As the days begin to shorten and the air becomes crisp, the winter season is now to face. As many people begin to prepare to stay inside, the American rancher is preparing for the cold temperatures. The winter season is one of the hardest conditions a cattle operation has to face, but also one of the most important and crucial times to maintain a healthy heard
From warming a newborn calf to busting the ice on the water, there are many other tasks and key factors to watch out for to keep a sustainable herd. While cows can’t put on a heavy coat and gloves, it is essential to lay out bedding to ensure they have a warm and dry spot to lie during these cold, wet times. The body conditions of cattle become much more important to watch. A fun fact about cattle is that when cattle have snow on their backs, it means they are warmer than if the snow is melted. This is because the cow is releasing its body heat melting the snow instead of keeping that heat.
Feeding and watering becomes one of the most significant factors in a cattle operation during the winter season. A cow’s intake of feed increases during the colder months. Feeding grain, additional hay and ensuring availability of fresh water will keep the cow’s energy up and healthier all around. When feeding, it is important to keep a consistent routine and make sure you’re feeding the correct amount of nutrients. In addition to grains and hay, it is important to supply a healthy amount of minerals. Minerals keep a cow’s metabolism at a healthy rate during the process.
When going out on a cold day, we always make sure we are packed for the coldest conditions. For cattle, ensuring they have enough energy, dry bedding and the right amount of minerals is vital for a cow’s condition. Keeping a cow’s health up makes for a long winter, but a very successful and healthy operation.