Rancher puts in extra work to protect livestock during cold snap

It’s not fun working outside, especially when it is below zero, and one Bowman rancher said he is spending more time outside than he would like to during this current cold snap.

Steve Brooks and his family own and operate Chalky Butte Ranch in Bowman County, and they like to calve in the Winter months.

“We calve early so we can sell yearling bulls in April  . . . and any day now we should be getting our first calf,” said Brooks.

However, the rancher is not exactly thrilled with Old Man Winter’s current attitude.

Well not really. . .  I wish it would warm up a little bit.  It is going to be a lot of work,” said Brooks.

When he says work he means he and his family have to constantly check the cattle’s water supply to make sure it doesn’t freeze up, and they are feeding the cattle 10 percent more, so they can stay warm. 

“When they are digesting that creates heat, and that’s what keeps them warm,” said Brooks.

Because the Brooks family calves early, they check the cows every two hours around the clock to make sure the newborns are not exposed to the below zero temperatures.

“As soon as they have them, we take them down to the barn where it is warm,” said Brooks.

Brooks said his cattle are tough, and he knows they will be able to get through this current stretch of frigid weather.

“It’s amazing . . . you will see them playing when it’s 15 below”.

Overall he said the weather this Winter has been a lot better than last year. 

“Last year it was terrible, and one of the coldest on record,” said Brooks.

The Bowman rancher said he and his family sell their Black Angus yearling bulls at the Bowman Auction market in April.

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