Calf Chat with Ann – Spring Is Here!
Posted on November 3, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
From Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator
Hi and welcome to this edition of Starting Strong and Calf Chat. Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom and the calves are as happy as can be as I drive my way across the Midwest.
It has been a great spring for calves; dry weather and temperate conditions have made for really healthy animals. So, as we transition into spring and summer, we have a just few key things to remember.
First, it is time to take off the calf jackets. When the temperature rises and the sun is out, you run the risk of the calf sweating in its jacket. If that happens and it cools off at night, the calf becomes chilled and more susceptible to disease.
Continue to focus on bedding and keeping calves dry. You may want to consider alternative bedding options for summer. Sand, shavings and sawdust work well in warmer weather and will help to keep the fly population in check. Straw is good for nesting and conserving energy in the winter, but it is not as absorbent as shavings and sawdust.
It is also time to think about those nasty little flies that love to populate calf and heifer areas. I have seen them starting to buzz around already. Start developing your summer fly control plan now. Here are some quick tips:
- Keep feeding areas and equipment clean
- Keep starter fresh and feed to the intake of the calf
- Minimize the spilling of starter, milk and water around the feeding area
- Keep the bedding dry
- A variety of sprays, baits and feed additives can assist in controlling flies on your operation
As I mentioned in the last edition of Starting Strong, continue to monitor ventilation in your calf facilities. Make sure you are raising and lowering curtains, opening vents, and so on in your barns. Take the time to put your nose at the calf’s level. You need to make changes right away if the air does not smell clean and fresh. Remember that good, deep bedding can help to improve the air quality quickly. Great ventilation and good air quality can help to reduce respiratory challenges in your calf operation.
And with that said, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact myself or you local Vita Plus representative or dealer. Thanks and happy calf raising!