Our resident mascot above has decided that we can't get the hay rolled out quick enough for her. Spot here was in our first group of feeders when we started our business, she ended up to be so fun and docile that we decided we needed to put this colorful queen in with our Angus/Black Baldy cow/calf operation for a little dazzle, color and fun. She has turned out some beautiful calves and we have never looked back. She is always the first in the chow line and the last to leave.
On our operation we roll out our hay for many reasons; more gets eaten, less wasted, manure is spread around in a large area for better fertilization and one area doesn't get trashed from a feeder. This is our choice and it works for us but one of the major benefits is for the calves during very cold weather because it also provides bedding to keep them warm.
Getting your herd ready for cold weather and maintaining them in optimum condition is a rancher's number one priority during the winter months. Providing wind breaks if you don't have natural ones is essential. Reducing wind speed from 20 mph down to 5 mph or less results in reducing cow's energy maintenance requirements by as much as 30%! This makes a huge impact on the amount of feed you need to get them through the winter healthy and with cattle prices as depressed as they are any practice that saves money and resources is just more for your bottom line.
Rolling out hay and/or providing bedding for calves is another way to boost your bottom line. Studies have shown that during extreme weather calves that have bedding to nest in gain .86 more pounds per day than non-bedded calves. This one simple activity translates directly to your bottom line!
As ranchers we all do what we can to get our herds, horses and ourselves through the winter in the best health possible. Me...I can't wait until it clears up enough to use my new saddle!
Happy New Year!