Teaching Cattle to Graze Through Snow

Tom Krawiec, one of our On Pasture authors, wrote me this morning from northern Alberta, Canada to say that he's already had to wear a touque two mornings in the last ten days. That means that, even though it's only the second week of September, it's time for us all to be thinking about fall and winter feeding for our livestock. And if you've stockpiled forage, or plan to graze windrows or crop residue, you might be thinking about what happens when snow inevitably covers that feed. Do You Have Einsteins in Your Herd? On a cold, windy, winter day in mid-January, 2017, Tom Krawiec watched his mob of cattle graze in pasture. As he describes in the video he took, they were doing something he hadn't seen before. They bunched up and walked through the paddock together to break up the hard packed snow. Then, using their noses, individual cows did the "push and sweep" - pushing a chunk of snow out of the way, and sweeping aside the loose snow to get to the grass. https://youtu.be/8UVZOYtIohI Where did they learn to do this? He had no idea, but, as Fred Provenza told him, "It only takes one Einstein in the group." Cultivating Einstein's in Your Herd It's hard to tell by looking at a group of cows, goats, or sheep if there is a genius in the crowd. But there are ways to work with them to encourage learning

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