In Michigan, summer is well on its way. We are actually just finishing out a week in the 80s, which isn't very common for early summer. With summer comes heat abatement concerns. So often we are concerned with the cows, but calves should also be a concern during the summer.
1. Air circulation
Air circulation is a huge part of heat abatement for calves. Your goal should be to circulate air four times an hour in your calf barns all year long. But during the warmer months, you might need to focus air over the calves in order to cool them. Even the best barns might need extra fans during the summer's hottest days.
2. Fresh, clean water
Make sure fresh, clean water is always available. This may seem like common sense, but it's amazing how quickly calves’ water can get dirty. During these hot days, we need them to drink lots of water, and clean water is better received.
3. Dry bedding
Make sure they always have clean, dry bedding. We are always pushed to make sure calves have lots of dry bedding during the winter to stay warm. They don't need to keep warm in the summer, but dry bedding is still so important in the summer. Dry bedding will help to keep pneumonia and other illnesses at bay, even during the hottest and most humid days of the year.
4. Disease prevention
Check several times a day for any kind of illness. In this heat, illness comes on fast with calves. With their higher surface area, calves cool easier than a cow, but they also can dehydrate faster. That means fast treatment and liberal use of electrolytes through the day are so important.
I hope these tips help your calves beat the heat this summer. Don't forget that heat affects your calves as well as your cows. PD
- Dairy Producer
- Bad Axe, Michigan
- Email Ashley Messing-Kennedy