Below are some tips to help navigate through the cold weather swing coming up.

WARMTH: Only move completely dried newborns outside or to the calf facility. Make sure the calf has a clean double Thinsulate jacket (let me know if you need some!).

If you have calves in hutches, consider blocking them in the hutches starting Friday for a few days. A simple small square of straw or a plywood door with an opening at the top for some air movement would suffice. Deep straw bedding is a must! Start hutches or pens HALF FULL with fluffy straw.

CALORIES: The dip in temperatures appears to go from Thursday night until the following Thursday. Consider increasing the solids content of your milk to 14%. Again, with questions specific for you, please email. For whole milk this may mean the addition of a balancer, or a slight increase in the amount of powder offered if using milk replacer.

COLD STRESS: Feed the youngest calves immediately in the morning, especially if you go more than 12 hours between feedings.  Offer a bottle of warm water in the middle of the day or electrolytes, to help calves stay hydrated which is essential in cold stress. Yes, water freezes quickly but is very important for health. Remove water after 20 to 30 minutes after offering it to avoid frozen buckets.

AVOID: avoid weaning calves if possible during this cold stress. Avoid any major stressors like vaccination, moving, dehorning.

Any questions for your operation, please feel free to contact me!

Rebekah Mathews, M.S.

Calf & Heifer Nutrition Specialist