From Pipi’s Pasture: Winter feed for the animals
When I did the chores this morning it was -2 degrees, not as low as forecast but with a light wind blowing it was absolutely frigid. When I left the house for the corral I noticed that the cats weren’t in their usual morning place on the front porch, but I put out the cat food anyway. I guessed they were tucked in under one of the buildings or at the carport where they could be out of the wind.
At the corral I found some ice on top of the water at the stock tank; it was on one side of the tank while the water near the tank heater was open. This happens sometimes when it’s cold and wind blows across the water, though it’s the first time it has happened this winter.
The cows were in a pretty good mood in spite of the weather and went right to eating their hay. However, they aren’t the only hungry animals here at Pipi’s Pasture.
When I left food for the cats I realized that the deer would probably eat it on their way back to the house. That’s because they have been spending their nights in the hay yard down at the corral, and when I go down to do chores in the morning they stand there and watch me awhile and then jump the fence and come back to the house. This is the first year that they have found a way to get to the hay, and now they have a portion of fence mashed down so they can jump over it. (When weather improves, it will be repaired.)
The deer eat on the bales of hay, pulling it off at the edges and sometimes eating into the middle of the bales. They pull the twine off the bales, too, and get up on the hay trailer. They eat cat food that I leave for the corral cats, too. Deer love cat food.
I make two trips to the corral—one to feed hay and then another, an hour or two later, to fill water tanks. So while I feed hay the deer come back to the front yard at the house, eat the cat food and bed down under the evergreen trees. It looks as if the deer have shoveled holes or beds in the snow. When they lie down, I can see their heads and big ears—not so much of their bodies. They rest until time to go back to the hay yard.
I put out more cat food, but pretty soon I hear noise and a porch check usually means that deer—especially two fawns—are up on the front porch, helping themselves to cat food. So I keep putting out more food for the cats. I buy a lot of cat food.
In the winter the birds eat seeds and leaves off the feedlot, but they also enjoy the cats’ food. The other day a flock of some kind of birds with brown speckled breasts came in, helped themselves to cat food, and flew off. I have not seen them since. A solitary magpie visits the cat pan, too.
That’s not all. A neighborhood dog comes to the front porch, too, and even runs off with the cat pan.
So, this winter I feed the cows and cats. The deer, birds, and dog help themselves.
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