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How Colorado ranchers prepare for a blizzard

It's nothing the ranchers haven't seen before, but they said it could pose a real danger to their cattle.

FORT MORGAN, Colo. — When blizzard warnings hit the Eastern Plains, ranchers like Matt Kalous know what to do. Every big snowstorm could pose a risk to his cattle.

"It’s not something you start preparing for the day before," he said. "It’s something you start planning for and making preparations for a week before."

Even with the snow and forecasted 60-mile-per-hour winds, his routine won't change on Tuesday. His cattle need him -- blizzard or not.

"The cattle have to be fed. Water has to be checked," he said. "The ice in the tanks has to be chopped and it has to be pitched. Everything has to be done. It doesn't matter how bad the weather is, I still have to go out and do it."

Kalous grew up ranching on his father's farm down the road, so he knows what to do. He spent the past week draining hoses so they don't freeze, cleaning out water tanks and making sure the animals had enough water. 

He said he brought both the cattle and feed closer to his house so he can get to them easier if he's snowed in. 

"I specifically held off late grazing on some of these close pastures so I could have the ability to have these cows on these close pastures when the weather gets bad and have them up closer to the house so I can get to them better," Kalous said.

Still, he said he was going to go to bed Monday night hoping he remembered to do everything -- and wondering what might go wrong. 

"A bad storm could put me out of business potentially," he said. 

So Tuesday, like every other day, Kalous will rise when the sun does and start caring for his cows. The only perk of the snow is that his three kids might be out there with him.

"Snow days aren't the same for farm kids as they are for town kids," he said with a laugh. "They don't get a good snow day. They get to come to work on snow days. They get to help their dad."

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Colorado Climate

Credit: Diane - stock.adobe.com


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