It’s no news to anyone, it is COLD. Farmers can’t just take a snow day and sleep in when its -15 degrees and blowing snow (as amazing as that sounds.) I am definitely guilty of complaining when I get woken up at 5 and it’s freezing outside. Not to mention it takes me 20 minutes to put on all of my layers of warm clothes so I usually end up making us late.
But enough of all that complaining – there is work to be done!
Our babies need extra care in this cold weather and we will do whatever it takes to keep them warm and happy.
When the temperature drops below 40 degrees, we put jackets on every calf under 4 weeks of age. Needless to say, they have been wearing these for a while – ADORABLE.
My Dairy Man had the great idea of feeding the calves 3 times a day instead of 2. The babies are normally given 3 quarts of milk at 5:30 AM and 4:15 PM. Now they are getting an extra 3 quart bottle at 11:30 AM. A calf’s thermal neutral zone is between 35-55 degrees approximately. This means that any time under 55 degrees, their body has to make extra effort to stay warm and under 35 degrees, their body is cold-stressed. It can take almost 2.5 times more energy to stay warm when it is below zero degrees. This extra 3 quarts of milk at mid-day makes sure that our calves energy requirements are met.
When it’s this cold, I am always sure to give them plenty of fresh bedding for them to nestle into. This helps keep them nice and toasty!
During the night we had a baby heifer born. Her mom did not dry her off or attempt to keep her warm, so my husband and I took on that job. If you want to learn why we separate babies from their moms, read my previous post titled, “Thriving Dairy Farms Practice Excellent Welfare.”
We dried the baby off with towels and I brought my hair dryer to the farm. I got her all warm and dry and put a jacket on her. If you want to learn how we take care of our newborns, read my previous post titled, “Newborn Babies.”
And there is always time for cuddles on this farm. 🙂
We are doing whatever we can to keep our ladies happy this winter. It takes more time and effort, but is always worth it.