When You Are a Bovine, Brown Is Better Than White…

Every year I hope for a nice pretty brown Christmas.  It isn’t that I don’t think that snow is beautiful, rather it is that snow storms are hard on my cattle and make my chores more difficult.

Lots of curious ice covered faces greet me...

Lots of curious ice covered faces greet me…

I have found over the past 17 years that snow rarely falls in a vertical pattern across the plains of Nebraska.  Instead, it whips viciously and horizontally across the horizon.

It settles in the roadside ditches camouflaging where the road ends and the ditch begins...

It settles in the roadside ditches camouflaging where the road ends and the ditch begins…

The snow makes drifts as is blows across the prairie.  There are times that these drifts are taller than I am.  Fortunately, this go round we have only small drifts…

Here you can see the snow drifting and blowing over the feed bunk...

Here you can see the snow drifting and blowing over the feed bunk…

We place our cattle on a special feed ration (casserole) to help them stay warm during inclement winter weather.  We also have windbreaks in the home pens so that they can huddle up and seek protection from the wind.

Up at the feed bunk eating the nutritious feed that will help them to stay warm...

Up at the feed bunk eating the nutritious feed that will help them to stay warm…

A constant source of fresh water is vitally important to our cattle’s well-being.  When the snow is blowing and the temperatures hover around zero, it is a challenge to keep our water tanks free of ice.  We have temperature control valves in each of our tanks which helps the water move around the tank and remain open despite the frigid temperatures.  Sometimes we have to chip ice off of the tanks when the valve system fails to keep the waters open.

Water is important --- no matter if is it warm or cold...

Water is important — no matter if is it warm or cold…

I am always amazed that even in times of brutal weather, the cattle still want to run and play around their home pens.  I have on so many layers of clothing that I waddle like a penguin, but the cattle deftly chase each other demonstrating that to them it is spunky weather.

They are far more agile than I am in the bone chilling cold...

They are far more agile than I am…

Down the gravel road about a mile, the Mama cows of some of the cattle in the feed yard are grazing a corn stalk field and gestating next year’s calf crop.  They also seem to take the cold weather in stride (at least better than this Florida girl does…).

I laughed as I watched her calmly eat the corn stalk that she rummaged from the field...

I laughed as I watched her calmly eat the corn stalk that she rummaged from the field…

Although I love the seasons because they mark a simple passage of time, winter is my least favorite of the four.  Each year, about the middle of February, my toes want to bury themselves in the warm sand of a Florida beach instead of bundling up inside my winter boots!

The ice and snow turn this black calf into a white/gray color...

It is amazing to me that the snow/ice can make a black calf look this color!

What do you do to get through the cold winter months?

5 Comments

Filed under CAFO, General

5 responses to “When You Are a Bovine, Brown Is Better Than White…

  1. Hubby got a chuckle out of your post today 😉 We don’t mind the snow to a point, then it does make things hard with our animals and our chickens don’t like it much as they can’t come out of their coop. The ice we got last night is what really makes things difficult I hope you don’t have the ice on top of snow. Stay warm and I agree layers are best even if they make you waddle 😉

    • The sun is out today and it is not too windy — last I looked we were at about 4 degrees. It will be very cold tonight (well below zero) and I pray that the wind will be calm. It’s still winter outside!

      I took the pictures late yesterday afternoon while I was checking all of the water tanks at the feed yard to make sure that they were open and not iced over. Despite the cold, I enjoyed the picture taking time and was very excited that all of the water tanks were open 🙂

      Take care,
      Anne

      • It was very windy here on Thursday… the wind scares me some so I don’t like it. Plus as you know it makes everything including every day chores harder. Its been in the 20-30’s here and in the teens at night except Tuesday when it was below 0 and we had an ice storm.
        I am glad you enjoyed the photography even in the cold. I enjoy it myself in most weather 😉 I hope you all are well and the girls are doing well in school 🙂
        Have a blessed weekend,
        Kim

  2. Pingback: Friday felfie (farmer selfie) | ranch wife life

  3. Reblogged this on From Field to Field and commented:
    Here’s a wonderful blog post about feedlots and snow storms.

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