Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter feeding...

click photos to enlarge

Livestock gets fed every single day, especially now when there is enough snow on the ground that it doesn't allow for natural grazing.  S and I went out to feed together and so I brought along my camera to click a few wintry pictures of our critters.  Here you see the bucks (male sheep) getting a little bit of alfalfa cake.  Cake is a pressed or compacted feed of grains or in this case, alfalfa, which is high in protein and energy.  We feed alfalfa cake to all our livestock -- cows, bulls, sheep, horses.  We also feed loose grass hay through the winter months.

Ewe Sheep (females) are coming up to the truck for their share of cake.  Some of them are so gentle that they will eat from our hands.  A few of these girls are a bit "wool blind."  That means that the wool has grown over their eyes and makes it difficult for them to see.  Lucky for them, sheep are herd animals and they graze and live in a herd at all times.  They rarely venture off on their own unless they are lambing (having their baby lambs).  The wool blind sheep rely on the voice of their fellow sheep to keep them within the herd.  Sometimes we "eye" the sheep.  That means we shear the wool from their faces so they can see through the winter months since snow and ice can stick to the wool and make it even more difficult for them to see.

The sheep are all circled up eating their cake.  We feed them in a circle or in circles-within-circles depending on how much cake they need.  The circle keeps the sheep together and helps them to find their feed easily.

Here the herd bulls are nibbling on their cake in a track that S made before pouring out his bucket of feed.

I love seeing the hungry cows coming up to us for their feed.  See how perky their ears are?  All attention is on us because we have the breakfast!

 I wanted this picture to be from afar to reveal the wide-openness of our prairie.  Here the mature cows are being fed their daily  hay by tractor.   We went down to feed them cake too.  I love being a rancher's wife.  Did you know Justice Sandra Day O'Connor lived on a cattle ranch in Arizona when she was a girl?   Here's a little biography on SDO.

I wanted to be a cattle rancher when I was young, because it was what I knew and I loved it. 
~Sandra Day O'Connor


  1. Wonderful post! The sheep are beautiful. Your prairie shouts peace as well as risk taking. I love it!
    You're so great, loving being a rancher's wife - so good. I'm so glad you are my blog friend!

  2. I know it is a lot of work..but to me it is so satisfying to see the animals taken care of and fed each day. A good feeling! Come say hi :D

  3. I feel like I have a window on a different world when I look at your blog. What a fascinating post. I love the pictures and information. And I really appreciate your loving view of life.

  4. These photos are just amazing to me. Good thing God gave them such good coats!!

  5. I love seeing the pictures of your country. We live in the wide open as well....but not as pretty. Sandhills and scrub mesquite, greasewwod and sage..no trees. We feed the same thing. DH has yet to put on his feeder, he said tomorrow.We rarely have snow on the ground for very long, so it isn't as crucial.Thanks for the hint on the peppermint tea.


  6. I love seeing this side of your life, Jody. Those sheep are cute! I am sitting here shivering looking at these cold pictures. I hope you are staying warm!

  7. That last picture really does capture the vastness of the prairie...beautiful pictures :)

  8. Wow, I am freezing just looking at the pictures. I did not know all that about the sheep, but how interesting. I love living vicariously through you. Clarice

  9. I hope you don't mind that I borrowed your first photo for my desktop at least till spring arrives. My other desktop pic is also your sheep!!! My blog photo too. Gee, I might owe you $$$!!!


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