Friday, December 11, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

The radio is blaring Christmas tunes, and the weather is agreeing with the season-we have snow, we have cold, and we have blowing. It's been hard to deal with this winter weather though, because it is so extreme. We have been dealing with temperatures much below zero, wind chills much below zero, winds over 30 mph, and 6 inches of snow. This weather has cause a few problems and challenges. With cold weather we have do to some extra things each day to continue to take good care of our cows.

  • 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!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I write this blog to share my passion for my cows and farming, please be respectful of that. I reserve the right to delete those comments which portray hate, call names, and are out right disrespectful. If you have an honest question, I will respond, to explain what we do on our farm, why we do it and how we do it. Please read with an open mind. My time to blog is short, as most of our days are spent caring for our beloved cows. Thank you!