Calf Chat with Ann – Winter Programs and a Look to Spring
Posted on November 4, 2012 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
From Ann Hoskins, Vita Plus Calf Products Coordinator
We are still dealing with winter and as I drive across the countryside, I see everyone’s winter programs in full strength. It is important to maintain your winter feeding programs until the temperatures are more consistent and we are hitting 50 degrees on a regular basis.
Keep those calories going in, make sure the bedding is deep and dry and continue to provide lots of fresh water and starter. Don’t forget the calf jackets are still important. However, I caution you to pay extra attention as we get close to spring and start seeing really warm days. If the calves are sweating, those jackets need to come off. You don’t want your calves to get damp and chilled.
Also as we approach spring, make sure you are raising and lowering curtains, opening vents and so on in your barns. Air quality is very important and can affect calf health quickly. Take the time and put your nose where the calf lies. If the air does not smell clean and fresh, changes need to be made quickly. Great ventilation and good air quality can help to reduce respiratory challenges in your calf operation.
And for those of you who don’t put as much focus on water in the winter, it is really time to get back in the habit. As the days are warmer and the water is not freezing, it is really important to have free choice water for your calves. It helps to increase starter intake and develop a healthy rumen. This will also help to make the transition from the calf pen to the group pen much easier.
Lastly, I want to take a second and touch on colostrum management. As you are taking care of your newborns, keep the 3 Q’s of colostrum management in mind: Quantity, Quality, Quickness. The 3 Q’s and keeping things clean will get your calf off to a great start.
And with that said, please feel free to contact myself or you local Vita Plus representative or dealer if you ever have any questions.
Thanks and happy calf-raising!