As severe weather is among us it is more important than ever that we give extra care to the younger, more vulnerable livestock on our farms. With temperatures plummeting to as low as -6 degrees, there are a few key practices to keep in mind, adequate bedding, fresh water/feed/roughage and shelter must be constantly available and increasing calf feeding rates is recommended. The cold weather is both stressful on the farmer and the calf and where calves are exposed to the cold their immune systems will be suppressed. Calves may become more susceptible to pneumonia or chills.
How calves cope when its cold?
When calves are cold they use some of their energy to keep warm rather than for growth. It is important that when feeding calves in cold weather that this is taken into consideration. Teagasc recommend that the amount of milk replacer fed to calves should be increased by 2% for every degree the temperature falls below 10 degrees, so temporary adjustments should be made to milk feeder settings or when measuring out grams of powder per litre. If you find that calves are shivering after feeding them milk, it is a sign that they are cold and are not being fed adequately.
Call any of our calf team for more advice.
Jack Hayes B. Agr– ProCalf technical team