Livestock Through the Seasons

Posted: February 26, 2024

Old Man Winter gave all of us a run for our money – including our farm animals.

There are things we do throughout the year to prepare for the winter months, but when the snow falls and temps drop below zero there is extra work to be done to ensure our animals’ safety and comfort. Each season presents us with something different on the farm, but we sure are looking forward to spring!

Winter

All of our animals are raised on pasture, but they have access to shelter buildings where they can get out of the elements if needed. In the wintertime, keeping animals dry and out of the wind is important for their health and comfort. When temps drop below freezing, we have the added task of water management. Some farmers use heating elements to keep water tanks thawed, but they don’t always work so checking on water sources several times a day is important.

Although they have access to shelter, most of our animals choose to spend their days outside. The cows can graze on leftover crop residue in the corn and soybean fields, but we also put large round bales of hay in the pasture as an extra feed source and bedding. Harsh winter conditions are one of the main reasons why we choose to have our calves and lambs born in the spring, but that means most of our animals are pregnant in the wintertime and need lots of calories to stay warm and help the babies grow!

Mother sheep and lamb look at the camera outdoors on a farm

Looking Ahead to Spring

As temperatures begin to rise, chores start to look a little different. We will move our animals to a smaller section of pasture for a month to allow our pastures to come back to life. This allows most of our pasture land to recover and establish strong roots for the season, and reduces the amount of mud created by the animals as they move around. This is an important step to take to set ourselves up for a successful year of grazing.

Spring also means baby prep! We are expecting 20 calves and 50 lambs this spring, so we will start preparing for birthing and newborn care. If all goes as planned babies will be born on their own with no interventions, but we keep emergency supplies on hand in case of trouble. We will also make sure the animals have a quiet, dry place to go when it is time to have their baby.

Farming looks a little different with each passing season, but animal care is always a top priority!

ROSIE (SANDERSON) TRUMP – FARMER, AG MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS, CLARE


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