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Winter tough on wildlife too



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Dave Rooney from Davisburg Pet and Feed in downtown Davisburg gets prepared to deliver some feed. Photo by Andrea Beaudoin (click for larger version)
February 19, 2014 - If you think winter has been rough for you, just imagine living like an animal outside. With deep snow and extreme temperatures, the well-below-zero winter has buried grass and other food sources in heavy drifts of snow.

Like humans, animals need to eat more when it gets cold, but unlike humans they can't get to the grocery store to nab dinner.

"I have seen deer wading in snow up to their chest," said Connie Rooney new business owner of Davisburg Pet and Feed in downtown Davisburg.

Rooney said she is happy to feed the wildlife. That's why she made it her business.

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"You can see the deer pawing at the snow trying to reach grass," she said.

With such deep snowdrifts—pawing down to reach grass is a great task for animals—especially when hungry.

Michigan is home to many species of wildlife including White-tailed deer, groundhogs, squirrels and birds. Rooney said a few bags of corn mixed with molasses would be a sweet blessing for the starving animals and for just $10 you can feed 20 deer and many other critters.

Feeding the wildlife comes with rewards—particularly the beauty you see when witnessing them feed and knowing you have made their cold and hungry journey a bit more bearable, she added.

Rooney said after feeding the deer and the food is gone, animals of all types can be seen pawing at the ground. Rooney also said she feeds them a certain way.

"If you put it all in one pile they fight over it," she said. "They are desperate in this cold and snowy weather. The snow is just so deep they have trouble finding food."

Michigan Department of Natural Resources rules for recreational deer feeding include no more than two gallons of grain, mineral, salt, fruit, vegetable, hay or other feed, no more than 100 yards from a residence on land owned by the resident; feed must be scattered on the ground; and at least 100 yards from any area accessible to cattle, goats, sheep, and other domestic animals. For more information visit www.michigan.gov/dnr

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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