Ranchers Prepare Cattle For Frigid Temperatures - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Ranchers Prepare Cattle For Frigid Temperatures

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BOZEMAN -

With temperatures only expected to get colder, area ranchers are making sure their livestock and equipment are ready for the worst.

"As long as we can keep them out of the wind, we're doing great," said Craig, White, Bar Quarter Circle Ranch owner.

Craig White owns the Bar Quarter Circle Ranch in Bozeman. He said making sure his cattle have enough food and water to help keep them warm as the temperatures decrease is crucial.

"In the morning, I go out to feed and break ice, so they have access to water," said White. "I feed them anywhere from 10 to 20 percent extra during the cold weather because that's the only way they keep warm."

Montana Extension Office Cattle Beef Specialist, Rachel Endecott said food and water is the most important step to keeping livestock healthy through the cold snap.

"We need to increase the feed by 1% for every degree it is below 17 or 18 degrees," said Endecott. "If cattle get below 17 or 18 degrees, they start to use energy to maintain body temperature."

Experts said it's in the animals nature to find heat on their own.

"The brushes are probably 10 to 15 degrees warmer because of the trees," said White.

"In the short-term, cows can change their behavior," said Endecott. "In the long-term, a heavy hair coat really helps them stay warm."

White said the most challenging thing during this time of year is getting his equipment to work.
 
"I try to get everything running in this cold of weather, especially with a sub zero," said White.

With temperatures expected to drop to some of the coldest Montana has seen in years, White said he still feels his cattle are prepared to withstand the frigid weather.

"My cattle were in good shape going into the fall going into the winter," said White. "They have a good fat reserve and heavy hair coat."

The Bar Quarter Circle Ranch was one of the many ranches that donated livestock after an early season blizzard in South Dakota. About 100,000 cattle were killed in that snow storm. 

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