Cow Care in the Cold

Dairy farmers work hard to make sure that their cows are clean, dry and comfortable, especially in the winter. Calves tend to suffer from illnesses more during the cold weather due to their small size and ineffectiveness of generating heat like cows are able to do. However, there are steps that farmers take to ensure their animals are comfortable even when temperatures drop to near or below freezing. Here are five measures farmers take to go the extra mile for the animals that provide so much for us.

  1. Barns doors are kept closed, so farmers use a plastic curtain if necessary to cover any sides that are open-air.
  2. Stalls are kept dry each day; however, farmers pay particular on days where the winds are strong and coupled with colder temperatures.
  3. Adding extra straw to the stalls gives a bit of added comfort to the cows. Farmers focus on the areas where the cows rest most as this is typically where they will go to as temperatures drop.
  4. Calf jackets add an extra layer of warmth. This way, the calves can exert their energy growing stronger rather than using it all to remain warm.
  5. A decrease in body temperature causes cows’ bodies to burn more energy staying warm, so farmers make sure to keep the cows well fed. Even though cows don’t suffer from colder temperatures, their bodies still require more energy to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Because cows have thick skin and hair, it acts as a natural insulation for cows, and they typically prefer temperatures around 45-65 degrees. In addition, cows who are healthy and cared for tend not to mind the colder temperatures. But, farmers know it’s best to be prepared for freezing temperatures rather than scurrying to correct the issues if a storm hits.