Calf health tips during cold weather

Patrick DonohoeGeneral News, Producer news

With calving well under way on most farms, Majella McCafferty from the LacPatrick Dairies Farm Advisory Team offers top tips on keeping calves healthy during this cold spell.

Temperatures are set to get as low as -7°C this week as Storm Emma and the so-called Beast from the East storm hits the country.

Calves are especially vulnerable at this time so farmers need to take preventative action to ensure calf health is protected.

For calves under three weeks, it is advisable to feed an extra 1l of whole milk (or 125g of milk powder) per day if temperatures are 0°C or below.

Farmers also need to look closely at ventilation and heat sources.

The more energy the calves utilise to keep warm, the less energy they have towards immune function and growth and will use to produce body heat.

As a guideline, maintenance energy requirements increase by 1% for each 1°C drop below the LCT(lower critical temperature below 10°C). This also depends on wind chill, humidity, drafts and so forth.

Calf jackets can also help to support body temperatures particularly for new born calf.

If you have concerns over your calves contact your vet as soon as possible.