Calf Chat with Ann – Taking on Summer
Hi and welcome to this edition of Starting Strong and Calf Chat. It has been quite the kick-off to summer with lots of rain and hot, humid days. This sure does throw a wrench into raising calves. To help to combat Mother Nature, make sure you are keeping those calves dry and giving them lots of fluids.
Calves require plenty of fresh and clean water, which should be available by 3 days of age. Check your calf starter pails regularly to make sure moisture and mold are not building up in the edges of your pails. Calves do not like wet or moldy calf starter and it is not good for them to consume moldy feed.
With wet weather come those nasty little bugs we call flies! Make sure you check out “Good Fly Control Starts Now” from our April edition for details on controlling these pests. Here are a few things to start with:
- Keep feeding areas and equipment clean
- Keep starter fresh and water fresh
- Minimize spilling of starter, milk and water around the feeding area and keep bedding dry
- If you have weeds growing around your calf and heifer areas, get them mowed down or removed.
- To help you in your fight against flies, you may choose to use sprays, baits and feed additives for additional fly control.
One of greatest highlights of summer is showing your prize calves and heifers. As I travel around the Midwest, I see lots of kids working with their animals and getting ready for the show season. It sure does bring back a lot of good memories from my youth. I also remember all the work and effort that goes into winning the blue ribbon.
A little advice for the first timers and reminders for those of you who have already shown for years:
- Keep your calves and heifers on the same diet they were receiving at home
- Water animals frequently. If your animal does not want to drink the water at the fair, bring water from home or let your pail of water sit in the sun between waterings. Many times the animal is not used to “city water” versus the water they drink at home.
- Keep your animals clean, dry and bedded well.
- Most importantly, have fun and be proud of the job you have done. Good luck and I can’t wait to hear your stories!
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact myself or you local Vita Plus representative or dealer.
Thanks and happy calf raising!
Starting Strong - Calf Care