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Posts Tagged ‘weather’

More than a few people have asked me lately, “Do you put your cows inside when it gets really cold out?” Oh, goodness…we don’t have the biggest herd in the world, but it would still take quite a structure to keep them all in!

There is no doubt, this winter has been an interesting one. We have had long stretches of temps below zero at night and only in the single digits during the day. And then, and NOT disappointing to my cold-intolerant body, we have had some grill outdoors, play-in-the-yard, wear-short-sleeves kind of days! As much as I love those warm days for me, they are actually too warm for the cows who have their “winter coats” on.

Mama and Baby

Mama and Baby

As you can tell from the picture, the cows don’t get to be indoors when it is cold out. We will bring in one who is ready to calve, let the baby get good and dry and nurse, and then turn them out.  God made animals, cattle in particular, very hardy! We certainly do our best to keep them comfortable by having shelter from wind, putting down bedding (straw), and always making sure they have hay to eat and fresh water.  They have a layer of fat, thik skin, and plenty of hair to keep them comfortable.  While I am layering on the amazingly sexy layers of long johns, sweatshirts, coveralls, and coats, those mama’s are doing just fine in their God-given body armor.

So, as we go through these last weeks (I so dearly hope…last…) of winter, enjoy some delicious stew or meatloaf, or whatever you consider comfort food. Before you know it, the grass will begin turning green and it will be time to grill for every meal!

Even when it’s cold, we get to enjoy views like this…

IMG_0930

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Here are cattle in the snow:

Here is a snow cow:

Regardless of where you live, weather is a fact of life. Our life, especially in the winter, hinges on the weather conditions. We have been VERY blessed with nice weather so far this year & the snow we just received was some welcome moisture! If it’s snowin’ and blowin’ the animals still get fed and bedded. When everything is done – it’s time to play!

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On Sunday evening Matt, Emmet and I went to Kansas to get a few pairs we need to have at our house.  We need to have them at our house because we need to get the calf portion of those pairs ready for the Iowa State Fair – yep, giving ourselves that whole three weeks of prep time.  No problem!!…I hope…   So – you might have noticed we were a kid short when we headed to the pasture.  Kaydee was CRABBBBBYYYY.  Her dad told her it would be just fine if she wanted to stay home and pack for her FFA officer retreat and do a few things around the house.  Sometimes a girl just needs a few hours to herself & we were glad to help accommodate her need of alone time.  It made the rest of our day MUCH more pleasant.

When Emmet and I headed into the pasture to find the cows, here is where they were:

Yep – it was a swimming party; complete with a shaded beach, snacks all around, and plenty of cool, refreshing (ignore the muddiness) water.  Let me tell you, when you want the cows to go to the far south end of the pasture and they are in their height of luxury in the far north end of the pasture….you have your work cut out for you!

We did get everyone we needed headed south (after throwing some dirt clods into the pond to get the cows moving, and come coaxing with range cubes) toward Matt with the pickup and trailer and the portable panel catch pen.  However when we were just close enough to start getting them inside the pen, the clouds got alot darker, the wind picked up, and the temperature dropped at least 15 degrees.  Great!  We were on a dirt road.  We were thrilled for the MUCH cooler temp, but we did NOT want to be stuck a long way from anywhere.

So, off we go, back to the farmhouse to wait out the storm….that never came.  It completely went around us – which was ok.  We decided to go check another pasture while we waited to make sure it wasn’t going to rain.  Here is what we got to see while we were out there – a beautiful rainbow.  It was even double for a little while.

On our second attempt at getting those fore-mentioned pairs in, we were successful.  The pairs are now here at the house and Emmet assures me, those calves will be show ready by mid August.  I’m taking his word for it…and helping him out when he asks.  I enjoy that kind of work way too much to let he and Kaydee have all the fun.

We should all take a lesson from the cows in the pond – do what is most comfortable & enjoy life!

 

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If you have been following my blog from my early days….all the way back to last winter/spring, you would know that extremely cold conditions make for challenging days for farmers & ranchers – especially for those who have cattle.  Well, Mother Nature is being every bit as sassy in the summer months, this year!  Much of the U.S.  is experiencing an extreme heat wave – with not only heat, but more importantly, humidity, making miserable conditions for animals and people.  Sweating profusely is certainly the norm in our neighborhood these days – one certainly doesn’t have to worry about being embarassed by a soaked-through shirt…everyone else around is in the same condition!  I’m pretty sure Secret and Axe are doing especially well these last couple of months…maybe I should have paid attention to the weather forecast and bought stock!

So, what do cattle producers do when extreme heat sets in?  Different producers have different methods and capabilities, but everyone does the best they can to keep animals as comfortable as possible.  For the feedyards, many will alter diets slightly or feed at such a time that cattle ruminate (or digest) primarily in the cooler hours of the night.  Some feedyards have sprinkler systems or water trucks to soak the cattle & try to cool them in the heat of the day.  Everyone makes sure there is plenty of fresh, clean water available for drinking at all times!

Ranchers, or cow-calf producers, don’t have the opportunity to soak cattle with cool water.  However, I guarantee – as much as you love finding a shade tree on a  hot day, so do the cows!  If pastures have ponds, you will often find a swimming party going on.  The cows will do their grazing during the evening and early morning when it’s cooler and hang out either in the water or the shade during the heat of the day.  The rancher can be considered the cows’  “cabana boy” bringing them salt, mineral, and cubes as they are needed.  In some of the seriously drought stricken areas, water has to be hauled to the pastures every day, as ponds are  completely dried up.  The “Ladies” definitely appreciate all the attention and tender loving care!

I think when it is really hot out is the time a few of the cows at our place really appreciate being Kaydee and Emmet’s 4-H and FFA projects.  They get ALL KINDS of attention!  They are rinsed EVERY day, sometimes TWICE!  They get to lie under big fans & have their favorite feed provided twice a day.  They are so spoiled!  All they need now is, well, nothing – they have it all!  For them, it’s like being on a luxury vacation!

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