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Virginia Cooperative Extension - Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Winter Teat Care

Dairy Pipeline: February 2008

John Welsh, Extension Agent, Rockingham County
(540) 564-3080;

With the onset of colder weather comes the risk of chapped and frozen teats. When wind chill values reach 0 to -25 degrees F, cold damage to teats becomes likely.

Following are suggestions from the National Mastitis Council for extreme winter teat care.

►Teats should be dry before turning cows out into cold weather.
► When teats are disinfected after milking, allow 30 seconds contact time, and blot off any excess disinfectant with a single service towel.
►Warm teat disinfectants during cold conditions to reduce drying time.
►Provide windbreaks in outside areas for cows.
►Monitor fresh cows with swollen udders and teats since they are more susceptible to chapped and frozen teats.

Research cited in the Journal of Dairy Science found that using teat dips with skin conditioners did more to lessen the occurrence of chapped teats than any other practice employed. It also suggests that farmers should not stop post dipping during cold weather as bacterial colonization of teat ends was higher on undipped teats than chapped teats that were post dipped regularly. Providing a dry place for cows to lay down during cold weather is critical in controlling frost bite and chapped teats during extreme cold weather.


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