You’re not the only one who doesn’t like cold weather. Animals don’t like it much either, although they’re better equipped to handle cold or wet weather. Cows grow a thicker, winter coat, for example, and can easily be outside in a snowstorm. We’ve occasionally had them come in the barn for morning milking with a few inches of snow on their (insulated) backs and icicles hanging underneath them. They’re fine in spite of how they look! A few winters ago, one heifer wouldn't come in at all, even during the worst storms. Ruminants have an advantage: their constant chewing and swallowing keeps the blood flowing even when standing still. Actually, cows are healthier outside than stuck in a damp barn with stale air, which is a perfect environment for pneumonia.
Chickens will fluff up their feathers creating air pockets to help insulate them. They’ll often huddle together in a corner of the coop or spoon (alternate facing front and back) when sitting on a roost. And they will tuck one leg up in their feathers to keep it warm. A draft-free environment is more important than heat.
Of course, it takes more calories just to stay warm so milk or egg production suffer during the winter months, especially during cold spells. The shorter days with less sunlight also contribute to lower production. This is why you will find fewer local eggs in stores (or CSAs!) during winter. Egg production can fall off as much as 40%.
All of which is to explain why we don’t have enough organic eggs at the moment….
Randy Robar, co-owner of Kiss the Cow Farm