Caring for Our Calves in the Winter

As cold weather settles in, it’s extremely important to closely monitor all of our animals, especially the baby calves on our farm.  Our calves are the future of our dairy farm and of our creamery. It is essential for our future success to provide consistent quality care for each and every calf born.

Although most calves are cared for the same way, we keep a close eye on each individual calf to make sure they are healthy and growing. Brutal Iowa winters increase the calf’s energy requirement. Cold stress may cause calves’ immune systems to be compromised so it is important to take proactive measures to keep them healthy. In cases of severe cold, we have calf coats that we put on newborn calves to lock in their body heat and heat lamps to create additional warmth.

By early December, our calving shed is winterized. Doors are shut and windows are closed as we try to keep out the cold as much as possible. Aside from creating a warmer shelter for the babies, it’s extremely important for us to make sure the calves are getting all of the necessary nutrients they need. This starts with colostrum right after birth and for the first few days of life, followed by whole milk. They receive this food twice per day for the next several months, then transitioning to water, hay, grasses, and grain with vitamins and minerals.

Stay warm out there!

  • Posted by Josie Rozum
  • On January 8, 2018