The Scoop View All →

On Pasture and the Yule Book Flood

By   5 days ago

Jolabokaflod – In Iceland that’s the word for this time of year. Translated directly, it means “Yule Book Flood.” It’s a celebration of both the Holiday season and the Icelandic passion for books. It begins with every family in the country getting the annual catalog of the year’s new books in the mail to help […]

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How Babba Louie Taught Me To Think Creatively About Predators

By   2 weeks ago

In the late ’90s, as part of my research project on the logistics and effectiveness of using goats to graze firebreaks, I got a guard donkey. Babba Louie was a stallion from the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro program. We gelded him, gentled him, and then penned him with my 50 wethers […]

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Stresses Affecting Graziers and How to Deal With Them – Kathy’s on a Podcast!

By   3 weeks ago

This week, I’m featured in the latest episode of Ag State of Mind. This podcast examines the stresses affecting farmers and ranchers and how to alleviate them and improve producers’ lives. In our wide-ranging discussion, host Jason Medows and I talk about everything from the ways On Pasture supports producers by providing information that can […]

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Get the Fencing and Watering System That’s Right for You

By   4 weeks ago

I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to understand grazier’s problems and then provides solutions that make sense. That’s why I’m really pleased to introduce American Grazinglands Services as our newest sponsor. You may already be familiar with the educational arm of American Grazinglands, Jim Gerrish. Jim has spent decades helping farmers and ranchers […]

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Winter is Coming – What to Do When You’re Stuck Inside

By   1 month ago

Looking at National Weather Service maps, I see that, for many of you, winter isn’t just coming. This week it arrives! Another shot of cold air arrives across the Northern Plains Sunday. After diving into the southern Plains Monday, it moves east Tuesday into Wednesday. Temperatures will average 15 to 25 degrees below normal over […]

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Important November Deadlines for Graziers

By   1 month ago

Here’s a heads up on some important dates for agriculture-related internships, insuring your operation against forage losses due to lack of rainfall, or commenting on changes to Conservation Standards that could impact funding for your operation. OneUSDA Internships DEADLINE: November 15, 2019 The OneUSDA Internship Program is for students interested in careers in agriculture, natural […]

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Transferring Skills and Experience to the Next Generation

By   2 months ago

Please join me in welcoming a new On Pasture sponsor! Wally Olson has been in ranching and the livestock business his whole life, doing everything from hauling hay and cleaning stalls to being the ranch manager and owner/operator. Since the mid-’80s, he’s been on the Kelley Ranch in Vinita, Oklahoma. He began as a manager, […]

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Adjust Your Expectations For More Success – Lessons From a Cat

By   2 months ago

This is Molly. I’ve written about how she reminds me to leave my desk and take walks so I’ll be healthier, and how she taught me about how to ask for help so that I get what I want. She’s also taught me a lot about how expectations color what you get from the people […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Use Your Phone to Check Livestock Water and Pastures

    By   5 days ago

    This idea comes to us from the Beef Cattle Research Council of Canada. They’re sharing ideas from producers about how they improve the efficiency of their operations. Travis Peardon of Outlook, Saskatchewan likes to keep an eye on summer and winter watering systems as well as farmyard activities even when he might be some distance […]

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    Some Dos and Don’ts of Setting Up a Grazing Operation

    By   5 days ago

    I want to discuss the steps that we focus on when designing a new grazing operation on a new farm, starting with this saying: “If you have a lot of money, act like you don’t.” (If you don’t have a bunch of money ignore this.) The point is, being successful in a previous career is […]

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    Can You Please Manage, Pretty Please?! A Grazing Advocate’s Plea

    By   2 weeks ago

    It finally happened; a scream so loud, it echoed throughout the over-grazed hills and valleys of Central New York. Poised on a grassy knoll in “Braveheart” fashion, the Grass Whisperer yells out M-A-N-A-G-E. . . Call it a grazier’s meltdown, or a public service life purge; the agency-sponsored grazing professional and farmer who vehemently tries […]

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    What in Tar(weed)nation?! Part 2 – The Nature of Your Enemy and the Nature of Nature

