Cattle Care in the Cold

Jan 03, 2022

We have made it to January. The weather has been amazing for early winter, but we all know we will pay for it sometime. Most likely, winter will catch up with us soon. When it does, we need to be ready and so do our cattle. Cattle are naturally equipped to handle cold temperatures, but they also need some extra care to make those cold days a little easier.

Cattle can stay pretty much nutritionally neutral down to 20 degrees. However, when the temperature drops 10 degrees their nutritional needs will double. On those cold winter days producers need to add feeds that increase energy in the ration. Instead of high starch energy like corn, nutritionists recommend feeds such as DDG, Soyhull Pellets or Wheat Midds. These feed types will provide needed energy in a highly digestible fiber form, making it easier on the rumen.  

How else can we help them when the thermometer drops? We all know a windbreak is important, but they also need bedding to give them a dry place to lay down. If nothing else, unroll cornstalks or hay out on the ground in a protected place. You might have to waste some hay, but you will likely save on energy costs because the bedding will allow them to lay down and stay warm. Another important aspect is clean water. In cold weather cattle don’t drink water often, so it is important that water is open all the time.

Cold temperatures are usually short term and should be thought of that way. It doesn’t need to be a winter long feeding plan maybe just a week at a time feeding plan. Stop in to our Milo or Albia locations, or give either of them a call. Let us help you with your plan before the cold wind blows.