Do cows get cold in the cold winter weather? If they do, then how do they stay warm? Many people who own cows have worried about their cows being outside in the freezing cold and blowing snow while they’re hunkered down in front of the fireplace inside, all toasty and warm.
In reality, thanks to think skin and layer of fat, cows are made for cold temperatures and prefer the cold to the sweltering summer months. But, you might still be wondering how they manage to stay warm when it’s freezing outside, and the snow is piling up. In this blog, we’ll try to answer that question and more for you.
How Do Cows Stay Warm?
Cows are built for the winter months. Their thick skin and coarse hair keep them warm, as well as the fact that cows have natural insulation. Most cows are at their happiest when it’s between 40 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit outside.
When it gets super cold outside, cows huddle together to take advantage of one another’s body heat. In fact, together, they generate enough body heat to keep any barn warm, even in freezing conditions. It might be warmer in their barn than it is in your home, as a matter of fact.
However, you don’t want to leave your cows out in the pasture when it’s snowing or freezing rain is falling. It’s best to go ahead and bring them inside the barn, so they can huddle to stay warm. Besides, no animal needs to be left out and exposed to the elements in that way.
What Do Cows Eat During the Cold Winter Months?
Grass is one of the most essential foods to feed cows if you want them to grow strong and stay healthy. However, since green, lush grass is a rare commodity in many states when the snow begins to fly and the temperatures plummet, it’s best to feed your cows lots and lots of hay.
Many farmers buy hay when the winter descends, but some farmers actually make their own and bale it to give to their cows in the winter months. Hay is just dried out green grass, so you can easily make it out of your own grass in the summer and save it for the winter when times are tough.
How Can You Help Your Cows Stay Warm?
While cows do prefer the colder weather, there are a few things you can do to ensure they stay warm and healthy when the winter is particularly cold and hard. We’ll talk about a few of those things in our next section.
Feed Your Cows More
While it’s always important to make sure your cows have enough feed and water, it’s even more essential in the winter. Increase the amount of hay you feed them to ensure they have the correct bodyweight and added insulation to keep them warm during the coldest days of the year.
Put Up Windbreaks
Putting up windbreaks will help to keep your cows warm also. While you have them in the barn the majority of the winter, you’re going to want to let them out in the pastures quite a bit as well. Windbreaks will keep the wind from blowing on them and stop the wind chill from getting to them also.
These are a few of the best tips for keeping your cattle in peak condition during the winter months. Though cows do enjoy the cold weather more than the hot weather, you still want to give them a little extra help to stay warm once the snow begins to fly.
The last thing you want is your cows to end up losing body condition score. The tips above will ensure that your cows not only stay warm when it’s cold outside but they are in prime condition when the spring thaw begins as well.
So, worrying that your cows are cold when you’re in your cozy home in front of a roaring fire is something you don’t have to do. However, make sure you keep your cows in the barn where they can huddle together for body warmth, bring them into the barn when it gets cold, and build a windbreak and increase their feed for the best results.
Featured Image Credit: petahmayer, Pixabay