    By   3 weeks ago

    Last week, I wrote about how tarweed showed up on my ranch a few years back, and how the management that had worked so well in the past seemed to fail me. In the end, I realized I needed to know more about my opponent. So here’s what I learned. I hope you’ll use it […]

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    What in Tar(weed)nation?! An Example of Working With Nature to “Beat” Weeds

    By   4 weeks ago

    When it comes to weeds, I’m beginning to think that over the past few decades I’ve fallen into a bit of a rut – maybe even become a bit dogmatic. When someone asks me about weed issues, I typically respond with a short homily along the lines of, “Well, if you are seeing more weeds, […]

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    Don’t Burn Down the Barn or Make Your Stock Sick – What to Do With Wet/Moldy Hay

    By   1 month ago

    In many parts of the country, this year’s weather was not particularly friendly for putting up hay. With lots of rain throughout the summer, you may have hay that is wetter than usual and that means  an increased risk of fires from spontaneous hay bale combustion. In this 5:19 video, Simon Whistler explains why wet […]

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    You Don’t Have to Practice Yoga to Be a Flexible Grazier!

    By   1 month ago

    In most livestock operations, the largest expense is winter feed. As a grazier, it has been my goal to plan a grazing rotation so there is high quality, high volume forage available in the fall and winter. This fall has tested my flexibility once again and has once again shown me the importance of having […]

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    Grazing Principles at Work, Part 1 – Management Intensive Grazing in an Arid Environment

    By   2 months ago

    Successful grazing management grows out of an understanding of some basic principles, like how plants grow, and how soil conditions, weather, and climate alter plants’ rate of growth and recovery after grazing. That means management intensive grazing/adaptive managed grazing/mob grazing is different for folks working in areas with 48 inches of precipitation vs those with […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Soil Health Principles Part 5 – Diversity is Key

      By   5 days ago

      In the fifth part of our series on soil health principles, Buz Kloot focuses on the benefits of diversity for improving soil health. In his examples of a garden and two different row crop farmers, he demonstrates how growing a variety of cash crops, and a planting a diverse cover crop mix, can improve soil […]

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      Soil Health Principles Part 4 – Keep Live Roots in the Soil

      By   2 weeks ago

      In this, the fourth in our series on soil health principles, Buz Kloot talks about how, through photosynthesis, plants create carbon-based sugars, a sizeable portion of which is transferred into the soil via the plant’s roots. There, it feeds the 1-2 tons of soil microbes living in the soil. In return, as they process the […]

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      Soil Health Principles Part 3 – Keep the Soil Covered

      By   3 weeks ago

      This is the third in our series on soil health principles as presented by Buz Kloot, film maker and Research Associate Professor at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. We’re interested in principles because they provide the foundation for the decisions we make […]

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      Soil Health Principles Part 2 – Minimize Disturbance

      By   4 weeks ago

      Since 2013, Buz Kloot, film maker and Research Associate Professor at the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, has been working with the Natural Resources Conservation Service to explore and share the important role soil plays in our lives. The result is three seasons of short videos covering science and practical management […]

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      Soil Health Principles Part 1 – The Nature and Properties of Soils

      By   1 month ago

      In the fall of 2013, film maker Robin “Buz” Kloot, teamed up with the Natural Resources Conservation Service on a project to share the important role soil plays in all our lives. He began with a cross-country trek to interview some of the nation’s leading researchers and experts on soil health. Over the next three […]

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      Bale Grazing to Feed the Herds Above and Below Ground

      By   1 month ago

      Thanks to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service staff in Montana for this helpful article! The last thing most people think about when they see a field full of grazing cattle is what is going on underneath those hooves. Producer Kalyn Bohle has given it some thought. Bohle has land six miles southwest of Plevna, […]

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      Can Cattle Help With Seeding?

      By   2 months ago

      Readers have asked if cattle can be used for seeding pastures, or if there are examples of others that have done this. This article from Canada’s Beef Cattle Research Council has some good answers. Cattle can be managed to produce calves, beef and milk, but can they also be put to work re-seeding pastures? As […]

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      New Discovery on the Mechanics of Keeping Carbon in the Soil and What It Means For Your Pastures

      By   2 months ago

      Imagine you’re a carbon molecule floating in the atmosphere and your mission is to get from there into the soil and stay there for decades. Your first step – slip into a plant through an open stoma.   Inside the plant you go through your first transformation: photosynthesis. You’re combined with water (H20) and photons […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Seaweed Can Reduce Methane From Cows, But….

