cold weather calving ?

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tncattle

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I know it gets much colder in many of y'all's neck of the woods. Anyway, got a friend who has nine more cows due to calve anytime. We are supposed to have some near 0 temps in the next few days, anything he can or should do to help the chances of survival for the calves? Or will mama simply know best and just let her do her job?
 

rockridgecattle

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near 0 f? That would be -18 C.
Here is what we do and we live in that climate
A barn where the calf and mother can mother up and clean her calf, dry it off. If needed a heat lamp over the calf. If the calf gets chilled a hot water bottle will help alot, but remember to remove it when it cools off.
Getting colostrum in the calf quicky is the best thing. If the calf is lethargic from the cold, tube with powdered good quality colostrum
If the ears freeze, grab some kerosene in a rag and place it on the ears not rubbing, so draw out the frost. This will work if the freezing it not to excessive.
help by drying the ears. Remember while working with the calf, be safe.
If it is real cold we have been known to hook up the construction heater in the barn to take the chill off. The benifits of having a generator in our calving area. Be safe.
Keep the cow/calf in the barn in a clean pen only until the first suck and dried off. Do not want to risk sickness...iodine navel
Clean the barn between animals
Have ventilation in the barn to reduce moisture.
IF i remember any more tips, I'll post them later
 

rockridgecattle

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we have used ear muffs on the calf. They look like mickey mouse ears that have a velcro strap that goes around the muzzle. They are made out of fleece, strechy so the calf can still suck
calves2008march052.jpg

calves2008march050.jpg

It goes around the calfs head, velcro close. And then a strap down the nose and velcroed around the nose. The strap down the nose is sewn in but under the chin there is a strap with a loop on it. This way it is secure and the cow can not lick it off. Made of fleece it allows the calf to suck
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I agree with Rockridge - but, most important is to get them in an area that they can get out of the wind. Barn is great - but if none available, woods, valley, etc.
Getting colostrum in them ASAP is most important. If calf gets too chilled, they don't get up & suck, than you have real problems. Saving ears is nice, but not critical to their health. Love those earmuffs!
 

dun

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rockridgecattle":1gxvwg8k said:
we have used ear muffs on the calf. They look like mickey mouse ears that have a velcro strap that goes around the muzzle. They are made out of fleece, strechy so the calf can still suck

It goes around the calfs head, velcro close. And then a strap down the nose and velcroed around the nose. The strap down the nose is sewn in but under the chin there is a strap with a loop on it. This way it is secure and the cow can not lick it off. Made of fleece it allows the calf to suck

Do the other calves make fun of him….like Rudolph?
 

I luv herfrds

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If a cow is a good mother nothing needs to be done, but a nice bed of straw for them to lay on is good.
We have a hot box that we put chilled calves in, it has a heater and a blower on the bottom. Saved quite a few calves with that box, we would have lost them otherwise.
Heard putting them in a tub of warm water, not hot works. Catch them soon enough the heater in a truck. Heard of alot of wives losing their hair dryers because of a cold calf.
I really like having them in the barn though, alot less headaches.
Had our barn packed full one year, temp was running at -15 to -30, had to put one cow in horse stalls, she dropped twins. :D
 

cfpinz

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I luv herfrds":2tvrxe9d said:
Heard of alot of wives losing their hair dryers because of a cold calf.

Bought an inverter to run 110 off of the battery of my truck, wife hasn't seen hers since.

Down to 0F it doesn't bother me, just keep an eye on them. I use the dryer if one gets in a creek or something stupid happens.
 

angie1

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I agree ~ 0 is not such a hardship. Make sure the calf is dry, out of the wind and up and nursing. Thats it. Artificial heat should not be used unless absolutely necessary (and sometimes it is). In the barn is nice but not necessary, and only better than outside if it is a clean, dry pen.

If a cow is a good mother nothing needs to be done, but a nice bed of straw for them to lay on is good.
 

Limomike

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Most cows will find a place (if it's available) out of the wind or bad weather when they calve. I dont usually worry about them too much, and have only had one instance where I had to bring a calf into the barn and warm it up. But that was because it was very wet, when it was born and then turned very cold real fast soon after.
 

mnmtranching

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Like the Northern climate people have said. 0 degrees with dry out of the wind conditions should be no problem. I take a towel if I'm there and wipe down the ears and tail. Froze ears and tail will cost you $50. or more at the sale. First time heifers need more attention and should be watched. Below 0 temps I use a warm up box with hair dryers and heat according to temps, dries the calf fluffy in about 1 hr, then it can handle dry out of the wind conditions to -40.
 

