Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Chores

Winter has arrived on the ranch and that means work. It doesn't mean more work because each season brings a different kind of task. I guess that is what I like about being in agriculture. It changes with the seasons and the work is never quite the same. Just about the time you get tired of doing something the season changes and the daily tasks change.

Winter brings its own set of chores and tasks. One of those chores is feeding the cows and ewes. This means knowing the nutritional value of the hay and grain I plan to feed. I need to know the energy, protein, feed value, etc... so I can develop a ration that will provide the proper nutrition for that animal given their biological needs. This takes both education and experience to blend the available feed ingredients in the right amount.

After the ration is formulated it must be fed to the cattle or sheep so that even the meekest most timid animal gets the amount they need. I unroll hay for my cows. I take an 1100 pound round bale of hay and unroll it in the pasture using hydraulic arms on my pickup bed. This spreads the hay out allowing the cows to have space. I provide plenty of bunk space for my ewes allowing them enough space to each eat the grain they require.

Feeding the animals does not just mean dumping it and leaving. I take the time to observe each animal and make sure they are not injured or sick. If one of the animals would happen to be in need of care, I would consult with our Vet and get it the necessary treatment. The health of my animals is of the utmost concern to me. I utilize the best in modern veterinary medicine, administered in a manner consistent with prescribed quality assurance programs and in the approved dose. Any animal treated will be monitored closely until they are fully healthy.

Winter chores are about being caretakers of our animals. Most of the day is spent looking after their needs. Like most of my fellow ranchers I enjoy working with animals and view it as my life's work. Winter work is not easy on the ranch, but it is just one opportunity for my fellow ranchers and myself to display our passion for animals and ulitimately for feeding the world through our hard work.

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