Innovative Livestock Services, Inc.
Down Arrow
Thursday, July 6 2017 7:00 AM
By Anne Burkholder

Different Types Of Animals

Summer Fun…

As the summer heat sets in this month, visions of shaved ice and “Snow plows” from the Sugar Shack fill our days, and excitement builds for fireworks and the 4H County Fair. While the heat leads to fun filled summer adventures at the pool and cool treats to enjoy, it also means extra care as we work with our animals in preparation to show them at the fair.

Kit getting ready to enjoy a summer treat!

Did you know in Kansas, cattle outnumber people 2 to 1 and 1% of the population is farmers? In comparison, 36.5% of households own dogs, 30.4% own cats, 3.1% have birds and 1.5% own horses. As farmers, our family fits into lots of those categories!

Animals vs Pets…

Our family loves animals. Whether it is the two litters of new kittens in the horse barn, our two bucket calves Norman and Bandit, our crazy dogs Zeke and Otis or our beloved horses Pepper and the infamous Bob – in our kids’ eyes, all of our animals are pets. We then have the discussion that different animals have different purposes.

Our kittens and Will’s dog Otis are pets. We love and care for them, and they love us back plus a few mischievous antics by Otis!!  As farmers, we also have work animals. Zeke is a Border Collie which is a breed known for their herding ability, unlimited energy and work ethic….so Zeke has a job at the ranch to help move cows and calves just as the horses do. Our horses work hard and need to have manners, stamina, and a little cow sense! A good cow horse is also a great teacher for a young cowboy or cowgirl!

Our bucket calves, Norman and Bandit, each were a twin. Their mama’s did not have enough milk to provide for two calves so it is our job to help them! It is the kids’ responsibility to care for the calves before and after school, and during the summer months. Through these daily chores, they learn that the purpose of the calves is to grow big and healthy at the ranch until it is time to “get on the bus” and go to a feedyard. This experience teaches them to show respect and compassion for these food animals that will later provide beef, leather, soap/cosmetics, and human pharmaceuticals for all of us.

Kit with Bandit her bottle calf


Raising the kids on the ranch teaches them responsibility and compassion for ALL of our animals. This is complemented by our participation in the local 4H program. 4-H uses “hands on” projects in health, science, citizenship, and agriculture to teach kids life skills, confidence and compassion.

Each year in preparation for the fair, the kids select a couple of projects to work on. This helps them to develop the ability to work independently, and understand that the outcome is the result of the effort put into the project. Although the purple ribbons and the buckles brings smiles to their faces, the journey of continued learning and a positive attitude is the primary goal.

Will and Jodi with their 4H horses

Success: Will it be easy? Nope. Worth it? Absolutely.

Will and Otis

Animals and Pet Food…

On a farm, nothing says summer like the smell of freshly cut alfalfa. The summer hay harvest provides winter feed for our cattle and horses when Mother Nature shuts down the growing season. But, alfalfa does not just provide for food animals and work animals; it is often fed to zoo animals and included in many pet foods! Alfalfa Pellets, which is a part of the ILS family, produces alfalfa pellets and meal.

The process starts with using large round or square bales of alfalfa and grinding the hay into smaller pieces.  After the alfalfa is ground, it is mixed with steam and forced through a die (think play dough spaghetti maker) and cut into small pellets. The pellets are then cooled and either moved to a holding bin or ground down to alfalfa meal which is like a coarsely ground flour. Either the pellets or the meal can then blended with other feed sources to make food for rabbits, goats, sheep and horses.

The next time you smell those sweet alfalfa fields you’ll be reminded that it is a key ingredient for your beloved pets!


As we enjoy the county fairs and corn dogs in July, look on Facebook and Twitter for our Alfalfa Pellets crew highlights. Help us to show appreciation to those people who spend each day producing food for our animals and pets.



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Innovative Livestock Services, Inc.

Innovative Livestock Services

2006 Broadway Avenue
Great Bend, KS 67530

(620) 793-9200

4805 Vue du Lac
Manhattan, KS 66503

(785) 587-9700

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