AS TEMPERATURES START TO FALL, extra attention is Needed to protect calves from the effects of the cold, especially calves under 3 weeks of age.
Calf jackets help to keep calves warm, dry and healthy, in the winter when temperatures fall below 15°C. In colder conditions more energy is used to keep warm and therefore less energy is used on growth, development and supporting a strong immune function. Calf jackets do not replace good husbandry – they are an added benefit.
In our new Calf Jackets protocol farmer guide, we highlight areas which are important to consider when purchasing calf jackets and tips on developing your own calf jacket protocol in order to get the full benefit from using jackets.
Calf jackets should be used in combination with good management practises such as providing the calves with a draft free environment, deep dry bedding helping the calf to maintain growth and support a strong immune function, reducing the risk of setbacks in calf health during periods of cold weather.
There are some things to be aware of when purchasing calf jackets. The jackets themselves must:
- Have breathable material
- Be water resistant or waterproof
- Be machine washable.
- Have adjustable straps and fasteners with low maintenance.
Once you have decided to use calf jackets, it is very important to use them properly to maximise their potential. A calf jacket protocol should be set to inform everyone working on the farm what is expected and what should be done. Jamie Robertson has helped us create a Farmer Guide calf jackets protocol which you can download here.
The Feed for Growth programme focuses on 3 key areas – Health, Nutrition and Environment. We have a range of Farmer Guides available to help you, covering everything from dealing with common health problems to feeding and housing your calves.