What do cows drink? If you said “water”, you’re right. What do they drink in winter when ponds and streams are frozen? We’ll show you.
What do cows drink? Water? Milk? Something else?
This is a question we sometimes hear in the winter when ponds are frozen over. It’s a great question. Afterall, if there’s ice on a pond, how do the cows get the water underneath?
What do cows drink?
Cows drink water. Calves drink their mother’s milk.
We have three main water sources on our farm: fresh spring water, ponds and automatic waterers.
Where do cows get water in the winter?
In the winter, our cattle get water is through automatic waterers (for the grammar nerds, that’s not a typo. There really is an “-er” on the end).
Automatic waterers contain well water, and we can adjust the temperature slightly so that the water doesn’t freeze in the winter. Our cows love the waterers, and we do too because we know our cattle can always get water when they want it.
Here’s a video with Matt showing off one of our automatic waterers.
Where do cows get water in the spring, summer and fall?
Cows love drinking from fresh springs and ponds. Here are some pictures of the fresh springs and ponds on our farm.
In addition to getting water, springs and ponds help keep cattle cool on hot days — swimming, anyone?!
What do baby calves drink?
Baby calves drink their mom’s milk for about six-months. Then, we wean them and they drink water.
Why do they wean them? There are several reasons. First, the mom stops producing milk at about six-months. Second, as the calf grows, he can get more nutrients from the grass verses the milk. The milk is very important in the beginning, but once he is about six-months old (about 500 lbs), it’s better for him to grow and gain muscle from the grass’s nutrients.
On our farm, we practice what’s called “fence-line weaning.” Fence-line weaning is an industry-best practice because it’s lower stress on the cow and calf.
The fence-line weaning process looks like this: cows and calves are kept in the same field together for months so that the calves are very familiar with their surroundings, including the field’s water and feed sources. Then, we move the cows to another field that is adjacent to the calves, but separated by a fence. The cows and calves have nose-to-nose contact and can hear and see each other, but the the calf can’t drink its mother’s milk. Generally, within about three-days, the calves are fully weaned and they only want to eat grass from that time forward.
We wean most calves in the fall on the farm.
Other posts you may like
- Prime Rib with Garlic Herb Butter
- Easy Dry Rub Recipe for Roast
- What everybody ought to know about beef cuts
- Buying a Cow. How Much Beef Is It?
- Is It Done Yet? The Best Meat Thermometer
- How We Raise Our Grass Fed Beef
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