Southern Plains Bison Pointers Sept 2018

How Do ‘They’ Look? There is a term in animal husbandry called ‘an eye’ or the ‘eye of the stockman’ in farming and ranching. The term simply refers to changes, or judgments of herd and animal health that are visible. I help many different types of folks from a wide range of backgrounds with their bison herds. I often ask, when questioned on a management calendar item, “How do they look?”  This is always part of the equation when taking care of any animal, but especially in the fall when caring for Bison.  They should be building up body condition … Read more

Southern Plains Bison Pointers May 2018

  Stress management is the biggest issue for bison in the southern plains during the summer. It looks green and lush, but as the temperature rises and the ‘dog-days’ approach, we need to be mindful of the stressors that impact our shaggy guests. Heat stress can be self-managed by the bison if they have natural features available to cool. This is especially important for newborn calves. If the ambient temperature is 100 degrees, the ground surface can be much hotter. Dirt tanks, mud and shade will be good natural features for ‘cooling stations’. I have found in regions with high … Read more

Catalina Island Bison

Oh, the mystery since 1924!! Mysterious Catalina Island Bison herd was formed from Yellowstone National Park Bison in 1924 Until I have proof that says otherwise, I think the original bison came from Yellowstone Park, after the filming of ‘The Thundering Herd.” If DNA testing is correct today, (meaning advancements are being made) it should tell us whether or not the cattle genes in the present herd came from Texas or not. The Sherwin Ranch of Colorado who sent bison there in 1934, previously tried crossing them with cattle.  A few years ago I searched into the now Catalina Island Conservancy … Read more

Southern Plains Bison Pointers March 2018

Get Ready – Get Set – Stop! Bison are unique in that they are tended-wildlife in production models that require some management (and) they require some, ‘being left alone’. Some herds in the southern plains are still engaged in herd-works for good reason, but it’s time to wrap things up and give them the benefit of our absence for the calving season. One of the reasons for working this late is a clean spring green-up with regard to pasture deposits of internal parasite L3 Larvae. A good clean up this time of year can get your herd off to a … Read more

Southern Plains Bison Pointers Dec 2017

Funky Fall = Management Curve Ball The southern plains can be lush and green this time of year for those that get busy in the fall with planting winter feed and providing a normally very happy November for their herds. I always say that the buffalo in the Dakotas surely must pace the fence this time of year and ask, ‘how are we supposed to get to Texas?’ Not this year! We missed all the rain with timing to yield winter grazing, and when it finally came – too late – the daylight hours were wrong for causing germination.  So … Read more

Southern Plains Bison Pointers Nov 2017

What ‘the heck’ happening Out There! This is a normal question in the southern plains this time of year. Everything has been so green and the bison living has been easy all summer long. All at once the rain stopped, and just in time to stop the growth of planted winter feed and/or native cool season plants. The other factor in many southern plains operations is the exotic grasses (warm season) like Coastal Bermuda, which once brown goes completely ineffective as nutrition. So – what (is) going on out there? As I wrote in my last blog,  this is the time of … Read more

Southern Plains Bison Pointers Oct 2017

Southern Plains Bison Pointers Oct 2017 Bizy-bizy-bizy! November is fast and busy with the business of planning for winter, marketing, and herd health management strategies. If you missed the fall planting season in the southern plains, you will need to plan for hay and other nutritional supplementation for bison herds. If you (did) plant during the fall ‘dust-in’ season – you’re probably either waiting for a rain or re-planting because of armyworms. It’s nature and there are no victims, only outcomes – and no ‘crying’ in baseball. That being said, and painfully true, the more native habitats are likely emerging for … Read more

Southern Plains Bison Pointers Aug 2017

2017 has dealt us an interesting August.  We’ve seen rain and relatively cooler ‘dawg-day’ temperatures intermittently. The grass is jumping, and out-running the herds, and the livin’ is easy. This has also made for an interesting southern plains summer in other regards. The plant community has become atypical. So you might be asking at this point; can’t this guy ever ‘just be happy?’ and I would agree with that reaction while laughing with you, and/but! It is the charge of a habitat/ ranch/ farm manager for bison to look (and) see. Keep in mind that many times, and in conflict … Read more

Southern Plains Bison Pointers July 2017

The ‘Dawg-Days’ and ‘Hands Off Help’… Well, it ain’t very cold out there, and this time of year is always the hardest for Texas & Southern Plains Bison. Our charge as humans is to plan accordingly and provide the bison with the ability to be resilient and get through all the aspects of their doin’s, and ours, alive and well. Planning sounds easy when you’re sitting around talking about how to get an honest day’s work from one end to the other, but it is always hard to feel what the day may become until you’re smack-dab in the middle … Read more

Southern Plains Bison Pointers-June2017

The heat lamp is on which means everything changes for our herds. One of the things that changes is decisions we make about animal-ops and how we consider their well being affected by the ambient temperature.  When the heat rises so does stress, and that leads to additional ‘weakness’, or reduced resilience. This means we do as little ‘with them’ as possible that involves handling, or creating any hardship cycles in the habitat. It’s Texas and the Southern Plains and there is no relief, even in the evening. This can be the reason for late born calves which were conceived … Read more