0201ColdWeatherCalfCaresr.cfm Caring for calves in cold weather
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Caring for calves in cold weather

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Normal milk/milk replacer feeding limit for calves is usually between 1.0 to 1.5 pounds per day. This provides the amount of metabolizable energy needed for the calf to maintain its body weight and grow approximately 0.5 to 1.0 pounds of body weight gain per day.

Metabolizable energy required in normal conditions can be categorized as the amount needed to maintain body weight and the amount required for growth.

Throughout colder weather conditions, the quantity of metabolizable energy needed to maintain body weight increases. As temperatures drop, calves need more energy to generate heat to maintain a constant body temperature to keep warm.

Frigid temperatures combined with insufficient energy may result in weight loss as a means of saving energy to keep warm. If this persists, the calf may eventually lose excess body weight and will starve to death. This form of stress can affect growth rates and nutrition as well as production.

Before the amount of metabolizable energy needed to maintain body weight is increased, it is important to consider the calf's age. As calves get older, they are more likely to be introduced to calf starter. Older calves eating calf starter will experience rumen development and a functional rumen results in production of its own heat. This will also aid in keeping the calf warm.

Calves should be kept in an environment that is clean, dry and draft free. However, it is equally important to ensure calves are being fed the appropriate portions during colder weather in order to generate heat to maintain their body weight.

Date: 3/25/2013



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