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  • Jin Gan

6 Tips To Prepare For Winter Calf Housing

6 Tips To Prepare For Winter Calf Housing

It is crucial to make winter preparation a priority as this will ensure your calves will be ready to handle the cold weather. Here are 6 tips we recommend:

1. Draft a plan

  • It is crucial to have a plan to outline the details of your winter calf feeding, bedding, health, weaning and so on.

  • Once the plan is in place, train your employees on calf management protocols.

  • Having proper training is important to reduce the impact of cold stress as well as maximising calf performance during winter.

2. Ensure hutch is in good condition

  • Make sure the hutch is in good condition before winter season.

  • This will help reduce labour and maintenance needs during cold weather.

  • Another important point is to assess the location of hutch. Make sure it is in a good position to prevent wind and snow drifts from entering hutches.

3. Stock up on bedding

  • Keeping calves warm is the main priority during winter.

  • Having additional bedding will help to keep calves warm.

  • Ensure that the bedding is clean and dry.

  • Optimal winter bedding should be deep enough to cover the calves' legs when they are lying down.

  • Have a protocol in place to inspect the bedding everyday to ensure calves are warm.

4. Prepare calf jackets

  • Calf jackets are important to help maintain body temperature in calves up to 3 weeks old.

  • Ensure all calf jackets are clean, dry and in good condition.

  • Order them early as they usually run out very fast during winter season.

5. Make sure you have proper ventilation

  • Calf ventilation is very important especially during winter.

  • Evaluate your indoor calf housing ventilation system before winter as it allows you some time to adjust or upgrade if needed.

  • For optimal calf ventilation, there should be a minimum of 4 air changes per hour.

  • Keep hutch vents open to allow air exchange to remove bacteria or any ammonia build up.

6. Make sure feed buckets are protected

  • Feeding excess water or starter can cause bucket to freeze, which will decrease nutrition intake of calves.

  • Adjust by feeding smaller amounts more frequently to avoid frozen bucket and keep feed fresh throughout the day.

  • If needed, have protective coverings for outdoor buckets to reduce contaminants.

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