How Do Cows (and Calves) Stay Warm in the Winter?

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.

photo collage of barn with curtains up and 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.

Calf Hutches

Calves are often kept in hutches or individual pens, which have clean and 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 Jackets

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

Calf wearing a calf jacket and laying down in a calf hutch

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


  1. My sixth grade students have made a Gwen Update board for our hallway and are so excited to see her when the new images come in. Thank you for allowing us to be apart of Gwen’s life on the farm.

    Troy School Sixth Grade
    North Troy, Vermont

  2. Hello,

    Ms. Pangburn’s class made stalls for Gal out of newspaper. The stalls were in the shapes of squares, circles, triangles, and rectangles We decorated a farm for Gal and we made Christmas trees. We decorated our trees.

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