We got about 10 inches here today. It sure is pretty, but I greatly dislike it. Everything is more complicated in the snow.
Thankfully, despite the amount of snow we got, the temps stayed high enough that we could keep the animals comfortable and do our work in decent comfort.
I’ve always thought it was cool how cows can walk around comfortably with snow and icicles hanging off their fur. The cows warm themselves from the inside, with their rumen. The rumen is a giant fermentation vat, and the heat of their digestion keeps them pretty warm. A well-fed cow will be pretty comfortable in most Tennessee winter weather.
Our beef cows are Black Angus. The breed was developed in Scotland, and they actually do better in the cold than in the heat. Our cows are happy to see the snow. The rough frozen ground is really hard on their feet, but the snow gives a great cushion for their hooves. They are moving much better since we got the snow.
The sheep are doing well too, and they are thankful for the cushioning effects of the snow. We’ve had some bruised feet from the hard, frozen, uneven ground, and they seem to feel better today. We are keeping our nursing ewes and their babies in the barn. While they’d probably be fine, I would worry about the babies in the cold.
I do put my milk cow in the barn at night. Her teats can get frost bitten from laying on the cold ground, and it’s just easier to prevent that by putting her in the barn on really cold nights. She has a nice bed of hay, and I think she also enjoys the break from the two calves she’s nursing. I’m keeping an eye on her body condition, what with the cold and nursing two calves. She gets special feed that the Angus cows do not get.
If you look closely at the second picture from the top on the right, you can see our Black Angus Bull. He’s doing well, and he is so huge it’s kind of scary!