How Do Cows (And Calves) Stay Warm In The Winter?

by Allison Ryan

A dairy cow’s ideal temperature is between 25°F – 50°F. Dairy farmers work hard to keep their cows healthy and comfortable, especially during the coldest months.

So how do they do it?

Most barns are equipped with curtains that may be manually raised or lowered to protect cows from cold weather and whipping winds.
barn with curtains down

Watch this short video to see Ohio dairy farmer Kristy Ackley draw the curtains on her barn

Soft bedding, like sand or straw, is provided around-the-clock to help keep cows comfortable and warm.
freestalls bedded with straw

Calves are often kept in hutches, or individual pens, which have clean dry bedding (like straw) for them to nestle in and doors that may be temporarily shut to protect them from cold weather and wind.
calf hutches

Many farms also use calf jackets to help calves conserve heat and stay warm, much like we put on jackets to keep us warm.
calf blankets

Click here to learn more about how dairy farmers cow for their cows and calves.

Allison Ryan

Allison is the Senior Communication Manager for the American Dairy Association Mideast. Born and raised on her family’s dairy farm, Allison has a deep respect for agriculture. Allison and her husband, a large animal veterinarian, now live in Montezuma, Ohio with their sons Carter and Lane.

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