Calf laying in straw

Winter on the farm: Animal Care

My husband and I both have full-time jobs off the farm which makes for some long days, but when you love the work you’re doing it isn’t so bad. In the winter days can feel especially long when it gets dark at 5 p.m. and we’re putting in extra hours to make sure our cattle are comfortable and healthy. Not to mention the fact that our cows give birth in the winter, so we’re watching for newborn calves and making sure they stay dry and warm, too!

In the winter, we do a few extra things to keep our cows comfortable and healthy:

  • Bale corn stalks after harvest is complete and using them like straw to make dry, warm spots for the cattle to lay
  • Find places out of the wind to make these “beds” so our cows and calves can stay warm
  • Keep a close eye on the pregnant cows and bringing them inside the barn when they’re ready to give birth
  • Make sure all baby calves have a place to get in out of weather (sheds, huts, etc.).

Sometimes I even bring calves into my kitchen to snuggle with my king size sheets. Okay – that one is pretty rare – but it has happened!  You can read all about that story here.

These are some of the things we do on our farm, but each farm is different. We all have one goal in mind: to care for animals in a humane and ethical fashion and, of course, feed the world.

Alison McGrew

About Alison

Located in west central Illinois near Macomb, McGrew Cattle is run by my husband and I, in addition to our full-time jobs off of the farm. We decided to start raising cattle shortly after we got married in 2007 and have since expanded our herd to include 40 Simmental cows with an additional 30 cows that we manage for a close family friend.

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