What Do Bison Do During the Winter?
In the North East of the United States, it gets pretty cold. It can get even colder in places like Montana where other Bison live. Temperatures can drop below zero degrees and the wind can be harsh and powerful. As the weather turns a little more chilly, you may be asking yourself how bison keep safe and continue to eat while in the cold. Don’t worry, we have the answers!
How Do Bison Keep Warm?
Before the cold season starts, bison develop a thick and wooly coat to protect them from colder temperatures and wind. This is similar to how your cat or dog develops a thicker ‘winter’ coat. A bison’s winter coat is so thick and effective that snow doesn't melt because it stays very far away from the bison’s skin. Overall, this winter coat protects bison to make sure they are safe during the winter.
What Do Bison Eat?
During the winter, grass can be hard to find under snow, especially out in the West where the elevation is higher. Bison will eat any type of vegetation, especially during the cold. Their large muscles on their backs and shoulders allow them to shift large amounts of snow as they make their way through the snow to find food. They have adapted to find nourishment during the winter and sustain those nutrients without moving around a lot. Their metabolism enables them to conserve energy even with very little to eat.
How Does JJ Bison Help During the Cold?
Even though bison are able to forage during the winter, we do feed them more food to ensure they stay fed during the colder seasons. We feed them more hay to ensure they are maintaining a healthy diet, and do not go hungry. Additionally, for water, we have an underwater tank which does not freeze and lifts water up to the top dish. During the winter, we regularly check the dish to ensure everything is working as anticipated.
Normal livestock like cattle may have different rules regarding the winter season, but bison are hearty animals who protect themselves and are basically built for snow.
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