Need To Keep Cattle Warm In Frigid Temperatures? Feed Them

Cows also benefit from a dry coat of hair and good layer of fat, but American Cattlemen magazine says the key component to protecting them in cold weather is increasing the amount of food available. Credit Annie Kavanagh via Flickr

Cows also benefit from a dry coat of hair and good layer of fat, but American Cattlemen magazine says the key component to protecting them in cold weather is increasing the amount of food available. Credit Annie Kavanagh via Flickr

Cold weather like what’s moved into Tennessee is dangerous for any living creature stuck outside. But for livestock, the solution may not be about finding shelter.

Cattle is king when it comes to Tennessee livestock farming. And when the mercury drops, Robertson County Extension Agent Paul Hart says the thing cattle need most is lots and lots of hay. The simple act of eating helps keep cows from getting too cold, because of the way their complex digestive system works.

“That’s the way they generate body heat. Consumption, dry matter consumption for forages could go up, you know in the temperatures we’re looking at, 20 or 25 percent in some cases.”

Thankfully, last summer was a strong one for hay production in Tennessee. Hart anticipates most farmers have enough quality feed stored away to keep their animals in good shape through even a cold winter.

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