It’s that time of year, winter. Our green pastures get covered with white snow and the temperatures drop to levels where no one really wants to be outside, including cows. So where do our cows live when the pastures are snow covered and cold?

Cows on pasture
Cows enjoying pasture time in the summer months.

Our cows will spend the majority of their time in their barns once the temperatures drop. This usually happens some time in fall when pastures start producing less and go into dormancy for winter. Despite this, cows do prefer mid range temperatures of 40 to 50 degrees. During the nice warm spring and summer months, the cows get to enjoy time out on pasture during the day. But in the winter time, they stay in their dry, warm barns where they eat a diet consisting of corn, soybeans, wheat, alfalfa and corn silage all mixed together. This is called a total mixed ration (TMR).

SC Trad barn front
The front of our freestall barn. This is where the cows will spend the majority of their time in the winter.

Each of our farms have barns called freestalls where cows can freely roam around in their pen and lay down in a sand-bedded stall whenever they would like. Since cows spend about 8 hours a day sleeping and even more hours resting and chewing their cud, we make sure their sand bedding is clean and comfy. In a way, it’s like the cows get to go the beach everyday! In the summer months, cows are able to go outside during the day but return to the barn for the night.

SC cows on sand
Cows rest on a bed of sand.

Our barns use thick, plastic tarps as side walls to keep in heat in the winter and are able to be rolled down in the warm months to allow more airflow into the barn to keep the cows cool. So when it’s -10 degrees or 85 degrees, the cows have comfortable living areas.

Cows always have access to food and water in their barn no matter the time of year and spend a good portion of their day eating. We provide them with nutritious feed year round in addition to the fresh grass they consume on pasture in the warm months.

Cows eating at bunk
Cows eating the TMR in their barn.

 

Sassy Cow feed
Our cows’ diets consist of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and corn silage.

Organic and traditional cows are fed similar diets. The main difference is that the crops grown to provide the feed for the organic cows must be organically grown. Both farms work with a dairy nutritionist to ensure the cows’ diet is of the highest quality for happy and healthy cows that make the very best milk.

 

Have questions about where our cows live and what they eat? Or have an idea for a topic you would like to learn more about? Feel free to contact us at 608-837-7766 or mara@sassycowcreamery.com.