Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cow Comfort in Frigid February

I hope you like the blog title. That was as close to an alliteration as I could get today! A month or so ago, one of our Facebook friends suggested we write a blog post about how we keep the cows comfortable in the winter months. It's definitely a challenge, but it's one we take seriously! This week, as temperatures plunged into the single digits, we were still at the farm at the crack of dawn, making sure our animals were cared for.

Here are a few things we do in the winter months to keep our cows comfortable:
  • Adjust the barn curtain. The barns have curtains that can be opened or closed, depending on the temperature outside. When it cools down, the curtain is lowered to keep the cows warm and comfortable. When it warms up, the curtain can be opened.
  • Get the calves off to a good start by putting a blanket on them. The blankets help them stay healthy and warm. This isn't necessary in the summer months, when the outside temperature is high.
  • Closely monitor their feed consumption. This is something we do year-round to ensure that our animals are healthy and eating well, but in the winter, animals require extra energy to maintain their body weight. Some times this means we adjust their ration or feed them extra to keep them healthy and strong.
This list could continue, but here's the bottom line: caring for our cows is a year-round task. It just requires different considerations at different times of the year. Just because it's zero degrees out doesn't mean farmers get to stay inside. Their obligation to care for animals is one they take seriously, no matter what the temperature is!

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