Innovation Center for U.S. When winter sets in on a dairy, farmers pay special attention to their cows and the weather. With a cow’s average body temperature of 101.5°F, several members of the herd staying in can keep everyone comfy on those cold mornings. So, the next time you see cows standing outside in the cold, try not to think of them as feeling the cold as we do. A strategy to keep livestock warm during the cold winter is to feed cattle at night because heat from digesting food peaks a few hours after eating. A freestall barn provides ventilation and many options are climate controlled, allowing for cow cooling measures such as misters and fans in the summer and attachable curtains and sidewalls for the winter. © 2020 The Dairy Alliance • Privacy Policy. Are they like penguins who huddle together or are they toughing it out? A dairy cow’s ideal temperature is between 25°F – 50°F. Increasing the amount of feed can also help prepare them for the cold because a higher nutrient quality in the feed means more energy. To protect the herd from the elements, the design of their home is critical. While the adult cows naturally handle cooler temperatures, Dziurgot said they take extra precautions at the dairy to keep calves as warm and comfortable as possible. While humans prefer warmer temperatures, to them, those chilly mornings are perfect weather! Thanks to their thick skin, hair and natural insulation, cows actually prefer temperatures between 40 and 65 degrees. I don’t think people often realize how much farmers do to care for their animals year round and especially during harsh winter months! So how do they do it? They also outfit their calves with special winter gear: calf jackets, which have a quilted inside and a windbreaker-like outside, for an extra layer of warmth. Did you know that cows prefer cold weather because they’re warm-blooded. 5 thoughts on “ Keeping Cows Warm and Healthy in the Winter ” Katie December 3, 2010 at 12:50 am. With ever-changing weather, cows aren’t expected to simply deal with the changes. This is great insight Emily. Curtains. Dairy farmers work hard to keep their cows healthy and comfortable, especially during the coldest months. It’s starting to get chilly outside—at least for part of the day. A hutch contains bedding and an outdoor area with water and feed. These individual enclosures provide a safe, warm place for each calf and enough room to move around. As long as they’re well-fed, healthy and have dry bedding available, cows don’t mind the cold. Even an unheated barn can stay a comfortable temperature, thanks to the body heat cows generate. As long as they’re well fed, healthy and have dry bedding, cows don’t mind the cold. While the adult cows naturally handle cooler temperatures, Dziurgot said they take extra precautions at the dairy to keep calves as warm and comfortable as possible. Most barns are equipped with curtains that may be manually raised or lowered to protect cows from cold weather and whipping winds. It can be dangerous for cows to be wet in a cold wind; luckily, cows prefer to stay in their dry barns, where they have plenty of space to lay down, walk around, eat and drink fresh water. To help keep their cows comfortable when the temperature dips, Dziurgot and her team close the barn’s doors and hang plastic curtains over its naturally open sides. Each calf has her own hutch to call home for the first months of life. As for the babies, calves have individualized protection. Because of a cow’s thick skin and her hair providing natural insulation, cows prefer temperatures between 40 and 65 degrees. This allows the calves to use their extra energy to grow strong, rather than keep warm. Depending on how cold it is, they might raise the curtains a bit to allow some air circulation. In winter, Dziurgot adds extra straw to the hutches, giving the calves more of their favorite bedding to snuggle into. The hutch also makes it easy to monitor each calf’s health, as well as how much she eats. Rather than venturing outdoors, cows prefer to stay in their dry barns where they have plenty of space to lay down, walk, eat feed and drink fresh water. We use cookies on this site to enhance your experience. The barn is routinely cleaned by farm employees and bedding, water, and feed are refreshed. It can be dangerous for cows to be wet in a cold wind; luckily, cows prefer to stay in their dry barns, where they have plenty of space to lay down, walk around, eat and drink fresh water. With a cow’s average body temperature of 101.5°F, several members of the herd staying in can keep everyone comfy on those cold mornings. We are global advocates for dairy as an essential ingredient to life. If you would like more information or have questions about caring for livestock outside in the winter, please call or email me at jlr15@cornell.edu or 518-483-7403. How Do Cows Stay Warm in Winter? These individual enclosures provide a safe, warm place for each calf with enough room to move around. Dairy farmers like Melissa Greenbacker Dziurgot of Greenbacker’s Brookfield Farm in Durham, Conn., embrace a variety of winter cow care practices to make sure their cows stay nice and cozy all season long. Calves are living the dream of everyone growing up with siblings! While we can bundle up or stay in with the heat in the mornings, how do cows get warm? Her siblings can’t steal any of her food or keep her out of bed. Cows are not restrained in the barn and are free to enter and leave whenever they desire. If they are well cared for, they are healthy, happy, and comfortable being outside. On the Greenbacker farm, each calf has her own hutch to call home for a few months. Dairy Overview. To learn more about cows, visit a local farmer, available here. 1. An unheated barn can stay a comfortable temperature in the colder months thanks to the body heat cows generate. How Do Cows Stay Warm in Winter? Please donate to GENYOUth’s COVID-19 Emergency School Meal Delivery Fund.

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