How Cows Beat the Heat

Some like it hot, but cows do not! A dairy cow’s average body temperature is 101.5°F which is why dairy cows prefer cooler temperatures ranging from 30-70°F.

Dairy farmers always provide their cows with an abundant supply of fresh water, but this is especially important during the high temperature months. In fact, dairy cows drink about 30-50 gallons of water each day — that’s about a bathtub full of water! Dairy farmers also work with dairy nutritionists year round to make sure they provide their cows with a balanced diet.

Dairy farmers house their cows in free stall barns, which are specially designed to keep cows comfortable in any weather. In the barn, each stall provides a clean, dry place for cows to lay down. The bedding may vary from farm to farm, but the most common types include straw, sawdust, sand, mattresses and waterbeds. Yes, I said waterbeds!

During the summer months, shade, as well as airflow and ventilation are very important, so large fans are secured throughout the barns. These fans can be switched on manually or even automatically once the thermostat hits 65-70°F. Curtains, which are used to block wind during the winter, can also be lowered to allow more air flow through the barn. For those really hot days, there are even sprinklers that provide a mist of water over the dairy cows to help cool down their body temperature.

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