How long does it take for a yearling cow or older to starve?

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Nevada Gina

Dec 23, 2008
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Spring Creek, Nevada
I live behind a small ranch and there are 17 head of cattle, yearling size or older. I live in the high desert of Nevada at 5500 feet elevation and the days are about 29 degrees and the nights get down around zero. These cattle behind my home just stand there all day...I dont see them graze...I dont see them chew cud..their backs are becoming humped up so I went out to see if they are starving. They are penned in a 10 acre parcel and have been there for about 2 months. There is about 6 inches of snow on the ground and it doesnt appear that there is anything left for these cows to eat in their field. I dont know much about cows, so I went out to my fenceline to get a better look...they are not skeletons...but I can see their ribs through their heavy winter coat. I need to I just a worry wart and these critters can take care of themselves or are they in jeopardy of starving soon since they need lots of calories to stay warm? I have watched these cows for about a week now and no one comes out to check on them and they dont supplement their grazing with hay...these guys are on their own. How long will these cattle survive with so little to eat...I need to know because I am contemplating calling animal control but dont want to jump the gun. :cboy:
Yes, their hip bones are sticking out...I can see ribs and their heads are all I guess we do have a problem then. I have no affiliation with PETA...
These cattle have plenty of water as there is a year round stream running. The reason I asked how many days the cattle would survive without food is we are quickly approaching the holidays and many people take a week or so off for Xmas and New Years...Our town is so small Im sure there is probably only 1 person (or maybe a part time person) running the show in animal control...hypothetically speaking, if that person has taken time off for the holidays, its possible that it may be a week or two before anyone could check on the well being of these cattle. In any case, thank you for your input...and Merry Christmas to all :tiphat: :tiphat: out there in Cattletoday land.
If they're standing there humped up, ribs showing, hip bones showing, heads hanging, 6 inches of snow on ground, no obvious forage available, "and I would'nt expect there to be much after 2 mos. and 17 head," then yes they are starving. And they can have all the water in the world, but there is darn few calories in water. I'd call the owner if known and if not, I'd call sheriff. Maybe he knows, and if not maybe he knows a rancher who could spare some hay for a few days till he can find the owner. And I'll be damned if I'll wait till they're skin and bones before I do something. Gina, thanks for being concerned. Don't ever be concerned about getting involved, when animals are obviously in distress.
Hi Everyone and Merry Christmas!! Just an update...I took your advice and called the local animal control and as I had suspected, the animal control officer was off for the holidays so a sheriff was sent out to check on the cattle. GOOD NEWS...the gate was opened for the cattle and now they have the adjoining 40 acres to graze...Im happy, the cattle are happy and thanks to everyone for your advice. :clap:
I think the advice given was to try and contact an owner first. I mean what if the 40 acres belonged to ummm lets say not the owner?
I completely agree under normal circumstances...and I considered speaking to the owner..but Ive lived in this neighborhood for over 2 years...and the owner of the cattle is known for being very hostile so I decided against contacting the owner.
Nevada Gina":17ebiee0 said:
I completely agree under normal circumstances...and I considered speaking to the owner..but Ive lived in this neighborhood for over 2 years...and the owner of the cattle is known for being very hostile so I decided against contacting the owner.

So now you risk having two unhappy people at you if the 40 acres does not belong to the owner of the cattle,
Whole thing sounds a little fishy to me.
OOOOHHHHHHHH BROTHER....Let me weigh the options hmmmm...starving cattle?...possible miffed neighbor?...starving cattle...miffed neighbor? well the cattle who don't have opposable thumbs to open the gate and fend for themselves...those starving cattle obviously WON this I fail to see the relevance of your musings...its a moot point isnt it? The cattle are once again in an area where food can be found...none of them died...the topic is over....go read some other post....all I tried to do was keep from watching starving cattle out my picture window on Christmas day and all of a sudden "something is fishy"??????? lol...Give me a break!!!! HAVE A GOOD do I remove the notification of this topic from my email?
Hey Gina, Buck up, everyone has an opinion. If you feel beat up, join the club. We have all been there done that.
Welcome to the Cattle Today board. You will meet lots of interesting folks.
Thing is Gina, do you know who owns that land that you moved those cows to? If it is a different owner and they had plans for that land, be it feed some of their other stock, or feed that can make cows sick, or what ever, there could be other problems arise. What if on the 40 acres, there is fence open or down? What if the animals are now co-mingled with another owners animals?
If the sheriff came out they should have contacted the owner, any proper sheriff would have anyhow. The owner needs to know where they are. The owner needs to be told especially if they are no longer on his land.

It could have been as simple as the owner missed these animals when moving them to another pasture. It happpens.
If you moved my animals without trying to contact me, I would be some ticked.
obviously you knew the owner, not hard to make a call saying there are some animals here...even tell a fib, one is limping real bad. If nothing is done, then call animal control.

Something does not sound right.
You know if my next door neighbor had some thin cows and someone let them into my 20 acre paddock of ryegrass that:
I planted in the fall ($400 for seed), fertilized after I got stand ($500 for fertilizer) and watched it grow after I spent all that time getting it ready for MY cows to use when they all had newborn calves I would be more than ticked! Not to mention the fact that without that ryegrass MY cows will suffer, possibly resulting in calves not gaining as much as could be or cows not cycling back quick enough. Yes, I would be more than ticked. I would call the Sheriff myself.
This thread has BS written all over it. You cattle today regulars fell for a cute little animal activist at work. :oops: :roll:
rockridge now Gina said nothing about moving the cows herself, she just said that they were now where there was feed for them. Nothing was said about them being put in the neighbors.
mnmt c'mon now. Better to show that we do care for the cattle in our care and show our knowledge on care then to sit there and accuse someone we don't know of something "fishy" and other things.

Hopefully she did call the neighbors or sherrif's office and since those cows were taken care of hopefully they will be alright.

Had a neighbor years ago that would not feed her horses enough or often, bothered me so much one day I went out and fed them. Yes I did get a call and a butt chewing from her, but I was at peace knowing those horses finally had enough to eat. Her dad sold them that spring because she didn't take care of them.
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