Farmers, animals handle cold temperatures

6:04 PM, Dec 5, 2013   |    comments
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WELD COUNTY - When Jim Docheff gets up, the temperatures are way down. 

He runs the Blue Sky Dairy and is usually out working with the animals at 5:00 each morning making sure they do not fall victim to the cold.

"It gets below zero and that starts to wear on you," Docheff said.

At the Blue Sky Dairy in south Weld County, Docheff has about 1,000 head of heifers and milk cows. He and his workers do the simple things to help the animals weather the cold.

"The biggest challenge we have is making sure that the animals are fed," Docheff said. "If we give them a good balance ration and keep their bellies full they have access to water and give them a dry, comfortable place to lay they handle it pretty well."

He says the times that he worries for his cows are during strong blizzards and long spells of extremely cold temperatures.

"When we get these spells that settle in here like we've had in the past where it's 15, 20 below in the morning, it doesn't get above 10," Docheff said. "After four or five days, you're tired of that."

He says mostly the frigid weather takes a toll on his equipment more so than his cows. Since starting operations in 1987, Docheff says he has never lost an animal because of cold temperatures. But, he still does worry about it.

"I've got an agreement with these cows to take care of them so it's not like I can call in sick and say I'm not gonna be there today," Docheff said. "(The animals)being uncomfortable bothers me."

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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