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 of it. Personally; I strive to leave a plan B in place, and extra time, just in case ‘my plan’ for the day runs through the alphabet from A to Z with curve balls and/or unforeseen circumstance such as – it’s getting too damn hot… Transportation is one of these plans that should be considered with care and regard for the animals’ well being. Heat stress can be deadly, costly, and most of all – an unfairly impossible circumstance for the bison to survive unless you plan for the heat. Sometimes you just have to ship, for one reason or another, but loads should be looser, or hauled at night in regions that actually cool off at night, or planned for early morning when the animals are strong. Some populations do not have to be shipped, or worked, and the wisest move is to wait till fall.
Also be looking around and seeing when you look. Are the bison healthy? Are the little ones able to drink water? Is your operation, and their habitat, providing them the ability to be resilient? Each operation is different, each herd is different, and it always pays off to go out and sit with the herd and watch what’s ‘actually’ going on in their world.
Speaking of providing for the bison’s ability to be resilient, this time of year can be extremely critical with regard to internal parasite load management. It is also the most critical time of year to take deep looks at the facts. This (can) be more urgent and critical in the Southern Plains during the dawg-days… The facts include: what’s going on ‘in there’ and there are ways for you to find out. Taking fecal samples and learning not only the EPG’s (Eggs Per Gram) but the species of worms impacting your herd is vital to creating a knowledge base and defense strategy in the war on worms in Bison. Creating this program will result in your own Parisitology (the study of parasitic organisms) program that is specific to your herd and ranch / farm/ habitat, which is a biotic system that includes parasites.