Bez+

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Still trying to get back to even.
I generally take a wrap of duct tape and stick it the calf's head - holding the ears flat against it's head - they never seem to freeze.

Mom will eventually lick the tape off - never seems to hurt the moms.

Otherwise as long as they are off the snow and out of the wind I leave them be.

Every now and then we might have to help a calf - but not too often.

Wind is the killer and lying on snow or wet beds is the next worse in my opinion.

If it sucks it will make it.

We calve on grass now.

Bez+
 

angus9259

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Out of the wind and dry and up and sucking. Probably the biggest one is up and sucking. I lost one earlier this winter that wouldn't suck. Had twins this morning that won't suck. Been tubing them with colostrum all day - put them in the truck to warm up and dry off. Have them in a pen with straw and momma. Straw and momma should be enough, but it seems like "should be's" meet with a whole lot of exceptions . . . at least on my farm.
 

Kate

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Love the earmuffs! We've saved many of them by bringing them in and warming with a blanket out of the cloths dryer. We keep putting old blankets in the dryer keeping them warm and rubbing the calf with them. In about an hour or 2 its up and jumping around!
Be ready to get them outside when they warm up! :banana:
 

jkwilson

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angus9259":10jgp1ej said:
Out of the wind and dry

That's the biggest part. If the weather is nasty, (below about 15F and windy or rain/sleet/snow)I put mamas that even look like they're thinking about calving, into a stall at night. Not for the calves sake, but mine. The hay feeder is set up so I close one gate and they are trapped, and I just sort what I want in a few minutes. If it's nasty I don't want to go traipsing around in the cold looking for a missing cow, and if they are in the barn, I can check them in my houseshoes.
 

bandit80

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My cattle are due to start calving with the heifers the 1st of Feb. I will always have some starting 10 days early, so I am accustomed to cold weather calving.

If the temp gets down to 0, I try to keep a real close eye on them and get them up in the barn if need be. The big thing is the wind. If they are out of the wind and get up and nurse quickly, they usually are alright. Otherwise, they need to be in a place out of the wind, and have a good clean place to lie down. Sometimes a little straw in an appropriate place out of the wind will make the perfect place for a momma and new baby to lie down.

15 degrees F seems to be my breaking point. Colder than that, and I try to be sure they are up in the barn and/or have a good place to lie down. I.e. straw to lie down in.
 

BAR_R

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Has anyone else ever noticed that you can have a cow looking for all the world like she is going to pop at any minute and when you get her in the barn with warmth, her own water, fresh small sq hay from the loft and no real pressure they seem to back up and hold onto that calf?

We have had two moms this year go over their due date by more than a few days. I wonder if being out of the weather stress induces them to not calf as quickly? Would it be similar to a human female who is put on bed rest to slow her contractions?
 

dun

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Could be they're not as comfortable in their new surroundings without the rest of the herd.
 

grubbie

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Our cows calve in weather like that every year, outdoors with no protection but sagebrush. The only time we interfere at all is if they get chilled down so quick they cant get up and suck. Usually it is cold temps plus wind that does this. If the calf gets up and sucks within the first hour, we don't worry about them any more after that. I can think of once in the last five years we had to bring a calf in to warm up, and that was cause mama went down and couldnt get back up.
 

angus9259

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grubbie":2ucv30l0 said:
Our cows calve in weather like that every year, outdoors with no protection but sagebrush. The only time we interfere at all is if they get chilled down so quick they cant get up and suck. Usually it is cold temps plus wind that does this. If the calf gets up and sucks within the first hour, we don't worry about them any more after that. I can think of once in the last five years we had to bring a calf in to warm up, and that was cause mama went down and couldnt get back up.


That sure hasn't been my experience this year.
 

Alberta farmer

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Used to calve in the winter. When the market decided they didn't want to pay decent money for calves, we switched over to selling as yearlings and started calving in May/June. Sure is a lot less work.
Calves born on grass seldom have "weather issues" to contend with.
Not sure if it is more profitable to do it this way or not? Not sure there is much profit right now, however you do it, but I would never go back to living with the cows all night in January/February!
Still have the barn, maternity pen, hot air blower, space heater, calf box, barn living quarters...just don't use them anymore.
 
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