Wintry barn whisperings

Stories from the Farm, 28.11.2017

In summer, the pigs, rabbits and co. have free rein of the expansive Alpine pastures, green meadows and can enjoy a lot of fresh vegetables, but what do the farm animals do in winter? A look into the barn.

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Mädchen füttert Alpakas mit Heu | © Urlaub am Bauernhof Kärnten/ Daniel Gollner

It’s an impressive view: when the golden autumn leaves are falling and the herds of cows make their way from the alpine pastures to the valley. Accompanied by ringing cowbells and the instructive calls from the farmer, you can really see a caravan of cattle on the move at this time of year.

To give the animals some much-needed motivation, there is usually a bucket full of grain at the ready, as a cow with a mouthful of food will march forward a lot more willingly. Weak or sick animals can make the long journey by tractor instead. After the long summer months on the Alpine pastures, winter means it is time to return to the barn, and the animals are brought into well-lit stalls and are regularly allowed to roam outside. When all of the animals have been brought onto the farm, and the first snow clouds are approaching over the mountaintops, then the winter can begin.

Nutritional food

Yes, at this time of year, there’s a lot going on in the barn. So accompanying with the farmer will definitely pay off: Now, his job is to portion the feed carefully throughout the winter months ahead. Mother cows in particular have an enormous need for nutrients and other feed components, which develop in the complex stomach system of the cud-chewing animals and also increase the quality of the milk. If you accompany the farmer, pour fresh grain into the feeding trough and give the goats and rabbits a nice fresh carrot, you can learn to better understand the circumstances of the farm animals.

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