cows and winter : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I do not have a barn to bring in the cows at night for the winter,i do have a 3 sided shed, will that be enough for them. i guess we jumped into the cow thing w/out being ready. We do get alot of cold wind here and a fair amount of snow. I have seen news reports of out west w/ cattle in open fields in the dead of winter, do they do ok? Ours are 6 mon. now,and getting in a nice thick coat.

-- renee oneill (, October 31, 2000


Renee, I used to think that all animals needed and nice warm barn to sleep in, I soon found out that is not always true. In one of that pastures I have goats and mini donkeys, unless it is raining they don't even go into the barn (they are free to go in and out), we to also have a 3 side shed in the pasture that we feed the livestock hay, that's were they will normally sleep at night. Renee I am not sure where you live and that could make a difference, I live in TN so we don't have the below 0 temps to often, but it does get really cold. Also you might want to talk to some of the local farmers or maybe the CO-OP, like I said alot depends on your type of weather. Good luck and God Bless.

-- tracy emily (, October 31, 2000.

Tried building a nice barn for my cows. Results--they had it such a mess in a few days it was a soupy mess. Takes alot of work to bed dairy cattle right. I found all they need is a windbreak. Trees good and thick or a protected area such as a steep hill work well. I have even built a L shaped wall at one place for a break. When it snows I roll out big bales of low quality hay for a place to lay. We have temps as low as 20 below and my cows have not suffered. Wind is the worst thing. Beat that and your OK. Don

-- Don (, October 31, 2000.

Renee, what part of MD do you live in? The only really cold section of MD is Garrett county, the western most one, can be bitter there with heavy snows and high winds, my family is from Oakland and Accident, one winter they had 265 inches of snow around Deep Creek Lake area, was definitly not fun! Anyway, from seeing how folks all over the country keep cattle,(we're long haul truckers, or just husband is now), mostly they just put up some kind of wind break to block the wind. Out in the Dakota's you'll see big sections of stockade type fence running along parallel to the prevailing wind direction, and I wondered what it was for until I saw cattle huddled up next to it on the leeward side! If you get a lot of freezing rain however, I would recommend some type of overhead cover in addition to just a wind break, perhaps a run-in type shed, closed in on 2 or 3 sides, roof on top, open the rest of the way around. Around here, we build them out of rough sawn local hardwood, and use home-cut locust posts/trees for the uprights. The roof does't have to be completely water-tight, so you don't have to shingle or panel it, the rough sawn lumber can suffice. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, October 31, 2000.

I wouldn't worry too much about your cows suffering from the cold so long as you keep them well fed. Our cows do well in the pasture all winter here in Maine, in fact, I think the reason our herd is so hardy and disease free is because they aren't cooped up in a barn. In the winter we give them plenty of hay and we mix up 1 part dry beans (soaked over night), 2 parts beet pulp, and 1 part dairy grain for all our cattle, milking or not. We also supplement with bread to keep the weight on them during extreme cold. Our 15 or so cows run us under $150 a month to keep or $10 a head on that ration. We produce our own hay, with plenty of extra to sell, so I don't add that to my feed cost. I wish our dogs were so cheap to keep.

-- Anne Tower (, November 01, 2000.

We have three cows. Last year we had 26" of snow that lasted almost 3 weeks. The only time we saw them under the shelter was when we fed them under it!! As soon as they finished the food, they would come out, into the snow and head for the row of cedar trees, that are about 100ft. from the shelter. I worried about them the whole time the snow was on the ground! We did feed them a little more and had the big round hay bales for them all the time! I ask my husbands uncle if his cows ( he owns 200 beef cows) goes into his barn --he said that he spent several thousand dollars building this beautiful barn and they didn't care one thing about it!!!

-- Debbie T in NC (, November 07, 2000.

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