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October 26, 2015

Inside My Livestock First Aid Kit

No matter what kind of livestock you have - even if your livestock is just a flock of chickens or a beloved cat or dog - it's good to be prepared for emergencies and have a well-stocked livestock first aid kit on hand. The question isn't "will my animal hurt itself?" but "when will my animal hurt itself?" Even if you must rush your animal to the vet, knowing how to render first aid on the way just makes sense.

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Here is a look inside my first aid kit, a Rubbermaid box that I keep near the back door. I wanted a container with a handle for easy portability in a hurry; this has worked well. I do wish the lid were a bit more secure; I have to be sure to close it well so the top doesn't come off when I pick it up. That's my only complaint though. It's marketed as a file box, in case you want to look for one.

Let's start at the bottom and work up. You can see that I used a long strip of cardboard, folded up to fit into the container. I didn't measure the height of the cardboard and cut it; it was a long piece that I had on hand and it just fit perfectly. If you want to cut cardboard to fit your kit, measure the height of your bottles and plan accordingly.

One side holds bottles of oral preparations, including a bottle of NutriDrench for goats, Pepto-Bismal for goat tummy troubles, two bottles of Bloat Release, one of which is half-full, and a packet of Scour-Ease to be mixed with water. This side is goat-specific at the moment, but the supplies do change as needed.

The other side is for topical things. There are several rolls of Vet Wrap, a spray bottle of iodine, wound spray, and a plastic bag containing other items including betadine wipes, bandages and even Band-Aids for people. (Our home first aid kit seems to walk around on its own; this way I always know where I can find a Band-Aid.)

I didn't plan it this way, but since the cardboard I used was already this tall, it left a space on top that's about three inches deep. I found a shallow box that fit on top of the cardboard and still allowed the lid to close, and I use that as a tray for small items. The cardboard divider keeps the tray up where it belongs, keeps it level, and keeps the bottles below from being smashed.

The tray holds a stethoscope (for listening to rumen sounds), a digital thermometer, hand sanitizer (I'm not a fan of using hand sanitizer everyday, but I use it before treating a wound if I'm not near soap and water), a measuring tape to estimate a goat's weight, an assortment of syringes and extra needles, and the little tube of antibiotic eye ointment that I sometimes need for kittens with eye infections.

On top of the tray I put a few zippered bags with smaller things: a roll of gauze, bandage tape and scissors, needles. The drench syringe also goes on top of the tray, to use when administering liquids to goats, such as vitamins, NutriDrench, and medications.

Along the sides of the container, between the cardboard divider and the plastic side, I store several pages of information. There's a weight chart to convert inches to pounds, a diagram of where to give shots, vital statistics for goats and for horses, and dosage amounts for wormers and medications.

On the other side, also between the cardboard and the plastic, are large 4x4" individually-wrapped gauze pads.

I keep most medications in a metal bread box on a shelf in the house, out of reach of little people. The metal box keeps the bottles and gels away from light. Medications that must be kept cold are in a plastic basket in the refrigerator. This first aid kit is "grab and go", for diagnosis and immediate wound care.

I like the portability of this kit. I like being able to divide things up inside so I know where everything is. The size is deep enough to hold those bottles and keep them upright, and just the right size to store the 8.5x11" papers along the side. I love the tray on top. It's light enough that our granddaughter was able to run in the house and carry it out to me when we had a dog emergency. In other words, it works great.

How do you store your first aid items?

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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  1. Great idea! My son is an avid 4H guy, and he would love something like this!

  2. Good morning, Michele! This would be a practical and useful 4H project for sure. It never hurts to be prepared.

  3. This is a wonderful resource! I have things scattered around and stored up in the barn (which will need to come inside soon with the weather turning now). Definitely going to pin this.

  4. I know what you mean, Jamie. I still wish I could keep it ALL in one place but some meds need to be refrigerated while others need to be kept in a cool, dark place. I finally decided to at least have all the *equipment* and triage-type things in a portable container. I hope it's helpful to you. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Wonderful idea! I only have chickens right now but I think I have just as much items as you do, LOL. I will be putting this on my to do list it will be so much easier for my kids to bring out to me instead of the guessing game of which meds or item did mom want.

  6. Jeanette, that was my thinking too - the container is easy to spot right inside the door, contains all my emergency gear, and is easy for someone else to grab. I'm glad it could be helpful for you too.

  7. Anonymous11:04 AM

    I like this idea as well. I have used giant ziplock bags that are species specific and then just grabbed that bag and my EMS gear. This might be a really good refinement at our house.

    Kris Bell

    1. Kris, I really like the idea of keeping things sorted by species.

  8. Thanks for teaching the first aid box of live stock, and sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop,

  9. HI Kathi!
    This is a fantastic idea! I have them everywhere, for people - keeping one or two for the critters is a must, on the farm. (Getting closer to that - looking at types housing options, now)
    I don't know if you can tell where/when things get pinned - this one has just been pinned to my farm/homestead/prep board...

    I hope all is great, there!
    God bless!

    1. Carla, it's so good to see you. Looking at housing options sounds promising!

      Thank you for pinning the post. I'm glad it was helpful.

  10. Very neat and organized. My kit now consumes a tool bag and two boxes. LOL

    Stopping by from the Homestead Blog Hop.

  11. Bonnie, thank you for stopping by. It sounds like you have a LOT of first aid items!

  12. this is a wonderful reminder to recheck your supplies, or to start a portable kit if you don't have one! Great article! Thanks for posting over at Country Fair Blog Party! I love reading what you are up to and look forward to you linking up for our December Party!
    Jan @ Tipgarden

  13. Thank you, Jan. I'm glad it's helpful!

  14. This is a great list of necessary items to share with anyone starting out with livestock. It is surprising how much equipment it takes to care for them. Thanks for linking up to the Country Fair Blog Party this month.

    1. Animals are kind of like babies, who knew they'd need so much stuff!


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