The hazards of living on a farm can be far more complicated than people realize. We have had a great southern winter here in Australia. The farmer in the house loves rain, our rain water tanks are over flowing, they have not been full for over 3 years, we have no mains water here our farm-house is dependent on rain water. The ground has been hard from years of sunshine, yet this winter it has rained and it rained and it rained.
As a city girl one does not think rain and green grass can do any harm, it is not until you live in the country or know someone from the country that you find out, rain = grass and then bloat. Bloat for the cattle is never good, it extends their 4th stomach and can blow up until it kills them and you literally find the cattle lying on their backs with feet pointed to the sky, a distressing sign. Too much green grass can cause this, cattle like people need roughage or fibre to assist with digestion.
The farmer here checks the cattle daily during this time and we feed out hay so that they have variety in their diets. Should he find something with bloat it gets treated immediately, there are food supplements on the market and magnesium blocks that can be placed where the cattle can lick them or if you discover it too late then the only relief is to puncture the hide and stomach with a small trocar and it sounds just like letting a tyre down. The puncture is so small that it closes immediately after you remove the trocar and the cattle don’t even know they have had it done.
So with sunshine comes the growth of the naturally occurring grasses and Lucerne on the property and this provides them with all the fresh food sources they require to thrive. In Australia we are one week away from spring so we are looking forward to some warmth for the ground and for ourselves.
Here is a picture taken yesterday 25/8/2013 and you can see we are green but very hazy due to light rain, these are some of our steers and they are starting to look really great, you can see by their feet it’s very muddy.