Mallard Fire impacting ranchers and cattle

Mallard Fire is impacting ranchers and cattle. (ABC 7 News-file photo).

Cody Britten is just one of several area ranchers gathering hay for his cattle.

"We're dealing with a loss of grass with the fire, and we had to find our cows," Britten said. "We're still a couple cows short."

Britten knows exactly where his supplemental feed is coming from, as he's hauling is from Groom to Goodnight himself.

"We've got plenty of feed for the summer if the drought continues," Britten said. "We're going to try to stay ahead of it."

But that may not be the case for other ranchers.

Dr. J.D. Ragland, County Extension Agent from Texas A&M AgriLife, said being cautious with supplemental feeding in the wake of a wildfire should be a priority.

"A good rule of thumb is to have the hay tested," Ragland said.

Ragland said testing hay is the easiest way to prevent health issues or even death in cattle.

"You're testing it for the protein level, for the energy level in the hay," he said. "And that's going to vary depending on where the hay was raised, where it was transported from, how it had been treated before the producer received it."

He said different classes of cattle will need different hay.

"Long-bread females are obviously going to need a higher nutritional value, or a higher protein value than maybe other cattle," Ragland said.

With cattle still feeling the lingering burn of the fire, Britten said he's doing the best he can to deal with it all.

"It's very stressful on them and stressful on us, just trying to health wise, making sure everything is OK," Britten said.

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