Worse out west
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1998:
9,600 cattle and sheep died of cold and starvation
in deep snow that hit southeastern
New Mexico during late December and
early January, with the toll expected to soar
when spring enables ranchers to more accurately
count the victims.
The New Mexico Cattle Growers
Association predicted that 35,000 cattle and
60,000 sheep were at dire risk.
Some were saved when seven Air
National Guard C-130 cargo planes from
Texas, Oklahoma, and Wyoming airdropped
at least 465 tons of feed.
But the inability of drift-bound
livestock to find food and water was only
part of the problem. Western ranchers
aren’t used to having to round up animals in
mid-winter, nor do most have enough barn
space for more than a fraction of their stock.
The heaviest losses reportedly
came at the B23 Cattle Company near
Dexter, New Mexico, where Rick and
Ellen Robey crate-rear calves, using methods
similar to those of vealers, for sale to
dairy farmers as replacement milkers. The
Robeys drove the calves together for
warmth, but 3,000 of the 15,000 on the
premises died just before Christmas, as
more snow fell on December 21 alone than
the region normally gets in a year.