        By   5 days ago

        By now, you’ve probably heard the news that supplementing cattle with seaweed could reduce methane belched by livestock. In fact, researchers in Australia and the U.S. have found that feeding as little as .5% “Asparagopsis taxiformis, a red seaweed that grows in the tropics, can decrease methane emissions by 80 percent or more. But there […]

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        Flashing Night Lights Can Protect Livestock from Predators

        By   2 weeks ago

        Back in March of 2015, On Pasture published an article about Richard Turere, a 11-year-old Masai boy from Kenya, who invented a way to keep lions from nearby Nairobi National Park from attacking his village’s cattle. Using an old battery, a broken flashlight, an signal light switch from a motorcycle and a solar panel, he […]

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        Production Systems for Pasture-Finished Beef – Part 1

        By   3 weeks ago

        As Greg Halich writes in his introduction to the Producer’s Guide to Pasture-Based Beef Finishing, “Bringing animals to a finishing weight on pasture in a reasonable time frame is no easy task, and requires a fundamental understanding of how beef cattle mature as well as understanding the capabilities and limitations of various forages.” In the […]

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        Why Grass Finished Beef Marbling Is Difficult

        By   4 weeks ago

        Thanks to Seth Christensen of Christensen Genetics for helping make this article possible. Brad Johnson, an expert on skeletal and muscle growth in cattle, and his colleague Stephen Smith, may have found one of the reasons that it’s more difficult to get marbling in grass finished beef. It’s a result of the kind of energy […]

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        Replacement Heifers – The Ins and Outs of Costs and Managing Them for Success

        By   1 month ago

        This article, from the Beef Cattle Research Council of Canada, summarizes a recent webinar on the economics of replacement heifers and how to manage replacement heifers to give them the best chance of succeeding in our herds. You can see the entire webinar here. If you don’t have an hour to spare, this article also […]

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        Are High Milk Producing Beef Cows a Good Investment?

        By   1 month ago

        This article comes to us from Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist, Range Production Systems. Thanks, Travis! Listen to a discussion of the content in this article on this episode of the BeefWatch podcast. Subscribe to new episodes in iTunes or paste http://feeds.feedburner.com/unlbeefwatch into your podcast app.   In an effort to increase beef production, […]

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        When Is a Pasture-Raised Beef Cow/Steer “Finished?”

        By   2 months ago

        A guide on pasture-based beef finishing published by the University of Kentucky covers the challenges producers might face, from growing suitable pasture to bringing animals to a finished weight, to working with a processor, and finally, most importantly, finding customers. In this excerpt, Greg Halich, Jeff Lehmkuhler, Ray Smith and Fred Martz show how to […]

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        What Happens to Pregnancy Rates and Calf Survival With Changes in Calving Season?

        By   2 months ago

        A four year study of ranchers in Western Canada indicates that shifting from winter calving to spring calving increases cow pregnancy rates and calf survival. Due to market pressures, Canada’s cow-calf sector has consolidated into fewer, larger herds and producers have begun calving later, and in pasture, to avoid increases in labor, equipment and facilities […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Some Dos and Don’ts of Setting Up a Grazing Operation

          By   5 days ago

          I want to discuss the steps that we focus on when designing a new grazing operation on a new farm, starting with this saying: “If you have a lot of money, act like you don’t.” (If you don’t have a bunch of money ignore this.) The point is, being successful in a previous career is […]

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          Mushroom Foraging – A Pasture Walk and Community Building Opportunity

          By   3 weeks ago

            I’ve hosted or participated in pasture walks that feature ice-cream churning, soil health measuring, grassland bird watching, winter grazing techniques, dung beetle counting, stockpiling strategies, land listening, cattle judging and predicting forage production.  They’re all hooks to get folks to attend and focus on learning another aspect of pasturing.  I would suggest adding another […]

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          Welcome to Wally Olson’s Pity Party

          By   1 month ago

          Wally Olson is an On Pasture sponsor who wants to help readers make more money marketing their livestock. Here he provides an example of how that works for him. A couple of years ago, I sold 95 bred, fall calving cows in Joplin, Missouri on August 1. That same morning I delivered the weaned calves […]

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          How Does the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers Get Started?

