Nebraska Soybean Board Blog RSS
April 27, 2011
The Varying Degrees of Comfort
By: Joan Ruskamp
We recently purchased a sleep number bed. This allows my husband and me to choose how firm we want the side of the bed we sleep on to be. What amazes me is how hard the bed feels when it is at 100 versus where I like it-around 30. How can anyone be comfortable with a sleep number like 90, 95 or 100? This made me think about how many people define comfort according to how it would feel to them.
When it comes to taking care of cattle I have learned a lot. Cattle are amazing animals in that they adapt to weather conditions very quickly and really only expect a couple of things-feed and water and a place to lay down. I have seen cattle in snowstorms, rain, mud, heat, cold, sunny days and cloudy days. It never ceases to amaze me that even when we put bedding out the cattle will still choose to lie where it is muddy. It can be so cold and even snowing and the cattle will be playing around and looking like they think it is a nice day.
I have heard many comments from people who don’t raise livestock about having cattle outside in the elements. Most of the comments go something like this “Gee, I wouldn’t be comfortable out in the rain or snow so they must not be either”. It is so important to remember that human comfort and animal comfort is not an equal sign. Animals were created to handle living outside. It would be wise to recognize the difference and focus on good stewardship. As good cattle feeders we do all we can to provide relief from extreme weather conditions by building windbreaks, utilizing bedding, maintaining the pens, providing sprinklers in the heat and so on.
Now we are going through a rainy spell and that means mud. I don’t enjoy walking in the mud to check the cattle. I wouldn’t enjoy sleeping in the mud either. What I see, though, is cattle coming up to eat, walking around a little and then laying down just like they do on a dry, sunny day. Are they content? It appears so!