For the state of Oregon this has been a great winter so far. During the month of December we had almost no rain until the 26th of the month. The temperatures have been mild and easy to live with. We had one five day period of cold heavy fog that I could have lived without but I am not complaining.
We are wintering 40 Long Horn cattle six of which are new calves born here on the ranch since October, 18 mixed breed beef cattle, 30 Heritage Spanish Goats, two beautiful Arabian horses and 35 chickens. Trust me, that is a handfull, especially if the weather takes a turn for the worse. Life gets miserable fast if you are having to take care of all these animals in snow drifts.
The horses have a paddock at one end of the barn and during bad weather they stay in the paddock or inside the barn in the area that we have set aside for them. They are very patient and even let the goats or our two young steers eat with them. Very easy going.
Feeding the cattle is the largest chore but as long as we are contending with just rain, we are good to go. My wife and I have a system for hauling hay to the cattle in the rain, mud and all. We hook our Yamaha Grizzly 660 up to a small trailer that allows us to pull five or six hay bales at a time to the areas where we feed the cattle. The Grizzly has four wheel drive and lot's of power. It makes the job really easy.
Snow is a different story. We don't have a way of putting skis on the trailer so our work gets harder. The Grizzly will still pull the trailer through the snow but the trailer has a tendancy to slide around so we have to be really careful when going down hill, and we live and work on mostly hills. I've learned to pray in warp speed.
Our goats are the easiest of the animals to care for. We never have to take hay to them. They come to us. They always show up at the barn looking for their hay during the winter when the browse is lousy. They usually hang around in the barn if snow falls and I am glad for that. We have killed ten coyotes in the last three and a half months and I am sure that there are more lurking in the shadows waiting for a tasty meal. My great hope is that the meal I serve them is made of hot lead. That will turn them into a good coyote.
Right now the rain has returned with a vengence and they are predicting that snow levels will fall. Hopefully the air will stay warm enough to avoid an accumulation at our level. The mountains around us need lot's of snow. Our snow pack is about half of normal. Farmers and ranchers need heavy snow packs in order to have enough water to get through the spring and summer. It's critical.
Well, I hope that the weather where you are is treating you decent and that you are able to work with your livestock with as little trouble as possible.
The picture above, at the start of this article, is of my two herdsire bucks eating together last winter with a small skiff of snow on the ground.
Until next time, find something to laugh about. It is good for the spirit, soul and body.