Question: How do Iowa farmers ensure their farm animals are safe and comfortable in the winter?
Iowa livestock farmers work day and night to make sure cattle and other farm animals are comfortable and well taken care of during the winter months, says Mike Telford with the Iowa Farm Animal Care (IFAC) coalition.
Farmers check on their herds several times a day to ensure cattle have access to fresh, unfrozen water, Telford explains. Farmers also provide their animals a high-energy, high-carb feed mix, because cattle need the extra energy to keep their bodies warm.
“Another interesting thing about cattle is that in the wintertime when it’s cold, they actually huddle,” Telford says. “They will rotate. So the animals on the inside of that huddle are warm, and they will rotate with the animals that are on the outside (of the huddle) that serve as a wind block. And they will rotate and move in and out throughout the day. You will also see the same type of thing with small ruminants (sheep and goats) if they are outside.”
Farmers also work closely with a team of professionals, including veterinarians, animal nutritionists and more, to ensure animals are well fed and cared for throughout the seasons, Telford says.