If you were listening to the news last week I’m sure you heard about the “Polar Vortex”. It was on the chilly side around here. In our area, temperatures reached to -40 degrees wind-chill. What we wanted to do was stay inside, play games, and hope nothing froze. Meanwhile, back in reality, we did eLearning with our kiddos and did the necessary cow chores. Thankfully, things went decent!
Fortunately, cows like the cold (not that cold), but they like temperatures under 80 degrees. Cattle like the cold better than excessive heat. In extreme temperatures we are more vigilant with our cattle.
In severe cold:
- Caring for newborn baby calves is a concern. The temperature change for a baby calf coming out of momma & into our Polar Vortex (wet, mind you) isn’t ideal. Keeping fresh, dry bedding is a must! With Indiana’s constantly changing weather and temperatures it’s no problem at all. 😉
- Keeping all water drinkers working through the cold is an essential chore. A cow can drink up to thirty gallons of water a day. So employees are constantly watching for drinkers that freeze up or ice over. If you are lucky enough to find one. 😉 You get to chip the ice away or head to the barn, fill buckets with hot water, gleefully carry them back out to the water drinker, and slowly pour water over the frozen plumbing or problem area until it’s running properly. This is not a job we fight over.
- Did any of you have car/equipment break-down in this cold? Even though we have a stellar mechanic, the cold tends to test his skills. Batteries die more quickly, diesel fuel gels up, hydraulics do not work as well, and engines don’t like to start in frigid weather.
- Then there is the issue of movement for us, the cows and our equipment. Slippery surfaces are not man or beast’s best friend. We put sand in some of the trouble spots to prevent the cows from slipping. Us, we are on our own two, if you know what I mean.
- In extended periods of extreme cold, a few more areas of concern are: frostbit teats, hoof problems (from stepping on clumpy, frozen lots), and underground pipes freezing.
- Extremely cold weather tends to find everything you didn’t prepare for ahead of time. That’s not just for us either! I’m sure it found some of your trouble spots too.
We want to send a shout out to all of our employees that helped us through this cold snap. Thanks for going out and doing the work, even though staying in would have been much more enjoyable!