easy route.

A couple days ago we noticed one of our cows, Cici, had a swollen eye, that way very irritated. Her symptoms implied that she likely had pinkeye. Pinkeye in cattle can occur when the eye is irritated by long grass, dust or flies, and if not treated it can lead to blindness.

Just looking at Cici's eye you can't tell that it is hurting her? If you were in pain like this or a family member was would you opt for an antibiotic treatment? 

Cici's treatment was a two step process. First we gave her a injection of Penicillin. Since Cici is a cow raising a calf right now so she won't be entering the food chain. However, if she was, we would have to wait 10 days withdrawal period (these instructions are found on the bottle and this Beef Quality Assurance chart) for any antibiotic residues to leave her system so that the any meat entering the food system would be safe.

Next we prepared a patch for Cici to wear so that nothing (wind, flies, dirt, grass) would continue to irritate her eye. 

Old worn out jeans make the perfect cow eye patches.

Cici the "Pirate" cow is now on the road to recovery. 

I don't think any of what the Boy and I did to Cici was lazy or irresponsible. Instead we are making sure the animal health and welfare of our herd is closely watched. There is tons of misinformation and fear tactics that groups like Panera and Food Babe try to use to market a product. If you have questions about antibiotics ask a farmer or vet for some help sorting out the answers. We are the ones that are raising the food that is feeding our family and our communities. 

If you are looking for more information on common questions like antibiotics, GMOs, hormones, corporate farms, etc, check out this awesome website called Finding Common Ground. Tons of great resources! 


  1. Fantastic post! Thanks for putting out there in "black and white".

  2. Great post! We also give our cows, bulls and calves antibiotics if needed. Just like you would do for your children or a family member. We also keep track of these cows or calves by giving them an ear tag that we trim into a strip. Giving antibiotics is a matter of health. We want our cattle to be healthy and happy. Hope Cici heals up! :)

  3. Great post! Reasons like this are why farmers responsibly use antibiotics.

  4. Very informative post! Great work being great stewards to your cattle.

    And thanks for stopping by my blog - it's great to see other young, progressive cattle producers and meet them out in {internet land}!

    1. Darcy, thanks for stopping by. It is always fun to meet other young cattle producers! Looking forward to seeing some more of your photos.

  5. I love this blog! Thank you! We have a hog farm and we treat our animals with anutibitotics when they are sick- unlike organic farms that sell their animals when they are sick! Our animals are tested and have to be free of anutibitotics before they ever go to market! I would much rather have a healthy animal then a sick one!

  6. Perfect example! My friend, Heather, talked about treating pinkeye over at as well. Thanks for caring for your cattle ethically and responsibly and sharing that message. Hop over to my blog and say 'hi' every now and then as well! - Liz,

  7. Looks like responsible stewardship to me. I love to see proper care of animals. Animals get sick too, just like us and deserve good care. This is different than feeding antibiotics daily for no good reason. Keep up the good work!

    1. Kacey, thanks for stopping by the blog again. That is what farming is all about - good stewardship of our land and animals.


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