November is the month where the ranch normally starts to feed hay to the cows. Last year, we got lucky with a nice fall green up and were able to hold off on feeding until December. This year was a bit different though when 60 degrees turned into 16 degrees in just two days. After a few inches of snow covered the grass, the guys started feeding the majority of the groups.
There were two groups that had been freshly turned out on frozen alfalfa fields, and they didn't need fed since the alfalfa was tall & plentiful enough to graze through the snow.
The guys had a few days of nice weather, so they backed off a bit but when we got more snow on the 29th, full feeding began again.
We're not calving yet, so the guys load trucks and feed in the morning. As we get closer to calving the spring cows, Clint will transition to feeding in the afternoon, since that will cause more cows to calve during the daytime. But right now, feeding in the mornings works better because once it's done, the guys can go work on other projects like building fence, riding pens, etc.
The ranch feeds big bales of alfalfa, grass and mixed forage hay depending on the day. Bales are loaded onto trucks at the commodity area and then hauled to the pastures where the various groups of cows are at.
The cows can hear the trucks coming, and usually start heading towards the gate.
The truck goes through the gate, and one of the guys will hop up on the back of the truck while the other drives. Clint likes to flake hay in chunks of two flakes each, with enough space between each chunk that the cows can stand around the hay and not trample or poop on the other chunks.
The guy driving the truck has to drive smoothly enough and avoid bumps or holes in the field so the person on the back feeding doesn't get bucked off.
Hay = Happy Cows.
And we're in the business of having happy cows.
We'll feed hay until the spring grasses can provide enough energy for the cows. But until then, the guys & trucks will run every day to keep feeding hay to the cows.