Hey everyone! It finally stopped raining!!! Yay! I thought for a minute us bovines would have trade in our fur for fins! Last time we talked, I explained about how much I love my house (and why it’s important that I’m there). I have to tell you, even through the 3+ inches of rain these past few days, I was nice and cozy and dry! My farmers kept giving me fluffy straw and although I didn’t get to play out in my yard too much, it was nice not to be wet! You see, us cows don’t like the rain so much. Let’s talk a little bit about cows and weather.
The big cows and older heifers (those are females who haven’t had a baby yet) are housed in what’s called a free stall barn. That means there’s a few rows of stalls and the cows are free to come and go as they please. The big girls get milked twice a day, and they’re only in the parlor for about 10 minutes at a time, so the other 23 hours and 40 minutes is up to them. Anyways, in the barn is feed, water, stalls full of lots of sand (I hear it’s like lying on the beach all day!) and there’s even a back scratcher. And us cows, being the social butterflies that we are (especially us jerseys!!!) spend a lot of the day walking around and visiting with our friends. Most of us by the time we get to the big barn have a group of friends we have known since birth and we hang around with them. It’s kind of like that best friend you’ve had since kindergarten going away to college with you.
So why are us cows living in a barn instead of outside? Well, because weather. Like I said, it has started raining and not stopped. The parts of the pasture that aren’t under water are all mud. The mud is terrible for our feet. (We can visit with the nice man who gives us our pedicures another time and discuss feet issues.) But in short, it can cause our feet to rot. Along with the fact that if a cow was to lie down in the mud or all that water, she could get mastitis from the bacteria. In the barn, the stalls are kept nice and clean so that doesn’t happen.
This is the view from in the barn going out to our pasture. You can see all that mud! Yuck!
And here’s our pasture with all the water:
I know some people don’t think it’s fair that a cow is stuck inside. Our cows have access to pasture starting in April or May, depending on what kind of spring we have, and are normally in for the winter in October. But it’s not all our farmers choice. Like I said, cows don’t like rain! If they are outside when it starts raining it is quite a site to see! The whole herd will high-tail it (literally-they run with their tails stuck straight up in the air) as fast as they can. Almost like they were playing “last one in is a rotten egg”. My farmer was telling me how the gates were open the other day and it wasn’t raining but there was only one cow outside! Just one! It gets to be this time of year and the girls just like to start hunkering down.
What about other weather? Well, any guesses on what is the ideal temperature for cows? I know my farmer mom likes the house around 70…and she says she sneaks and turns the thermostat up sometimes when my farmer dad isn’t looking. But the big cows are really comfortable around 50 degrees. So in the heat of the summer, although they have access to outside, many choose only to go out for a short period of time. The heat can be really stressful to us, and in the barn we are in the shade with huge barn fans going to keep us nice and cool.
Wind is also hard on us cows. Most of our wind comes from the North or West so all of our calf hutches and the main open areas of the barn face South. This works great most of the time for keeping us out of the wind, except for this weekend when the wind changed and came out of the South. Yuck. The changing weather and wind can cause pneumonia in the cows, but us calves being so young are the most susceptible. Our farmer knows what to look for and checks us all very closely and makes sure we stay healthy.
What other season is left…oh yea…winter…I have been warned about winter and how evil it is. My farmer mom hates winter and being cold so she likes to baby us calves and make sure we are all warm and comfortable. The big cows don’t mind the cold as much as us young ones. As long as they are out of wind and are dry they can handle the cold a lot better.
I think that about covers the weather. Hope you all are staying dry too!