7 tips for healthy fair animals

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Last week, we talked about ways to keep animals healthy leading up to a show. Here are some ways to prevent health issues during and after shows.

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1Sanitize
Keep animals’ pens at a fair or show as clean and dry as possible. Be sure to dispose of waste, used bedding and uneaten food regularly.

2Limit contact
Do not come into contact with or enter the pens or stalls of animals from other farms. If contact cannot be avoided, wash hands and disinfect clothing and shoes before returning to your own animals.

Do not allow your animals to come into contact with animals from other farms and avoid sharing equipment with other exhibitors. Limiting contact between animals, exhibitors and equipment from different farms reduce the risk of contamination.

3Feed and water
Provide clean water and feed to animals through the show or fair. Do not make changes to the feed or water type or sources during an exhibition. Also, keep unused feed, foraging and equipment covered to avoid contamination.

4Avoid interspecies-contact
House and transport animals according to their species. Goats or sheep and cattle, in particular, should not be transported or housed together because of disease risks.

If possible, also limit traffic between exhibitors of different species or wash hands and change clothing before handling a different species.

5Disinfect
Do not use the same equipment for animals at an exhibition and animals at the farm. Disinfect all equipment before bringing it back to the farm. This helps to protect animals that remain at the farm from contamination from the show.

6Dispose
Dispose of any leftover bedding, feed and forages after the exhibition either at the show or at an appropriate site off the farm.

7Isolate
After returning home from a show or fair, animals should be isolated from the rest of the herd for two-four weeks to avoid contamination. Monitor these animals for any signs of disease.

Even animals that do not appear to be ill right away can spread disease. Feed or care for animals who did not attend a show or fair before caring for animals who returned from a show or fair.

Sources: Preventing the spread of animal diseases — Applications for youth livestock shows by Rosie Nold, extension youth animal science specialist; David R. Smith, extension beef/dairy veterinarian, Michael C. Brumm, extension swine specialist, University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension; Livestock trailer safety, extension.org; Biosecurity checklist for livestock exhibitors, Washington State Department of Agriculture; Keeping your livestock show animals healthy, The Poultry Site; Keeping animals healthy, Penn State Extension.

(Farm and Dairy is featuring a series of “101” columns throughout the year to help young and beginning farmers master farm living. From finances to management to machinery repair and animal care, farmers do it all.)

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