Caring for Cattle During the Winter Months
As the seasons change, we think about how to prepare ourselves for the chillier months to come. We are fortunate because, for most of us, it’s as easy as going into storage and taking out our winter apparel…
But what’s a cow to do?
Cows are adverse to extreme temperature changes, much like how many of us are. Except, as mentioned above, we have our sweaters and jackets.
It’s important to keep livestock feeling healthy and cared for when the temperatures drop. Below are some tips for keeping cows content:
A Breakdown of Energy Changes
The amount of energy used by cattle depends on the temperature outside. When the temperature drops below a certain degree, there’s an increase in energy expenditure from livestock. This is known as the Lowest Critical Environmental Temperature (LCT) and where it falls depends on the species of animal.
Food and Water
An increase of energy expenditure leads to an increase of how much your cattle will need to consume.
You want to make sure that your cattle are fed well throughout the entire year. Keep hay protected from the elements with Buckwild Innovation’s hay ring cover (which is especially critical during the wintertime). This will lead to lesser food waste.
Also, be sure that your cattle are getting adequate amounts of water!
Shelter for livestock can take the form of a natural landscape with variety, or a man-made shelter. It’s not practical for a large herd of cattle to take shelter in a man-made structure, nor would they want to for an extended period of time. That being said, the option of a manufactured shelter is better than having none, if your farming landscape doesn’t provide natural spaces that would provide adequate shelter.
Hills and tree coverage can provide shelter for cattle. Just a little protection from the wind and rain can cut back on the amount of energy used to keep warm in these elements.
Encourage animal movement by varying the locations of their feeding and watering stations. Promote exercise, as it is just as important during the winter months.
Keep up the work this winter for happier cattle and in turn, be a happier farmer.