November 14, 2016

(Dr. Dan Thomson) Hey folks welcome to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thompson. Thanks for joining us today. We’re at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas, where I’m going to take you through our Birthing Center here at the State Fair that’s sponsored by Kansas State University, the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association and the Kansas State Fair. Come on in the Birthing Center and let’s check it out.

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(Dan) Hey folks, I’m Dr. Dan. Thanks for joining me today on DocTalk. We’re here at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson, Kansas where I work as a faculty member for Kansas State University. We have many faculty volunteers, people that you’ve seen on the show. We have the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association and the veterinarians that serve Kansas also helping us here at the Kansas State Fair. The birthing center has a mission of really helping people experience the miracle of birth. Whether it’s the chicks that we have hatching in the incubator, the baby ducks hatching in the incubator, we have cows; we have cows that are having calves as a matter of fact this year. In four to six hours, we had four cows deliver six calves. Two sets of twins this year. We have goats; we have ewe lambs that are going to lamb. We have two sows that have had piglets, and many educational opportunities for people to understand better what goes into getting animals bred, the length of the gestation periods, how those animals give birth. Then, once they go through the Birthing Center, they can ask many questions. You would be surprised at some of the questions that we do get asked. We did have one person ask, “Do dairy cows, are they white with black spots or black with white spots?” Different things that people — when you’re interacting with the community or interacting with consumers, it’s so important that we stay engaged. We’ll have around a million people go through this Birthing Center during the 10-day period here at the Kansas State Fair located in Hutchinson, Kansas. Get involved with your local state fairs or your state fair, your local county fairs, many different things and ideas that you can do. We’re going to show you a few of them here on the show today. I’m over here at our poultry display and you can see that we have many different educational opportunities. In here, we actually have an incubator with eggs that will hatch. The chicken eggs, as you can see, 21 to 23 days, we’ll have some ducks that will go four weeks before they’ll hatch. Once they hatch, we’ll dry those chicks off and you can see some of the chicks that have hatched, obviously prior to the Fair, that we have here on display. But it’s really important for people to understand how we raise chickens, how the different things, whether it’s, how long it takes for them to hatch, what we do from the time they hatch until they are fryer size and just go through the entire life cycle of the chicken. But, the incubators have been extremely popular. When you watch the baby chickens hatch, or the baby ducks hatch, and be able to see that miracle of birth, it is really, really important and really, really, cool. Some of the things that we have to make sure that we talk about when we look at poultry is some of the different zoonotic diseases. Whenever you’re at a Birthing Center, we’re thinking about if people are touching animals, we don’t want anybody touching the chickens, touching the piglets, touching the calves because we start to think about E. coli, salmonella, and campylobacter. We make sure that people don’t go round, they don’t have access to the animals, and they aren’t touching them. Then, we have hand sanitary stations all over the place so that people can clean their hands. If you’re going to do some of these things at your county fair or some of these at your state fair, make sure that you have people Don’t touch the animals, and if they do, make sure they have hand cleaning stations where they can make sure. When we come back, we’re going to go over, we’re going to talk a little bit about what we do with the cows, what we do with the pigs, and then some of the other displays we have here in the Birthing Center at the Kansas State Fair. Stay tuned.

