For the guy who is not only plays the role of a large animal vet, obstetrician (not for me, don't worry), nutritionist, handyman, husband, father and snow removal expert...snow days, especially ones with the threat of no power, are a big deal and tons of extra work for Joe. He's out checking his heifers now, in the midst of a time when I have heard more than once in the 15 minutes of TV I have watched today: STAY OFF THE ROADS! Well, no kidding, however, we're pretty far down on the county's snow plow list, so we tend to be pretty conservative.
Regardless of whether you are snowed in, or enjoying beautiful summer-like temperatures in some tropical, exotic location, please take a moment to appreciate the work American farmers, particularly livestock farmers do for your food supply. Unless you're following and drinking the Oprah Kool-Aid again by going vegan. However, remember that although one may be told otherwise, life is not all or nothing, instead, take a minute to appreciate all the controversy and craziness that make our lives interesting!
Snowpocalypse 2011- A Cattleman's Perspective
With a few minutes of break here in the middle of the day, I thought I'd share what this snowstorm means to those of us caring for livestock on days like today.
The past two days have been spent preparing for the blizzard of biblical proportions, according to the weathermen. Fixing up and cleaning sheds for the lucky cattle that have one available to them, bedding down extra loose hay in the areas that have windbreaks for those cattle that won't have a roof over their head, and making sure water is readily available in all situations. We fed enough hay this morning that if the weather necessitates, the older cows will be OK if I can't get there tomorrow.
The maternity ward is a different story. I'm in the first week of calving season for my first calf heifers. These are first time mothers, and like first time mothers, they often times have no clue of what to do. Sometimes when they go into labor, they want to be alone, so they will leave the comfort of the shed and go out to the corner of the lot and give birth there. As first time mommas, in that scenario, they are likely to get up and head back to the shed. Not such a good deal today! Experienced cows won't do this- they will either stay with their baby, or run the others out of the barn so that they can have it to themselves. Thus, the heifers will be checked every two hours during the day, and when I check them before I go to bed, I will shut those four heifers that I predict are most likely to calve in the barn where they can't get out into the snow. If at that time I believe that any of them are in the process of going into labor, I will be out at 2 am to go check them and make sure that they deliver successfully and assist them if required. If the forecast holds true (and it is so far), I will have to take my loader tractor for that trip as the roads will likely be impassible for my pickup (the calving barn is 3 miles down the road).
As if today wasn't bad enough already, I hear that Oprah is having a big deal on going Vegan for a week, having Michael Pollen and his ridiculous fabrications and lies (all in the name of lining his pockets to sell his books) and having an "expose" on beef processing plants. This should be good (sarcasm alert)- everybody is snowed in so her audience will be even bigger. They will probably go to great lengths to talk about how cruel we livestock producers are to our animals, how meat is terrible, so on and so forth. Funny that there are no cameramen following me around today- maybe that would tell a side of the story that they aren't interested in telling. I don't know what the show will have to say about livestock and meat, but i know enough about the people they have on to know it won't be fair, accurate, or based in sound science. That would be asking far too much. Maybe I'll be surprised. I won't be watching, I'll be busy caring for my animals.