Winter chores

We feed cattle every day. Calves are weaned off and out in the lot east of the headquarters. Supposed to get some snow and wind today, so brought them in from the pasture, east of that lot and locked them in behind protection. They had tore out some fence between the lot and the shelter belt, so after feeding we went and fixed fence. I don’t think any critter is as destructive as calves or yearlings, on fences!

We have the majority of the cows running up west, where there is grass available, but we feed a little hay every other day and the the other day when they don’t get hay they get protein, to keep them in good shape. We need to get them in and pour lice control on them as some are starting to scratch. Also on the calves. Lice aren’t much of a problem until winter, late winter, to early spring… when I was young, if you found a lousy cow (you could tell as they were thin and not looking good) we’d get them in the corral, rope them and lay them down and sprinkle a powder all over them up under and between their legs and brisket/belly. When it gets hot in spring, the lice drop off.. I am not real sure of their life cycle, but if you don’t do something for the cattle, they get poor, the lice suck their blood like a tick, only they are much, much smaller. Just one of the chores we do to help the livestock. I don’t think horses get lice, but if they do, we’ve never seen it here. I do know of cases where people have had tons of ticks on horses.. seems like if they are in timber, like up in the Black Hills, it is more prevalent.

Weather has been mild, for this time of the year.. melting snow and making ice, which makes it hard for livestock and humans alike to get around. I have things strapped to the bottoms of my mud boots, that keep me from slipping. We have two of the saddle horses shod up with non slip on their shoes. When I used to feed all winter with a team, I almost always had to get them sharp shod. If I wanted to use my team now, I’d have to be very careful or get them shod like the two saddle horses. With that stuff on their shoes, they can grip the ice and run over it with no danger. All part of ranching in this area.

Chance went and worked at the sale barn on Tuesday, he left early and called us as he saw a mountain lion just south of us. They come around on occasion. I can always tell when they are around as my horses act real goofy. They do not like lions! I have heard a lion scream a couple times.. pretty hair raising, tho’ they tell me it is just a female looking for a male to mate with.

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