Having a public farm requires excellent animal care in addition to the needs of our guests. Here is some information about our animal health care.
Farm animals are not like dogs or cats, requiring vaccinations, distemper, etc. on an annual basis for exposure to the public. There is routine health care carried on at the Critter Barn per species, as is required by that species' needs. We have active relationships with local veterinarians as well as a leading clinic in Minnesota. Our farm animals are given CDT vaccines, Bo-se for immune health, Inforce for respiratory health in newborn calves, and poultry are treated as hatchlings. Otherwise we just treat our farm animals when and if they get sick. Best management comes more from prevention, and with good nutrition, supplements like free choice salt, bicarbonate of soda, minerals, and antibiotics only when needed, plenty of fresh clean water, dry bedding, appropriate housing, ventilation, protection from extreme weather; we strive to maintain a healthy farm environment.
Our small animals are cared for by South Kent Veterinary Small Animal Clinic and Dr. Laura Wright and Professor Sean Sealhoff from Baker College's Vet Tech program. Our large animals are under the supervision of Dr. Amber Musick and partners at South Kent Large Animal Veterinary Clinic. Our equine animals are under the supervision of Dr. Ira from West Michigan Veterinary Service. Our hogs are under the care of swine expert, Dr. Jim Kober. We enjoy a relationship with Pipestone Veterinary Clinic in Minnesota, including Dr. Larry Goelz, Dr. Kennedy, Dr. Bobb and their staff.
As our farm became public, we first consulted with Michigan State's Vet College back in the 90's who advised us to become licensed with the United States Department of Agriculture. We have written vet plans for all our animals, and receive surprise inspections by the USDA , a step we took voluntarily in 1998. Carrie Bongard is our inspector, who follows our traveling itinerary as well. She has access to our farm 6 days a week. By maintaining this relationship with the USDA, we have clear standards to follow and another set of trained eyes watching out for animal welfare, facility repair, visitor hygiene and animal health, well-being and overall care.
We also have achieved MAEAP Verification, a standard for farms: Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program.