Sunday, November 7, 2010

The philosophy of feeding

Last week we moved the cows to their winter quarters, the wooded side of our property.  Normally we feed them through the winter since, of course, they can't graze through snow.  But since we haven't had any snow yet, and since we're trying to preserve our hay supply, we've been letting them pick through the remaining grass in the woods.

But a couple days ago we thought we'd better start feeding.  The calves had never been fed at the feed boxes before, so it took them a day or two to figure out that free food magically appears in the feed boxes twice a day.

Now the calves "get it."  In fact, everybody "gets it."  Mornings and afternoons, we have eleven discontented animals (ten bovines, one horse) standing impatiently next to the feed boxes, waiting for us to get off our lazy duffs and give them food.  They bellow.  They moo.  They whinney.  They don't shut up until we feed them.

It's not as though there's three feet of snow on the ground.  There's still food in the woods if they look for it.  But it's so much easier, don'cha know, to gripe and moan and complain until they get their free food in the feed boxes.  Conditioned by the handouts, they are now too lazy to go look for food themselves in the woods.

But of course, the food isn't free.  My husband and I paid for it.  And we're the ones doing the labor of feeding.  Wind or rain or shine, we trundle the wheelbarrows over to the haybales, pitch the hay into the barrow, trundle it over to the feed boxes, and heave the hay into the boxes.  We fill the wheelbarrow three or four times each feeding.  We feed twice a day.  It doesn't matter what other chores need doing, or what the weather is like, or even how we feel.  And if we're late, they complain.

Until the snow flies and feeding becomes imperative, it finally dawned on me what the problem is.

Our cows are on welfare.


  1. Bahahah!!!
    It's funny because it's true :-)

  2. Excellent. It's a much better example than most of the email that is circulating. Grasshoppers and Ants. Oh! My!


  3. LOL reminds me of the time my 4 cows and the Donkey got out over night.We woke up to them standing around the front pourch,makeing enought nosie that you would think they had not eaten in a week.But they were easy to get back to where they belonged.

  4. another brilliant post! Thanks for the laugh!

  5. Now if you let your cows vote you could be in serious trouble.

    9 cows, 1 horse and 2 humans sit down to vote on who buys the hay.... there will an earmark against eating beef added to it as well.

  6. How quickly all creatures learn to depend on handouts, how much longer it takes to train them to go back to depending on their own efforts to survive, right?

    Our horses are on welfare too. The minute they see the lights come on in the morning or the back door open in the evening, the nickering begins. Feed us, feed us, feed us! LOL

  7. yup...we have the welfare brigade out back too. The moment the lights come on there are horses and goats and feeder calves staring intently at the back door and vocalizing their impatience.

  8. i don't have any livestock but i swear on a stack of bibles that my two dogs can tell time..if i am late to fixing their dinner bowls they will sidle up to my chair and slap the you know what outta me until i move. they have a routine that i have been trying to change but everytime we seem to be making progress daylight savings time steps in and makes a mess of things. the animals win.

  9. Save the Canning JarsNovember 7, 2010 at 7:47 PM

    And you want to know how this gets worse...

    "Will you feed MY animals too? Yes, we're all coming over to YOUR house."

    Now you may scream in frustration!

  10. I was thinking the same thing as what WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said, hehehe.....if it's that easy to train them (fast) with freebies, you'd think they'd be able to be trained in other things......maybe they are smarter than we give em credit......

  11. Yeah, I think this may have something to do with God having given us 'dominion' over all the animals....maybe it's there in the fine print, it sure seems like the critters get it!

    And bwaa-ha-ha-haaaa!! Can-Jars strikes again! Good one, C.J...and so frighteningly apropos.


  12. Sounds like my sons! At 5:00 sharp they're lounging on the livingroom furniture mooing "What's for dinner, Mom?" Day in, day out.
    Every now and then I yell "Nothing!", grab a good book, and lock myself in my room for a few hours. Most often, they order pizza. This house is stuffed with enough food to feed 10 for two years, and they order pizza. Now you know why I go on strike.

  13. I seem to be remembering an old childs tale about a chicken, human or whatever it was. About all the work that went into food preparation/survival. No wait, I think it was about a little red hen. She kept asking them to help and they always had a reason to not help. Once all the work was done and they wanted to eat she said SORRY. Where where you when I asked for your help? I know vengence is mine says the Lord. But a lazy slob shall not eat the fruits of someone elses labor. Rock on little red hen!

  14. Your story reminds me of a "union" bird dog I traded for years ago. A friend was big into field trials, and Doc was getting too old. He was a champion many times over, and I was really looking forward to hunting over him. Our first day out he hunted like crazy, for 20 minutes, and then found a nice shady tree to lay under. Apparently he'd put in his day's work (field trial time), and punched his time clock. I was never able to renegotiate his contract. He was a wonderful pet thereafter.

  15. Yeah, yeah! I hear that OzarksTom. That dog doesn't want to step into another union dog's turf. He mat get a visit from some union goon dogs.