It's March and we're covered in snow.
Anyone else tired of the white stuff?
We are over it here.
I don't know how many total inches we got at home (maybe 24?) in February, but in Pendleton (where I work) we got almost 3 feet of snow in one month. That never happens here; and in fact we broke a century year old record for the amount of snowfall for February with the amounts we got.
It's hard to get snow in February; because it is when everyone is calving and where our part of the world doesn't normally get this much snow ranchers don't always have the facilities (like barns or sheds) to shelter cows with. We are fortunate that we have a large shop that we can bring a number of pairs into - but we also built that knowing that livestock isn't our main source of income and we didn't want calving to be hard. Our size of shop in comparison to our size of cattle herd in a ratio isn't normal for other ranchers around here who have to be able to cash flow their outbuildings with only livestock sales.
So to keep things warm, others did what we did. Physically with a tractor move the snow, try to get to bare ground, and then bed deep with straw. We also built temporary walls out of straw bales in an effort to break some of the wind; and Clint made a little calf shelter that was covered and bedded deep right next to our purple feeders so that the calves could lay in it while their mamas ate hay.
Then, when it snows more - we did the above all over again.
We also fed our cattle more than normal and fed alfalfa more often than we would have in good weather. Cattle with full bellies create more warmth from their ruminating and that helps them too with the cold temperatures.
We were feeding off of our pickup, but Clint got a Calf Catcher delivered on this extra long pallet shown above and it is perfect for holding a bale, and allowing one person to just feed from it without having to get out of a pickup/skidsteer. Clint just moves it from spot to spot and sets the pallet down, goes in reverse and uses his forks to flake off a section of alfalfa before picking the pallet back up and moving to the next spot. It works pretty slick!
The boys have really been troopers - we've spent a lot of time outside in cold temperatures feeding; bedding and just taking care of things. Even yesterday, after many days of being out in the cold - they are thrilled to get to go to the barn and can stay out with us for a good period of time letting us get things done.
Bedding with an older bale of grass hay/grain hay. The boys were able to play right outside the shop safely, while we could still keep an eye on them. They "scooped" for a good hour.
We try not to bring anything into the barn; but aren't afraid to either if we think a calf is cold or just needs a break from the weather. The calves in this picture were 1 and 3 days old and got to hang out inside for a day or so. I don't think their mamas minded the break from the weather either. ;)
So that's a look at the snow at our place over the last month.
We're slated to get one more round of snow and cold temperatures (down to single digits) for the next week or so and then hopefully things will break and we'll be able to look forward to Spring.
How's the weather where you are?