“There’s a lot tinier margin of error when it gets cold,” said Heather Jauquet who runs Synergy Family Dairy.
She knows all too well first-hand about brutally cold weather.
“The biggest thing we can do is to keep them warm with coats, and also bed straw that we change out daily,” said Jauquet while showing off newborn calves on the farm.
A native Wisconsite, she helps keep the dairy farm moving.
“It doesn’t take much for an animal to go backwards if they get a little bit sick in this weather,” she said. “We just try to be really hyper-vigilant, extra checks on everybody.”
She wakes up daily at 4 a.m to get her day started. And talk about a lot of animals to look after. There are more than 650 dairy cows on the farm.
“Especially in the maternity area, it’s much nicer here in the barn inside. But still, for a calf that’s born wet, it’s too cold for them to have exposure very long.”
That’s why newborns have their own room nearby complete with a heated floor. And, while this cold snap is a short one, there’s an unfortunate side effect when winter hangs on.
“It really affects our manure systems,” said Jauquet. “We scrape all the manure in the barns to a center channel, and that channel goes directly to the manure pit. But if we have prolonged cold, we can actually get where that starts freezing.”
More than a dozen people work on the farm. Their tips are the same for the animals — layer up.
“A lot of them are not so acclimated to the weather as we are, so we have to check in with them and make sure they’re OK, too,” she added.