YODER, COLORADO — As severely cold temperatures move into Southern Colorado, local ranchers are making plans to protect their livestock and keep them safe.
Jean Meinzer owns a ranch in Yoder, which is a small town about an hour east of Colorado Springs. Meinzer told News5 that she's been getting ready for the cold weather event for the past several days. One of the main things she’s doing differently in her routine this week, is increasing the food intake for all of her cattle.
“Animals, particularly cattle, are much like humans. So, we try to increase the caloric intake in the winter,” said Meinzer, who owns about 150 cattle.
Her cattle will be outside during the arctic blast. This week, she's doubling the cattle's food intake for at least three days and making sure they have enough fuel to get through the storm.
“Typically, one round bale weighs 1,400 pounds, so they'll get two of those, plus probably some range cubes. So we're just really building up that carbs and the fiber,” said Meinzer.
Livestock need to eat enough calories to heat themselves and stay warm in severely cold weather. But sometimes, they may not have much protection from the elements.
“We don't put them in barns. We do have windbreaks that we build, and they'll get on the south side of the windbreak. We try to feed them down in a valley, not up on a hill. So they just get the protection of the landscape,” said Meinzer.
Meinzer says cold weather like this isn't devastating to the ranch or the livestock, but it is costly and expensive. She also mentioned the good news, is they're not calving this time of year.
“We don't have baby calves on the ground, so that's a blessing. We don't have to worry about scooping them up, getting them in the house,” said Meinzer. “With not much snow projected in this, and just the cold temperatures, they'll they'll figure out pretty much on their own. That's just the instinct in them. Other than that, it's keep ourselves warm,” she added.
Water is just as important as food. Every morning, ranchers break the ice on their stock’s water tanks, to make sure animals have enough water throughout the day.
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