On The Ranch

Bovines, It’s Cold Outside

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Y’all. It’s real cold. I know, it’s winter so it’s to be expected, but the first cold snap of the year is always the hardest, especially when it’s a true, honest-to-goodness-way-below-zero cold snap. Plus, we’re all tender-skinned from it being 70 in November so this one is especially shocking. This is one of those days that I don’t mind that I don’t work outside with Bert as much as I used to–zero degrees is a little bit cold for the outdoor wear that currently fits over my alarmingly large and fast-growing belly!

The girls, of course, don’t get the luxury of sitting by a woodstove wearing Christmas jammies. They do, however, have the luxury of a thick coat that fits no matter how pregnant they are! All of our cows are bred to handle cold weather, so they grow a hefty and surprisingly furry coat in the winter. If it’s very cold, they’ll all bunch up together and take turns with who has to be on the outside, just like penguins, but you’d be surprised at how cold and snowy it has to be before they do that! After all, cows live where it gets much colder than it does here.

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When it gets really cold, cows eat more to keep warm, so we feed them extra–some to eat, and some to lay on so they don’t have to lay right on the snow. We also try to feed them really nice hay when it’s cold, too. Not all the hay will get put up perfectly, some might get rained on or put up a little wet because we can’t control the weather in the summer. It’s still totally fine for them to eat, and they gobble it right up, but we like to spoil them a just a little bit with some really tasty, green stuff. Here the girls are snarfing a really nice bale of alfalfa/grass mix.

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dsc_1364When it’s cold and snowy and windy and awful outside, remember all the farmers and ranchers who are taking care of their animals in that weather–feeding animals, breaking water, checking on everyone, dealing with frozen pipes and equipment that won’t start, and freezing their hineys off in the bargain.

(…and bemoan the complete lack of  warm, ranch-friendly maternity wear.)