Friday, January 18, 2008

Cold weather, Ice, and Cattle

This has been a treacherous week on the farm. First, several of the yards are slick because of the ice and the lack of the sun to melt the ice. While feeding cattle the other day, the herd was on the other side of the field, but when Scott entered with the feed wagon, they headed toward him. Now, instead of walking around the ice, they attempt to walk across the ice. Not all at once, either. One of them steps on the ice, does a nosedive, and ends up sliding part way across the patch.

Now you would think that the other 90 head would figure out that:
  • Ouch, that hurts!
  • I don't want to look like a dumb cow.
  • Maybe I should avoid the ice and walk around.

But no. Instead, four of them end up falling and hurting their legs. According to the farmer who lives in this house, something happens after a cow falls and injures a leg. Usually, the cow never again walks correctly. And since the cold spell has hit, and the wind chill right now is -10, those four will probably not make it.

When you calculate the cost invested into one animal and then figure the loss, it's a wonder that farmers ever make a profit. But if you look at the big picture of profitability, it all evens out. Or shows a profit!

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