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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

#TimeToBreakIce

This past weekend, Oklahoma was hit with a pretty brutal snow storm.
While posting on social media, I used a hashtag #TimeToBreakIce.
I had a follower ask me "Why do you break ice?"

A ranchers job is to care for his animals.
Flower Boy does an amazing job of doing so!
He keeps close watch on our cattle, at all times.
 
During a snow storm, the cattle have to be fed more feed and their hay feeder must remain full.
This is the only way the cattle can stay warm.

Lights can be placed in a chicken coop.
A blanket can be placed on a horse.
AND
Princess Sheba wears her coat, to keep warm.
 
The cattle have to be fed, in an area of the pasture, where they are protected from the straight line winds and cold.
Often times, the cake line is laid out on the back side of a hill, in the bottom of a valley, or along a tree line.
The bale feeders are always placed in an area of cover.
Flower Boy normally places them in a cove of the pasture, where the sides of the cove are surrounded by trees.

When baby calves are born in these conditions, the rancher must be on his toes!
Momma and baby must be taken to the barn or to a protected area.
If not, the baby calf will freeze and die.
We are fortunate to have a pasture that has a lean-to attached to a barn, as well as, a loafing shed.
If we were to have babies born, we would place momma and baby there and bed them down in a thick bed of hay or straw.
Thankfully, our calving season doesn't start until March 10th!
We have several mommas getting really close to calving.
Just another reason Flower Boy keeps watch over our herd.
 
As for Time To Break Ice...
When temperatures drop, water freezes.
Ponds freeze.
Water tanks freeze.
Water tubs freeze.
Chicken waters freeze.
EVEN
Natural springs/streams freeze.
 
If the animals are going to drink, the rancher has to break the ice.
  On the ponds, this means the rancher takes an axe, chops a large hole, then shovels out the ice.
 
In these conditions, the ice must be chopped in the morning and in the evening.
This goes for all water supplies around the ranch.
 
The cattle are very thankful!
 They are normally waiting on Flower Boy, while he is chopping the hole.

In Oklahoma, we don't normally have harsh winters.
Each year, we reserve hay, feed and money to cover the added expense of the Oklahoma Snow Storms.
It is always best to be prepared.
If the reserve isn't needed, we consider it a bonus.
These past several years, no bonus has been given.
Such is the life of a rancher!

XOXO,
Rancher Girl