East Texas Rancher Loses 20 Cows - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/27/06-Smith County

East Texas Rancher Loses 20 Cows

Most East Texas farmers and ranchers have been waiting for the recent rain, and are happy with what it means for their crops and animals.  For one East Texas rancher, however, it meant the death of a whole herd of his cows. 

With the recent drought eating away at pastures and water supply, the last thing Ranchers want is this for their cows to die from bloating.  One East Texas rancher, who did not want his identiy released, calls what happened a $40,000 mistake. He says the cows were eating newly planted grass, which came in earlier than he thought it would.   Cattle rancher and veterinarian Dwayne Collins says cows can not handle a drastic change in their diet.

"It's feed related," said Dr. Dwayne Collins, Edom Veterinary Clinic. "Put a cow on a green lush field when they're not used to it. They essentially over eat, form a lot of gas." Because of the drought, cows have mainly been eating hay. With a hay shortage, Collins says ranchers may want to cut back and rely on their winter pastures, but remember do it gradually.

"On your winter pastures you want to be cautious about throwing them on a lush winter pasture without introducing them to it in short intervals," said Collins. "They need fiber. They really need fiber, so you have to have that fiber in front of them. I like to make sure they have enough fiber from hay in them as you introduce them to your winter pasture." The rancher who lost his cows admits, he should have watched his pastures more closely and have hay available. He says he hopes others can learn from his mistake.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com


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