(Dan) Hey folks. Welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thompson here. Thanks for joining us today. We’re at the Kansas State Fair here in Hutchinson, Kansas at the Birthing Center that the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State, the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association and the State Fair partnered to bring to the community. Again, our mission is to help people engage with agriculture. It’s an annual event where we all get together in the state. We celebrate Kansas agriculture and we share things with our neighbors, whether it’s tips on our farms or whether it’s tips to consumers. It’s all about engaging about AG and explaining. We’re over here at the cow birthing portion of the Birthing Center. We’ll bring cows in whether it’s this Holstein cow like from Orville Miller’s farm south of Hutch, or we’ll have a Jersey heifer come in from Perry Big Cheese Farm. We’re to have these animals actually ultrasounded well before the Fair so that we get animals that are going to calve during the Fair and we’ll do a live demonstration. Matter of fact, I pulled the calf out of this cow this morning, about 11:30. The baby is doing just great sitting over here. Some of the things, the common questions that we get about dairy cows in the birthing center, one is, what are the stages of parturition? Remember, there are three stages to parturition. Stage one, is that water bag breaking. Stage two, is going to be after that water bag breaks, is when we actually have expulsion of the calf. Once the water bag breaks, we’ll give a cow 30 minutes to have that calf, and we’ll give a heifer an hour. If nothing’s happening in that time period, we’ll go ahead and intervene, and help. Then stage three is the expulsion of the placenta. Stage one, stage two, and stage three of parturition, common questions I get. The other one that I get is about the calves. Let’s go on over. Let’s take a look at the calves, and I’ll explain some of the questions that I get about those. When we move over from the cow, over to the calf, and this baby calf was born about three or four hours ago that we pulled this morning. One of the questions I get commonly from fair goers is, why is the calf separated from the mom? The first thing is to explain, and it’s that, “Oh, yes” moment, is when they understand that the reason why we milk the cows for milk for our own kids, not for the cows kids. We explain that to people that milk comes from the cow, and we don’t allow the calves to nurse. They’ll say, “Don’t you let that calf nurse just for a little while.” Well, if you look at the research in published papers, you’ll find that calves that are separate, the sooner calves are separated from the mom, the higher likelihood of survival, because they don’t pickup environmental contaminants off the tits, or off the straw such as E. coli, salmonella crypto, things to that nature. We are preventing calf scours or increasing calf survivability, by moving that calf away from the mom as soon as possible. The other thing that we’ll talk about is colostrum. How does that calf get milk? We talk about we’ll strip the cow out, and milk her, get that colostrum; we’ll actually either let the calf suck the colostrum from a bottle. If they won’t suck, we’ll go ahead and stomach tube them, and give them that colostrum. We want to make sure that she gets colostrum within the calf, within six hours of birth. The sooner the calf gets that colostrum, the higher likelihood of survivability. Decreased likelihood of scours. We try to get a gallon in some of these bigger calves. Some of the jersey calves; they’re going to get two quarts right off the bat. But different things like that, you don’t want to give the baby calves too much colostrum. Then, we’ll mix up the milk replacer, we’ll describe too that not everybody breast-feeds their baby. We’re just going to give these calves formula, or milk replacer, and grow them up. The heifers will wind up going into the milking string. The bull calves wind up as hamburgers. Thanks for watching DocTalk, more after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Folks, we’re here at the Kansas State Fair at the Birthing Center. We have the real cows over there that we just got, and were talking about. One of the things that’s a huge hit here at the fair, is our birthing simulator cow, number 1407 that we bought about three or four years ago at the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine. We use it everyday to help teach students different positions to pull calves. We bring it down here at the state fair, and we let some novice have a chance of pulling their own calf. Lots of good things will go on with this. It’s pretty demanding. We got to have good volunteers, faculty volunteers, and students. But when it comes to having an experience, to be able to see how a calf is delivered, some of the things that we do as veterinarians, or that you do as a producers, always something that’s a big hit here at the state fair. A real call that’s usually it’s in the dark, hard to see, and the straps are already put on the feet. But I do think that it’s something that we should start breeding into our cattle. Let’s go ahead and just have them born with straps that we can detach, okay? It’d be a lot easier on all of us. All right Pierce, we’re going to reach in there. We’re going to see what we can find. Go ahead. What do you feel? (Pierce) I feel two legs, and a head. (Dr. Dan) Two legs and a head? Then, we have proper position. It’s coming the right way, right? (Pierce) Yes. (Dr. Dan) Now, we can go ahead and know that we’re going to pull that calf correctly. Grab the straps; you’re going to pull. Nice and gentle. Nice and steady pressure. I’ll help here. You pull, there’s the head okay. The head is there. Now, we don’t want to have hip lock, so we keep pulling. Keep pulling. There you go, and that baby is born right there. (Dr. Dan) Phoenix, let’s reach in here. Remember the drill. What are we feeling for? (Phoenix) Head, and two legs. (Dr. Dan) Head, and two legs. Do we have head and two legs? (Phoenix) Yes. (Dr. Dan) Great. Then we’re going to be– you’re going to hook the legs. Let me put straps on, okay? Go ahead and start pulling that calf. That’s me, that’s not the calf. [Laughter] (Dr. Dan) All right. We’re going to pull. Nice and steady til you got two feet, I’ll help you here. You pull the head out. It’s heavy, isn’t it? The calf is coming, and we don’t want to have hip lock. We keep moving, and that calf is born. (Phoenix) There he is. (Dr. Dan) You want to be a vet? (Phoenix) She is. (Dr. Dan) You are? (Female speaker) Yes. (Dr. Dan) Yes, I teach at the vet school. We’re going to show you some of the exchanges that I’ve had here at the Kansas State Fair with some of the fair goers. Folks, no birthing center could be complete without fourth year veterinary students. We have to of K-State’s finest here. Nancy Turner, Sam Belson, we’re here at this Kansas State Fair, thanks for joining us. More after these messages.

