Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let it Snow – Preparing for Winter on our Farm

We began winter with three feet of snow last week and it looks like were in for another two feet of snow this week! It's December in northeast Ohio which means snow is falling and temperatures are dropping. The holiday season is upon us. Our boys are anticipating Santa’s arrival at our house. They love playing in the snow!

Garrett and Jack play on a snow pile at our dairy
Over the last month, we’ve been “winterizing” our dairy farm to make things more comfortable for our animals and the people who work with us. Some of this winterizing includes;

Pulling down the side curtains in freestall barns so the barn is enclosed and the animals stay warm.

The side curtains protect the cows from the wind and weather
Hanging wind breaks on the alley to protect cows from cold wind on their walk from the barn to the milking parlor.

The wind breaks on our alley from the barns to the milking parlor
Closing the vents on the calf hutches to protect calves from the weather.

Calves are cozy in their hutches with warm straw bedding
Draining the water from the mister lines that cool cows in the summer so they don’t expand and crack in freezing temperatures. Making sure the tractors are serviced by changing the oil and filters and adding antifreeze radiator fluid.

The majority of our milking system equipment is air driven. The moisture in the air can freeze the air
lines causing the equipment to stop working. So it’s necessary to add air antifreeze lubricant to the
lines so they won’t freeze during cold winter days.

Jack, Garrett and Lad in the barn
Hastings Dairy on a snowy day
Our dairy farm operates 365 days each year. The animals are feed, milked and cared for daily. Cows need to be bred, newborn calves need special attention, sick cows require treatment, bedding needs to be replaced and barns must be scraped clean. The cows aren’t concerned if it’s a holiday or bad weather; they expect and receive the same care everyday of the year.


  1. Beautiful photos. Makes me very glad I am a beef farmer! You guys have triple the work with dairy cattle and all that snow... Have a Merry Christmas.

  2. Hi fellow dairy mom and blogger. I heard about your blog yesterday and decided to stop by. I'm impressed with the way you inform the public about how a dairy operates--365 days a year, animals feed and milked and care for daily... You have snow on your Ohio dairy and we have water on our California one. Too much water. I'm not sure which is worse,snow or water. At least the snow is pretty and your kids enjoy playing in it. Also makes for some great pictures.

    Though I don't blog about our dairy, stop by some time. I'm at http://www.enterthebetween.blogspot.com. This
    dairy mom writes about writing, but who knows, I might include a post about the dairy one of these days.

    Thanks for doing what you do. Good luck with your operation, and lets hope for better prices for our wholesome product next year.


Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! I’m opening the doors of our farm to share with you and enjoy engaging in discussion. Please be respectful in your comments. I reserve the right to remove posts that include name calling, slander, and vulgar language or contain links to websites that assault animal agriculture.

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