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  • Writer's pictureCheri Marks

Changing of the Seasons

We're closing in on the end of October, and as per usual, it sure went by fast! In Oklahoma, we have 4ish seasons, perhaps not as defined as states like Virginia and others north of us, but, there is a change for each season here. What does a changing of the season from summer to fall, look like for the animals that make their home here? I've noticed the past month, all the horses and donkeys coats have become thicker. The cooler nights are helping to trigger their internal switch telling them cold is coming. Another change is, the pastures are slowly turning to the dormant shade of light brown. Since the large horses, and donkeys graze all summer, part of their food source must be replaced now with hay, so today, the first 2 round bales of the season were put out in the pasture. The Little's, Charlie and Lucy, get hay year round and their graze time is very limited, so they don't have a lot of change in their food at this point. The horses and donkeys get grain year round, but again, during the summer months of good grass to graze, the amount of grain they get in the morning and evening is really just a gratuitous portion. During the change into cooler weather, their portion of grain increases to a degree. Charlie and Lucy's portions of grain are monitored closer due to past neglect, and Joe, Alfalfa and the Little's are monitored closely as well. Weight gain or loss is monitored on everyone year round, and food portions are changed when needed. Food portions will change again once Old Man Winter arrives. Summer to Fall is not a huge change for how the horses and donkeys are cared for, winter brings the biggest change. We always, always, always, in each season make sure there is plenty of fresh drinking water and we always offer sources of minerals available as they need.

We're told rain and possibly storms are headed our way for the next few days (YAY), and while it makes for a lot of mud, and I'm not particularly thrilled about the storms, but, we need the rain! Oklahoma is sort of a place of extremes in so many aspects, case in point, when we get rain, it can literally be a deluge of rain! With that in mind, we make sure the horses and donkeys all have places to be under roof if they so choose. Normally, during the nights and days when there is no falling weather, the gates to the corral are closed and only Charlie, Lucy, Joe and sometimes Alfalfa (depends on who he wants to be with at night), are in the barn corral. However, when precipitation is predicted, we put Charlie and Lucy in stalls and shut their doors to the corral, and open the gates for the large horses and all the donkeys to be able to get in to either the barn stalls, or in the run-in sheds in the corral area. The Little's have their own paddock with their own little barn.

Why do we keep Charlie and Lucy separate from everyone? Due to past and continued health issues, they need close constant monitoring. During the winter months, we do let them out some in the pastures to just enjoy being a horse. No one is mean to them, but, if they get too far away (this is a 35 acre ranch), it can be difficult on them to get back to the barn. Charlie and Lucy are always stalled at night.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be getting the chickens and ducks coops ready for the winter months, mainly adding straw to their coops and adding cover to their run.

We'll blink and the time for the holidays will be here! We hope you will visit and meet all the animals, while enjoying some time in the peaceful place we call Cole's Ranch!


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