Thursday, June 2, 2011

Prickly Pear

Today's picture was taken during the Dust Bowl in the 1930's on a ranch near San Angelo, Texas. During a severe drought, the only plants that thrive are Prickly Pear. This is a particularly nasty type of cactus, known for its sharp thorns. The inside, however, is tender and juicy. During the droughts of the 1930's and 1950's, ranchers would go out with torches, and burn the thorns off the prickly pear leaves. With the thorns burned off, the cattle could eat the pear leaves. The issue is, however, that cattle really LOVE the taste of prickly pear. Once they get a taste for it, they become almost addicted, and will then go out and eat the prickly pear that still has the thorns on it. This of course is a huge problem, as the thorns become lodged in the cow's mouth, tongue, throat and stomach. 


I had explained yesterday how Lovie and Miss Kitty had decided to split the baby peacocks up. Lovie got 7 and Miss Kitty got 1. Well, that lasted for about a day, and then they renegotiated, and now Lovie has all 8. Miss Kitty has taken on the role of assistant mother. She stands around Lovie in case she can help with anything, but Lovie has all 8 babies following her around and under her wing.


  1. Poor Miss Kitty!!! That just doesn't seem fair.

  2. I feel sorry for Miss Kitty too. It sounds like she wants to be a mommy so bad. Maybe give her some special treats to cheer her up cause she has to be a little sad. Never thought I'd be hooked on a continuing story of a couple of peacocks, but here I am.

  3. I just went back and re-read the post from Tuesday. I guess Miss Kitty wasn't such a good mother the first time so for the chicks sake it's probably best that they are hanging with Lovie. I still feel bad for Miss Kitty though. It sounds like she means well but is a little flighty as far as raising a family. I had an Aunt like that, LOL.

  4. Couldn't the "addicted" cows be given a flavored water to keep them from seeking the prickly pear? They could then be weened back to straight water.


  5. Luther Burbank developed a thornless prickly pear with the idea that it would become a good fodder crop. Unfortunately, when the plant is stressed (ie drought) it can develop thorns! It is now sometimes seen as an ornamental.

    Poor cows!


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