Feeding on the butte.
Because of the drought here this summer, Double M weaned the fall calves early and took the cows up to the butte. There, they were fed hay each day - since there wasn't a lot of spare grass to put them on.
Last year the ranch bought a Fodder Flaker hay feeder. It's mounted on a flatbed trailer, and has a gas generator mounted on the front that provides the power to the chains to roll bales back towards the rollers where they're flaked off in chunks. The trailer can be pulled by anything - a tractor, pickup, etc. since it doesn't rely on any attached hydraulics to flake the hay.
Probably my favorite thing about this feeder is that it's a one-man job. A remote control allows the driver of the pickup or truck to run the flaker from inside the cab. Which is also nice when it's poor weather outside - besides cutting the strings and starting the generator, the rest of the job can be done from the comfort of a cab.
The day I took these pictures, our nephew Jace was here though - so it was a two-man job. :)
And if I'm being totally honest - the batteries had died on the remote, so it was a three person job when I showed up to deliver two extra AA batteries. :)
The guys had just pulled into the field, and Clint hopped up on the deck of the flatbed to start the generator. You can see he's holding a small box in his hand - that's the remote that runs the flaker.
Now that it had fresh batteries, they were ready to go!
Clint doesn't like to feed huge chunks of hay and likes to provide plenty of space around them (due to waste), so it's nice he can control the amount of hay that's flaked off each time and where it lands. One or two flakes is ideal for him, but if someone desired, the remote could tell the flaker to run a line of hay in a continuous stream.
Around the field he went, until he'd fed the desired amount. The cows are funny - they trail behind, thinking that the next flake to come off will probably be better than the one they've just been munching on.
During a drought;
Hay = Happy Cows
It's not the ideal way to feed cows in the summer, since we'd rather see them turned out to grass, but when drought forces your hand it's at least nice to have good equipment that helps getting feeding done efficiently. :)