Feeding Cattle After the Blizzards

Some Colorado livestock owners north and east of Colorado Springs are wondering what to feed their animals.

With much of the post-blizzard help going to farmers and ranchers in southeastern counties some feel left out in the cold.

Gary Johnson's herd of bison is what he considers "hobby sized:" enough to keep him busy as he moves toward retirement, but not make or break his livelihood.

Gary has one request.

"If you can get some hay out here, we would greatly appreciate it!" he said.

A tiny pile of hay is what's left of about five days worth of food for his 12 animals.

"They're not starving yet, but they will if we don't start getting some hay," said Gary.

Gary believes most available feed supplies have been grabbed by the Colorado Cattlemen's Association and are going to cattle ranchers in southeast Colorado, who were hammered by late December snows.

"Right now our big role is trying to locate people that have hay, whether it's hay for sale, donating, anything like that,” said Traci Eatherton, a spokesperson for the C-C-A.

Eatherton says the association's post blizzard task is linking sellers with buyers, regardless of location, or kind of animal on the property.

"I have not got that feeling at all, that, that there's anybody going, "Hey, what about us?" said Eatherton.

To complicate things, a hay shortage is driving prices for available stocks up, making the necessary winter feeding an expensive prospect.

Owners like Gary have to find the feed, or thin their herd: a loss of investment on larger ranches and what could be the end of Gary's retirement plan.

"I'm trying to hold out as long as I can," Gary said.

Gary hopes he can keep his herd fed until spring, when he expects some of his animals will have calves, which he can sell and stay afloat.

The CCA is planning a benefit concert for southeast farmers in March.

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