The weather is getting colder and many regions in the U.S. have already gotten snow.
The colder weather likely means that a lot of people will be heading indoors.
But not everyone can seek warmth and shelter in a cozy house. Some have no choice but to be outside. Like cows.
It magically snowed today for the Gruyères cheese festival! Buck and I were walking in the snow to the cheese museum,…
And believe it or not, cows actually like the cold weather.
Well, at least according to Clover Meadows Beef.
“Did you know that cows prefer cold weather because they’re warm-blooded,” their website says.
“A cow’s normal average body temperature is 102 degrees, so they prefer temperatures between 40-60 degrees.”
But what about when it’s a lot colder than that? And when it snows outside? That’s when cows adapt.
Highland cow in the snow
In colder weather when it starts to snow, beef cattle will increase their body heat production by increasing their metabolic rate, according to North Dakota University.
They also eat more to fuel their increase in metabolic output.
Cows grow longer hair, change their metabolism and hormone secretion, and start to deposit insulating subcutaneous fat if they have enough energy in their diet to do this.
What a picture! Scottish Highland Cow covered in snow taken in Dexter, MN. Picture by Caroline R.
This thicker, longer coat of hair will catch snow and form a layer over the cow.
This creates an air pocket between the snow and the cow’s skin which gets warmed by the cow’s natural body temperature of 102 degrees.
So, snow isn’t really a big deal for a cow. It’s cold rain and freezing temperatures that can be harmful to cows.
“A clean, dry hair coat and protection from the wind are very important factors that help cattle tolerate cold temperatures,” the University’s website states. “After adaptation, mature beef cows in good condition during midgestation may adapt to a lower critical temperature (LCT) as low as minus 6 F (NRC, 1981) in dry, calm conditions.”
Got snow? Got cows? Share your snowy cow photos below during this winter storm! This great photo comes from Meghan Gerlock!
Cattle are usually brought into the barn to dry off during the rain before they get to go back outside again, especially the baby cows. Those who herd and care for cattle also make sure to stock up on hay during the warmer months.
That way it is easily accessible to the cows in the winter and they don’t have to go around digging in the snow for food. Like humans, you could even say that cows like to play in the snow.
While they can’t make snow angels or build a snowman, you’ll find videos of cows frolicking around in the snow.
Take Stella the cow for example.
She could hardly contain her excitement when the first snow started to fall this year.
“Stella was so excited for the first big snowfall that she got out of her gate and was running around. After getting her back in, I turned around and saw her trying to catch snowflakes.”
And her own was able to catch it all on video.
We see this adorable sweet cow flicking her tongue around like crazy with her head held up to the sky trying to catch as many snowflakes as she can on her tongue.
It is quite an adorable sight to see!
You can check out Stella being silly in the snow in the video below.
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