A Large Animal Vet’s List Of Thanks For Farm Equipment

The holiday season is a time of gratitude, and our resident large-animal veterinarian has gathered a list of equipment she's grateful for around the farm.

by Anna O'Brien
PHOTO: Rita Kochmarjova/Adobe Stock

Likely the holiday period for you features some attention toward thankfulness. Let me try to be cognizant and not hypocritical about this very concept as I rush to complete shopping lists and logistics for travel that include directions for the farm sitter. As I reflect on the year—and the weather and the animals that are a big part of it—it’s really the simple things that come to the forefront.And although I call this piece “A Large Animal Vet’s List of Thanks,” I’m betting hobby farmers out there will find many similarities to their lists as well. In fact, you’ve probably got some pieces of farm equipment on your lists that I could use myself, so I suppose this could also work double-duty as a sort of simple gift list.

After all, you can never have too many Hot Hands, can you?

Instant Thermometers

Quick, reliable, accurate and relatively cheap, these thermometers are a must-have piece of farm equipment for any vet. Don’t let the old-timers regale you with stories about those mercury thermometers. Digital works just fine. Just be sure you have a few on-hand. They are easy to misplace or lose in tall grass, never to be seen again.

Alpaca/Wool Socks

I have been lucky enough to receive a few pairs of socks made from alpaca fiber from various clients. They are wonderful. A hearty pair of wool socks will also do a darn fine job on those bitter, cold days that are coming.

Orange Knit Hat

If you can insulate the top of your head in cold weather, you’ve won half the battle. The orange is a bonus in case you’re in a remote wooded area during hunting season. Safety first.


The night comes early this time of year. When you can’t afford to lose one hand while holding a flashlight, but you need to see two feet in front of you, a headlamp is the key. Trudging my way through a cow pasture at midnight? No problem. Investigating a wound on the belly of a horse in a dark stall? Easy peasy.

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Depending on your location, lined coveralls are worth bonus points.  Properly made, these things are nearly indestructible. No holes nor snags nor loose threads will stop me and, incredibly, they are relatively impervious to stains as well.

Mine are a dark green for no particular reason, but any color will do. Plus the pockets are to die for. Pen? Got it. Notebook? Here you go. Above-mentioned instant thermometer? Always got it on me. Band-Aid? If I haven’t run out already.

Lined Rubber Muck Boots

These coupled with the socks above are a double threat to those sub-zero temps when you’re trudging through a sloppy pasture, crossing a creek to get to a down animal, or just heading to a muddy barn—which happens even to the best of us sometimes.

Extra Power Cord for Smartphone

Tuck it in your glove compartment and forget about it until you need it.


Hot tea, coffee, cocoa—whatever your hot drink of choice, a Thermos is an indispensable piece of farm equipment on a cold winter day. With a good insulated container, you can have a comfy beverage at your fingertips all day long.

Extra Extension Cords

The concept of duplicity is important in this list. You may have one of everything, but having an extra on hand is really something to be thankful for. I can’t tell you how many extension cords I’ve left at other farms, but at least I know they’re being used. Maybe it’s the real gift that keeps on giving. It’s the little things, right?

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