          By   2 months ago

          Don shares this piece as an opening to a conversation. It’s an important one to have. Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas and suggestions in the comments below. What Do Y’all Think? Donnie, our son, comes by to visit and check on the old people on Tuesday evening and Saturday morning. Last week he was […]

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          Why Selling on Social Media No Longer Works (and What Does)

          By   2 months ago

          We introduced Charlotte Smith’s new podcast back in June. Today, we want to share one of her latest episodes because it answers many of the questions farmers have about how to find customers and get the word out about their products. Enjoy! The social landscape of Facebook and Instagram have drastically changed in the past […]

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          Tips for Evaluating Property for Raising Cattle

          By   2 months ago

          This article comes to us from the Noble Research Institute’s Robert Wells, PhD., Livestock Consultant, and Rob Cook, Planned Consultation Manager and Pasture and Range Consultant. When buying land for cattle production, there are some unique characteristics to consider before signing a contract. These characteristics include: stocking rate, forage quality and type, soil type and […]

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          Is There a Way to Maximize the Value of Your Cull Cows?

          By   3 months ago

          Cull cows – every operation has them. They’re the cows that are not pregnant at weaning time. The typical strategy for many spring-calving cow-calf operations is to cull and sell these cows immediately in the fall. The problem is that they’re generally in poor condition and are head to market at a time of year […]

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          Soil Health Isn’t Free – Incorporating Livestock Can Reduce Economic Risk

          By   3 months ago

          Keeping soils covered is one of the keys to soil health, and cover crops are often promoted as a good way to prevent erosion while also adding nutrients to the soil. But cover crop seeding isn’t free. What can we do to mitigate the economic risk involved? That’s what Doug Sieck talks about with Buz […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Tips for Stockpile Grazing Timing, Fencing and Pasture Size

            By   5 days ago

            From December of 2016, here are tips on pasture size, fencing equipment and more, to help with successful stockpile grazing. When to Start If possible and practical, it is best to not start grazing stockpiled forage until it goes dormant. Until it goes dormant, every time that solar panel of leaves is removed, the plant […]

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            How Nutritious is Your Annual and Stockpiled Forage?

            By   2 weeks ago

            From December of 2016, here’s some input on what you can expect from your stockpiled forage. Grazing your herd through the winter on standing forages in pasture is one way to reduce costs and improve your bottom line. It avoids the expense of baling, moving feed and then feeding. But is the feed giving your […]

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            In Times of Change, Be One of the Learners Who Will Survive

            By   3 weeks ago

            This is the season when we tend to reflect on where we are and where we want to go. I hope these thoughts from Don Ashford and November of 2015 are helpful to you. This is a quote from Eric Hoffer who was known as the longshoreman philosopher. Mr. Hoffer has been dead since 1983 […]

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            How to Mob Graze With Chickens

            By   4 weeks ago

            Mob grazing is basically putting lots of animals on a small area and then moving them from place to place so that they get fed, and the trampled forage and manure and urine they leave behind feeds the soil. It’s easy to imagine with cows, and sheep, and maybe even goats? But chickens? This is […]

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            Answers to Reader Alfalfa-Related Questions – Fall Nutrition, Varieties, and Reseeding

            By   1 month ago

            From November of 2017, here’s an article answering alfalfa-related reader questions. The answers come to us from Genevieve Slocum and David Hunsberger of King’s Agriseeds. Question: My cows and calves have been on a pasture for about a week with approx. 50% grass 50% alfalfa it has dried down on the stem and we have […]

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            Help for Figuring Feed Costs, Cow-Calf Share Lease Rates And More

            By   1 month ago

            From November of 2018, here’s some info we can always use! One of the reasons some of us don’t track our costs well, or we find out too late that something we’re doing is more expensive than we anticipated, is that math is hard! The folks at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s West Central Research and […]

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            Shelter and Bedding for Cattle Grazing in Winter