(Dr. Dan) Well, a lot of people that are involved with agriculture generally get to see cows have calves, or get to see lambs out in the field and out in the pastures. Even people that are consumers, get to see that quite often. One of the things that very few people get to see anymore is actually having sows that are having piglets, because of our bio-security measures and different things of that nature. A bit hit here at the fair, and thanks to the Kansas Pork Association, we have some new crates, farrowing crates here. As you can see, we’ve had some piglets born. We had one litter here of eight piglets. We had another of 14 piglets born. Common questions that we get, is how is the sow– why do you have the sow in the farrowing crate? The big thing is, is to protect the piglets from the sow. Obviously, they do get laid on, and we can have some pig mortality that way. It’s really there, so that the sow will be stationary. She doesn’t have an opportunity to interact, or hurt the piglets in any manner. Likewise, then the piglets have the opportunity to nurse. We have heat pads here. If you do this at your state fair, one of the things we found is putting the heat pads on the front with Plexiglas. When the piglets do come to lay down, they’re not in the back of the crate. They’re out here where people can interact. Again, these types of things and situations you want to make sure people don’t touch the piglets, so that they can protect themselves from different things such as E. coli, salmonella, and things that could be picked up. Anyway, farrowing crates, piglets, we have sows having pigs, all part of the Kansas State Fair Birthing Center. We’re going to switch over and take a look at some of the goats and lambs after this. After the piglets, we’d come over here. We got the goats. They’re not going to have any kids, but they sure are fun to watch. We got ewes that lamb during the fair. None of them have gone yet, but it’s early and I’m sure that we will. We always make sure that we don’t beef cattle in here. One thing I do say is that, with beef cattle, they are allowed to nurse their babies. That’s a common question that’s asked. It really is an important event to be able to talk about poultry, to be able to talk about dairy, to be able to talk about beef, to be able to engage about sheep, and lambs, and small ruminants, and also about our swine industry. Everything here at the fair is legit. We couldn’t do it without the farmers, and ranchers, and the local veterinarians that are helping us line up the livestock. Hutchinson Community College helps us with hauling animals back and forth, and some of the logistics. So many volunteers, the faculty members that you’ve seen on the show, and our veterinary students. It surely is a family environment, and we love doing it. Appreciate you watching DocTalk today. Be sure to work with your local veterinarian. If you want to know more about what we do here on the show, you can find us at I’m Dr. Dan Thomson. Thanks for watching DocTalk, and I’ll see you down the road.

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