“What’s it like to run Conebella Farm in the winter?” our customers often ask. This winter, with such bitter temperatures and frequent snow, it’s been a question on a lot of people’s minds.
Mostly, winter adds hours to our workday. Water hoses freeze and have to be thawed. In calf pens, we walk through and break ice in water tubs so the calves can drink. When it snows, we clear the way for the milk truck. We also clear paths so the cows can walk safely from barn to barn to be milked. If we didn’t clear the snow, it would pack down into ice and our cows could easily get hurt. When they see snow, cows often like to run and kick up their heels, so that gives us all the more reason to protect our Ayrshires by keeping paths ice-free.
Do cows mind the cold? Except for trips between barns, our cows stay safely inside during the winter. Cows don’t mind the cold, but we have to protect them from the wind.
At Conebella, we have calves born all year round. They’re born in protected calving areas, and we care for them during the winter by keeping them dry and away from drafts.
As the wind howls around our farmhouse on winter mornings and the alarm clock goes off early, we know that we’re going to face a day with extra hours. Caring for our herd is what makes our whole farm function, so we take the winter weather in stride and make sure we keep our cows safe and healthy.