Cardboard is increasingly being used to feed cattle in drought-hit Kazakhstan caused by extreme heat that has dried up pastures.
The situation is so extreme that the president only recently sacked the agricultural minister Saparkhan Omarov for failing to do enough to help farmers cope.
But as the politicians debate whether they can afford to help farmers who have lost cattle, a well-known local blogger has said the farmers have been taking matters into their own hands by feeding their animals cardboard.
Azamat Sarsenbayev, who lives in Aktau, captured the images himself in Akshymyrau village in Mangystau, in Kazakhstan and shared them on the Facebook platform on 13th July.
In one of the pictures, the wife of a local farmer is seen making a cardboard snack for his sheep.
The blogger wrote: “To save fodder, small farms soak the cardboard in water and after it gets wet, the soft cardboard is mixed with bran and anything else they have to hand. This trick is as old as the world.”
Cardboard is made from cellulose, which, unlike with humans, can be digested by cattle, but it is not clear how much nutritional value it has.
According to commentators, this particular trick has been practised in the area for many years and is now a common solution for hungry animals used by residents.
A month ago, a video appeared on social networks, filmed in the Mangystau region of Kazakhstan, where the camels are also being fed cardboard.
The Kazakh government confirmed that the reason for the unusual food was the severe drought.
The local government told the news website Zakon: “Yes, we had a problem this year – drought. But at the moment, feed is already being supplied.”
They added: “Volunteers are bringing feed to the region.”
The situation is not isolated to the Mangystau region with much of Kazakhstan in the midst of a water crisis.
Netizen ‘Madayly Kosymbay’ said: “This trick has been working for forty years, if not more …”
‘Leila Iztleu’ commented: “Here’s a cancer of the stomach and larynx.”
And Facebook user ‘ Raushan Aytbaevna Abisheva Tursynbekova’ added: “All the time our cattle in winter eat cardboard prepared by housewives, soaked in water so that the glue comes off. They are ruminant, so digestion is no problem.”