            By   2 months ago

            If you’re thinking about leaving your cattle out to graze this winter, you might be wondering what kind of shelter they’ll need to protect them from the cold, wind and snow. You have a lot of options, as the ranchers in this 5:00 minute video from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry demonstrate. Some ranchers have found […]

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            Inbreeding and Line-breeding Definitions and Uses

            By   2 months ago

            This article has grown to be one of On Pasture’s most read since we first ran it in October of 2014. While inbreeding is a form of line-breeding and the two are related, no pun intended, they are different. According to Jim Lents, owner of the Anxiety 4th line of horned Hereford cattle in Oklahoma, […]

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              Consider This View All →

              Making a Go of It – This is How We Do It

              By   2 weeks ago

              There seems to be a real interest of late in the opportunities for young people to get started in livestock agriculture. The question that I would ask anyone young, or not so young, who has a dream of being in the cow business, where are you trying to go and how do you plan to […]

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              Grasslands May Adjust More Quickly to Warmer Winters

              By   4 weeks ago

              From the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, here’s some insight into what happens to carbon uptake by grasslands and forests as our climate continues to warm. As climate changes, Northeast winters are warming more rapidly than other times of the year. While this may mean favorable growing conditions start earlier […]

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              Quitting the Ranch – A Tragic Account of Failure in Succession

              By   1 month ago

              A young friend of mine died the other day. To be honest, “died” doesn’t seem like quite the right word, probably because it’s not. On a beautiful fall day, my friend Donny picked up a gun and killed himself. Rest in peace, Donny. When it comes to situations like this, it seems we like to […]

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              Flannel Shirts and Pumpkin Spice Dreams

              By   2 months ago

              Here’s an ode to the winter fabric of farm and ranch life as a sign of the change of seasons.

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              Death to Fire Ants

              By   2 months ago

              USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists latest discovery—a new virus found in fire ants from Argentina—has the potential for becoming a biological control agent against the red imported fire ants infesting the United States. The Red Imported Fire Ant (RIFA) arrived in the United States in the 1930s, likely in ballast in cargo ships docking […]

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              Your Pastures Would Make Great Solar Farms

              By   3 months ago

              A recent Oregon State University study found that the top three land covers with the greatest solar power producing potential are croplands, grasslands and wetlands. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, says that if less than 1% of agricultural land was converted to solar panels, it would be sufficient to fulfill global electric […]

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              We Know Honey Bees Are Dying, But Where Are They Doing Well?

              By   3 months ago

              Noah Wilson-Rich starts his June 2018 Ted Talk with some startling statistics: in 2017 we lost 40% of our beehives in the United States, and in places with harsher climates that number was even higher. For example, in Massachusetts we lost 47% of our beehives. “Can you imagine if we lost half or our people […]

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              The Sex Life of the Screwworm Fly: How an Odd-Sounding Study Saved Ranchers Billions

              By   4 months ago

              The screwworm is a horrible livestock pest that most of us have never heard of thanks to the work of two scientists.

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                The Funnies View All →

                Snowman vs Rabbit

                By   5 days ago

                Please notify authorities if you’ve seen this rabbit!

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                What Do a Comic Book Villain, a Mountain Lion and a Toddler Have in Common?

                By   2 weeks ago

                They overlap a lot more than you may have thought! Thanks to TheDad.com for this! Head over to the website for more great Dad jokes.

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                Looking for A Big Turkey?

                By   3 weeks ago

                When you’re picking out your turkey, this is something you should keep in mind. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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                The Best Squirrel Feeder

                By   4 weeks ago

                Lots of folks try to keep squirrels out of their bird feeders. But here’s another approach. Give them their own feeder and laugh and laugh! ……. As we head into the Holiday season, you may be already thinking about folks on your gift list. Here’s a gift that will make them smile all year long, […]

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                Cowboy Lassos Bike Thief

                By   1 month ago

                A cowboy rode his horse to Walmart the other day. Here’s what happened next…  

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                Which is which?

                By   1 month ago

                I know I’ve struggled to tell the difference! Finally an answer! Click here for a more scientific answer.

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                Happy Halloween!

                By   2 months ago

                Here’s what witches everywhere are asking.

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                Pumpkin Spice Taken Too Far

                By   2 months ago

                All of these things actually exist – even though they probably shouldn’t.

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