Are you prepared to keep your calves warm this winter? Now that the temperature is dropping, Munson Lakes Nutrition Dairy & Calf Specialist Dr. Lauren Tilus would like to remind you that it’s time to invest in calf jackets.
Why is it Important to Keep Your Calves Warm?
Newborn and young calves have difficulty regulating their body temperature in cold climates. To maintain their body temperature, calves must expend energy. Depending on your feeding program, this could have a negative impact on their health and performance.
When calves utilize their energy to maintain body temperature, less of it is left for growth and their immune systems causing them to be more vulnerable to the effects of cold stress.
What is a Thermoneutral Zone?
A thermoneutral zone is a range of temperatures where calves do not need extra energy to maintain body temperature. For calves less than a month old, their thermoneutral zone is between 55 and 70°F. When the air temperature falls below 55°F, calves can experience cold stress and become more susceptible to disease and hypothermia.
Why Should You Use Jackets to Keep Your Calves Warm?
As important as it is to ensure your calves bedding is deep and dry during the cold Minnesota winter months, it is also important to utilize other heat sources. Calf jackets provide many benefits including the following:
- A warm barrier without restricting airflow
- Protection from harsh conditions like wind and precipitation
- Extra coat protection
- A supportive environment for weight gain and proper immune function
Calf Jacket Tips
Calf jackets can be extremely effective in helping calves regulate their heat when they are used properly. When using calf jackets, keep the following tips in mind:
- Jackets should be washed between each calf to limit the spread of disease
- They should be kept as dry as possible
- They should be removed if the temperature warms to prevent sweating
- Calves should use jackets when it’s cold until they are regularly consuming starter grain (around a month in age)
If you would like to discuss strategies to keep your calves warm this winter with a Munson Lakes representative, call us at 320-543-2561 or stop by The Country Store to purchase calf jackets today.