Cow comfort in winter

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red

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Jan 20, 2007
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7,850
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LaRue, Ohio
Well, the snow is over the corgi this morning! Yesterday is was 3 degrees. Winter has arrived!
How do you keep the cattle comfortable in the winter? Those either in the barn or outside?

We put several inches of fine gravel in our barn. This allows the moisture to drain easier. We also bed alot more frequently & try to keep the bedding fairly dry.
For the farm, the cows are in the pasture. The boys build windbreaks & shelter out of large square bales of straw & old hay. They also bed the inside of the shelters. Once calving starts they will be brought to the barns. Biggest challenge is keeping the water flowing.

How do you handle winter/cold where you are?

Red
 

common sense

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Aug 1, 2007
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I talked to some ranchers from Canada a couple of years ago during the Denver stock show.  They said that they build giant beds out of stalks out in protected fields.  They said that they just keep adding to the area when they get more snow or when it starts to get dirty. It provides not only a clean dry place to bed but also generates warmth.  They swore by it for calving.  I asked them if they had any issues with scours and they said never.  That adding to the bedding on a regular basis kept everything continuously covered.  In the spring they brought in big trucks and payloaders and disposed of the pile by spreading it back on crop ground or pasture.  We are going to give that a shot this year.  I am building my base out of wood shavings.  Right now my mule is testing out the pile and she thinks its the coolest thing ever.  We won't put the cows in the calving area for another month.  Right now I just use the salad shooter a.k.a. bale processor to blow some dry stalks out for them in the field.

I also build bale shelters out of big round stalk bales for the baby calves.  I can blow bedding in them and keep it dry.  The cows can't get into the shelters but they get the benefit from the windbreak.
 

garybob

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Feb 4, 2007
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1,634
Location
NW Arkansas
Winter here, at 36 degrees, 30 minutes North Latitude, is milder than most on here experience. However, we DO have below-zero temperatures on the occaision. This makes it kinda difficult to predict how we are going to "winter" our cows. Many times, it will be as cold here, in the Ozarks, as Billings, MT, albeit only for a day or two. It'll go from Ten-below to 45 or 50 degrees, then, back down to a "normal" 35-or-so. Making scours and respiratory diseases a challenge. ESPECIALLY if you have a Backgrounder with a Newly-recieved set of Florida-Georgia cattle,coughing and wheezing across the fence.

Back to the weather, we roll out our crappiest Fescue Hay for bedding for the calves, and, if it gets worse, the entire Herd takes shelter under a grove of mature Eastern Red Cedars. Dad calls a stand of old-growth Cedars A "Poor-Man's Calving Barn".
 

aj

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Jul 5, 2006
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western kansas
gb....where dad calves he has the same setup.The ceder windbreaks were planted in 1970 and 1976. Now they are great big ole trees. I know in one blizzard I walked up to the break(150 yards) visability was so bad I wasn't sure I could see to get back. The baby calves were laying in under the trees without a flake of snow on them. They looked at me like what are you doing in the snow dummy. Those windbreaks are great but it takes forever to develop them.
 

garybob

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Feb 4, 2007
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Location
NW Arkansas
aj said:
gb....where dad calves he has the same setup.The ceder windbreaks were planted in 1970 and 1976. Now they are great big ole trees. I know in one blizzard I walked up to the break(150 yards) visability was so bad I wasn't sure I could see to get back. The baby calves were laying in under the trees without a flake of snow on them. They looked at me like what are you doing in the snow dummy. Those windbreaks are great but it takes forever to develop them.
The Good Lord Above "planted" these Cedars down here. Just wish Satan would keep the little Cedars from popping up in pastures. Don't mind them in fences,  because, as the tree grows, it keeps the fence tighter.
 
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