A weekly blog for all things conservation
By: Kevin Brown, Agricultural Resource Specialist, Bradford County Conservation District
Most animal owners that I know of have animals for one reason. “They enjoy them”. Plain and simple. No matter the species, people love their animals and caring for them brings great comfort. Had a bad day at work, go visit your animals. Been cooped in for 6 months because of COVID (Yep, I just did that. Can’t have a conversation without anymore), go visit your animals. They just make you feel better. It is relaxing and uncomplicated. We hear about “comfort pets” all the time on TV. They just have that effect. Now, because they make us feel so much better, and we love them so much, doesn’t it make sense to do what is right for them? Shouldn’t we show them a little gratitude? How do I propose you do that? I am sure there are the common ways that you are thinking (petting, treats/grain, riding them, etc.). Let me bring up an area that one probably never thinks of - their surroundings. Their day-to-day life. Bear with me and let me explain.
Next week I would like you to spend a week in their shoes. Or better yet, without shoes since they don’t have any. Let’s see how comfortable they really are. Even when people grow them for production, comfort yields better daily gain. Either way, we should want them comfortable. So, first we are going to go out and lay down with them in their nice, beautiful pasture. Is it? Are we laying on bare ground with rocks and rough edges from footprints all around, or lush, green pasture? Next, we must get up and go take a drink. Let’s wander on down to the local stream to get a drink (without any shoes, right?). What are we walking on? Is it comfortable? As we approach the stream area, it gets wet and muddy and there is muck everywhere. As we slog through, we sink down into the ground 3-4” suddenly hitting a stone sticking up and bam, stone bruise. That felt good, didn’t it? And it is a lot harder walking through all that mud than it is good, dry ground, right? And what is waiting for us at the end of our trail but good, fresh, wholesome water. Right? There is nothing around this stream to make it any different. No places around for it to be contaminated with anything. This is the stream you would have picked to drink from when you were a kid (we could do things like that back then). What other creatures like the water where you are? Probably flies and mosquitoes. Anything living needs water. You have to keep from being attacked by them while getting that good glass of water. Now I’m hungry. Do I get to go to one small location and get enough to hold me over, or do I need to cover the entire area to look for a couple sprigs of grass? I am LIVING THE DREAM- not!
Now instead, how about nice, lush, soft pasture to lay and walk on with hay in abundance. What if I had a waterer with good, clean, reasonably bug free water? Sounds a lot better to me. Remember, these are the animals that you love. Love them back.
Now, how do you get there? We have discussed fencing and watering in the last few weeks. It all sounds good, but who has the money to make this a reality? It just so happens that there are at least five grant sources right now that I can come up with to help this situation out. I am running out of room this week to get into it very far, but these programs could have you paying for only a fraction of the entire cost. Maybe no cost in certain situations, but most will cost you at least something. I will get into that more next week. In the meantime, go spend a whole day, or week, with your animals. Eat with them, lay down with them, go get a drink with them. Let me know how you make out.
The Bradford County Conservation District is committed to helping people manage resources wisely. You can visit the Bradford County Conservation District at 200 Lake Rd in Wysox across from the Wysox Fire Hall. Contact us at (570) 485-3144 or visit our web page at www.bccdpa.com.
Various staff at the Bradford County Conservation District