Warm milk keeps the chill away fine, but the first few hours can be critical.
Hot topics, The Purpose Driven Herd

Getting ahead of chills

Warm milk keeps the chill away fine, but the first few hours can be critical.A month ago, I saw the February calving date approaching and thought about all the times I’d seen heifers decide on just the wrong place for the wind and weather, despite ample shelter.

I always tried to right the wrong and at least once each year I brought a chilled calf into my basement office to attempt saving it with towels, hair dryer and space heater. Even tried the bathtub last year when we were about to get a new bathtub. Those various attempts were sometimes disappointing and never easy to attempt, so I looked into buying a calf warming hut.

image3People have built some good ones, and others say they use the pickup heater on the floorboard, but they may have more experience. I decided to go with something proven; I need an automatic calf-sitter when business hours come around and I have to get on a conference call or write or edit something.

There were four contenders we could have for $50 either side of $700, delivered; not knowing enough to differentiate, we went with the lower end and have been happy with it.

Three calves from the heifers have spent a couple of hours each within the thermostatically image2controlled 100-degree hut and enjoyed the momma-and-calf reunions.

A 15-day-early calf was born to the nearby AI cow herd on a 10-degree night, but he was a big and robust calf in no need of extra help.

image4Amazingly, no calves in the last day with the cold and snow, but I do have a waterer to thaw before the rest of the day gets started. Just for the contrast, I’m going to cross-reference this under “hot topics.”

Hope all your calves do well today and everybody enjoys some creature comforts.

Let’s keep building tomorrow together.


blackinksteve Visit Website
A dreamer, lucky enough to see some come true. Rooted in these Kansas hills, I married schoolmate Anne, hunter, fisher, cook, mom, teacher and coach, fellow K-Stater. We make homemade wine and better Angus calves each year. Two daughters are grown now, the eldest in Ireland. Unique son a teacher, too; we’re legal guardians now. Introspective, I love words (pictures, too); trying to avoid groaners, but puns are intended. Obscure Reference Man who likes historical ballads. Well, most music except – pardon my gap – rap. Since 1998, Director of Industry Information for CAB; now Senior Editor, Producer Communications. And so help me, I care.
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