What's happening on the farm
or ranch this month?
Check back frequently to find out what's happening on the farms
and ranches of Hereford producers
JANUARY - FEBRUARY
The biggest challenge facing producers at this time of year is keeping cattle warm, fed, and healthy. Cold, snow, & mud all put cattle under stress. The more producers can reduce this stress, the healthier their cattle will be. Cattle are often taken to wind sheltered lots, barns or other places close to the producer to help him/her keep an eye on animals. Straw, hay, or other forages are often put down for bedding to help insulate against the cold. Water sources must be checked daily to make sure they are free of ice and running properly. Cattle are typically fed a higher energy diet during winter months to provide the extra calories needed to help them stay warm.
Also going on at this time is the start of calving season for many producers. In addition to caring for cows, extra care also needs to be given to baby calves. Cows are checked several times a day to make sure there are no complications during labor and delivery. On arrival, calves need to warmed up as quickly as possible. Mama cows do this by licking them vigorously after birth, encouraging them to get up and nurse, and keeping them close to their own body heat. It's not unusual to see calves snuggled very close to cows in an effort to maintain body heat. Small calf sheds or staying under a barn roof are ways to help protect newborn calves.
Some producers also use this time to attend and show at various livestock shows around the country or are busy preparing for an upcoming production sale. Both methods serve to advertise a breeder's herd and the quality of cattle they offer. These events are a lot of work, but there's also a lot of camaraderie reconnecting with friends, friendly competition and a break from home chores!