by Kelly Driver
Let’s kick off this second round of handy hints with a few items related to the warmer summer temperatures that have arrived. As I write this blog, we are experiencing temperatures in the mid-90°F range and everyone is warm…calves and their caregivers. Read on farther for some more handy ideas I have observed on different farms recently. Dairy farmers are certainly some of the most innovative and creative people to know.
Fresh, Cool Water
Fresh, clean, cool water is one of the most important things we can deliver to calves during high temperatures to help with heat stress. In the photo on the left, the Calf-Tel starter bowl is used to encourage the youngest calves to drink water sooner in the shallow dish. The calf on the right is drinking a mid-day delivery of electrolytes from the gray colored direct attach fence pail. Many calf caregivers prefer lighter colored pails to keep water cooler in the summer.
Shade can’t be emphasized enough to help calves in hot weather. Pictured below are two different examples of ways we see producers provide shade on the warmest days.
Calf caregivers are always clever when thinking about ways to help get more fresh air to calves. The picture on the left is from the western United States where they built a platform for their hutches to sit on allowing calves to enjoy the gentle breeze via the mesh floor under the hutches, while also providing the shade inside the hutch. On the right, we see producers retrofitting the Calf-Tel Lower Rear Vent Kit into a hutch, allowing for better air flow at calf nose level when they are laying down. These kits are available at calf-tel.com or your local authorized dealer.
Do you have old rubber mats from your cow barn? This producer put them to use with their hutches to provide a barrier that minimizes the mud and mess in front of the hutches. They also use them in the hutches with wood shavings for calf comfort in the summer heat.
Latches & Gates
Are you looking for a way to load calves more efficiently onto a trailer after weaning? This producer installed clips on the corner of each fence panel so they can just swing the front back and bring calves out. They also made the laneways between hutch rows wide enough to back the cattle trailer through easily, loading one calf at a time.
Take a look at this homemade pail washer! This innovative calf raiser mounted a spinning brush into a sink and powered it with a small motor to help speed the process of cleaning calf pails regularly at their facility.
Dehorning Past Tape
Are you using dehorning paste and concerned about other calves licking it off their pen mates? We really liked this idea of putting short strips of duct tape over the paste application to prevent others from ingesting the caustic paste. By the time the tape falls off, the horn bud spots are generally healed nicely.
At Calf-Tel we are passionate about helping calf raisers accomplish their goals easily. If you have tips and ideas that you would like to share with others, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow Calf-Tel on Facebook.
Kelly Driver, MBA has been involved in the New York dairy industry all her life. In addition to raising dairy calves and replacement heifers, she is the Eastern US & Canada Territory Manager for Calf-Tel. Feel free to contact her at email@example.com with your calf questions or suggest a topic you would like addressed in a future blog.