How to keep your cows warm in the winter [Infographic]
When temperatures dip, cattle may be negatively impacted. Cows, like most mammals, must constantly maintain a core body temperature, and when exposed to freezing conditions, they have a harder time maintaining that temperature. Consequently, their overall energy needs will increase.
Severe cold stress
If cattle experience severe cold stress, it can lead to hypothermia or frost bite. According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural affairs, hypothermia occurs when the internal body temperature falls between 86 and 89 degrees Fahrenheit. When body temperatures dip this low, cattle's metabolic and physiological processes are slowed.
Frostbite is often a side effect of hypothermia. This occurs when blood is diverted from a victim's extremities in an effort to protect vital organs.
As the internal body temperature drops in conjunction with colder weather, cows need more food to sustain optimal health. This can be quite costly throughout winter.
The rule to feeding during colder months
As a general rule, cattle farmers should increase feed by 1 percent for every degree the effective temperature is below the lower critical temperature. For example, if the temperature settles at 15 degrees Fahrenheit with 5 mph wind, a cow's energy needs will be 10 percent higher when compared to moderate conditions. If the cow's coat is wet or matted by mud, the energy needs of a cow increase to 50%.
Eliminating cold stress
To keep your cattle protected from cold stress, it's important they are protected from wind and moisture. House them in sheltered areas like a fabric covered building from Winkler Structures.
You should also monitor the weather regularly and stock up on feed to accommodate potential hikes in energy demands.
Winkler Structures provides durable and resilient clear span buildings that are capable of protecting your herd from the coldest and most extreme conditions throughout the entire season.