- Frozen pipes: Those pipes, with the right amount of wind will ALWAYS freeze! Water is a critical nutrient for cows and calves so we HAVE to thaw the pipes everyday, sometimes twice a day.
- Snow removal: snow blows everywhere and gets into everything. We must push snow, shovel snow, and blow snow in order to just get into the barn to feed and milk the cows.
- Moving: yes moving is so much harder now, with 4 plus layers of clothes on it get to be pretty cumbersome to walk around.
- Starting Tractors: yeah, tractors really don't like to start in the winter-it's too cold and their fuel systems like to "gel" up.
- Frozen manure: hot, fresh cow pies will freeze in an instant on the right day. Manure is so much harder to move when it is frozen-making clean up so much more difficult.
Extra Cold Weather Tasks:
- Feeding the cows extra feed: cows need extra calories to stay warm during the winter months, just like we do. Long winter hair helps to keep cows warm, but heating from the inside out works for cows just like hot soup in people =)
- Bedding the cows extra: Cows need extra bedding to stay dry and warm. Cows and calves like to "nest" in their bedding in the winter. Therefore we need to make sure that we supply LOTS of straw for everyone.
- Feeding the calves extra milk: Calves need extra milk as well for extra calories, so even get a calf "jacket" or "blanket" to stay warm on those cold winter nights.
- Baby Calf Watch: We have to keep an extra eye on the dry cows due soon to have their babies. Winter is not a great time to have a calf. Typically we would be enjoying temps about 25 right now, but thanks to this artic chill we have about 12 cows yet to calve before Christmas and they are all at risk for frost bite. We check on each of them at least 6 times each day, so that the moment that they start labor we can move them to a warm pen indoors to have their calf safely-we always do the best that we can for our cows and calves so a good start is critical!