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Drying off wet, cold calves

Nesikep

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well, when calf #1 was born this year, she was born at 4 am in a blizzard (named her Blizzy), and by 6 she hadn't been licked nor had breakfast, so she was rather cold.

it was about 5F (-15C) out, and we had to dry her off, when it's warmer, an ordinary hair drier works well, but when it's that cold, take out a good heat gun, moves less air, but is MUCH MUCH hotter... it's good for your hands while you're working out there too, just be careful with it, it will singe hair really quick, or burn your hands, move it around lots and rub the calf with your spare hand (and keep your hand warm)

As for blizzy, she's got a vertebrae sticking out of the end of her tail, and the tips of her ears are a 3/4" shorter... I'm sure there'll be lots of those around this year with the weather we've been having
 

msscamp

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Works real good in theory, but it's not worth a damn in practicality as I'm betting very few of us have the electricity necessary to work this heat gun. Whatever happened to watching one's cows, an old bath towel to dry them off, and a pop bottle of warm milk to jump start them? I don't profess to speak for others, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
 

Alberta farmer

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I'm not into winter calving now but when I was we had a hot air blower( for show cattle) and we just threw an old sleeping bag over the calf and stuck the nozzle in there. Now this was in a barn not outside.
Sure don't miss being the cow babysitter on those cold miserable nights.
 

newtondak

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While we always want to get a cold calf warmed as soon as possible, I believe that it is possible to warm them too quickly. We still use a bathtub of warm water to warm a really cold calf - then drying off well with towels and keeping warm with a blanket and a electric heater.

We have a "calf-box" type warmer but don't have any luck with just tossing the calf in there and turning on the heat - the towel drying after their "bath" seems to help stimulate them and get them going quicker. We also try to get them up and moving as soon as possible to get their circulation going.

We have experimented this year with using a Colostrum Bolus that also contains Vitamins A, D & E - have found that we can get this down the calf quickly while warming. It is not a replacement for getting colostrum from tube/bottle or cow, but seems to give them a bit of an jump-start. We have definitely seen a difference in the calves that we have given the bolus and those that we haven't.
 

plumber_greg

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For years I have calved in the winter. I force feed them a little milk and some really sweet syrup, about a quarter a gallon, and within a few minutes they are ready to suck. Drying them off is not nearly as important as their core temp. Stick your finger in their mouth, if it feels cold, use the feeding tube and warm them up. You will be amazed how fast they recover. gs
 

Bez+

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plumber_greg":27gii7wz said:
For years I have calved in the winter. I force feed them a little milk and some really sweet syrup, about a quarter a gallon, and within a few minutes they are ready to suck. Drying them off is not nearly as important as their core temp. Stick your finger in their mouth, if it feels cold, use the feeding tube and warm them up. You will be amazed how fast they recover. gs

I also happen to throw a little baby pablum in with that maple syrup - corn syrup works in a pinch - and milk - seems to help - got if from an old guy many years ago.

Regards

Bez+
 

rockridgecattle

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newtondak":1moda36p said:
.

We have experimented this year with using a Colostrum Bolus that also contains Vitamins A, D & E - have found that we can get this down the calf quickly while warming. It is not a replacement for getting colostrum from tube/bottle or cow, but seems to give them a bit of an jump-start. We have definitely seen a difference in the calves that we have given the bolus and those that we haven't.

We like the colostrum boluses too. But they are now hard to find. We liked that it gave the calf the jump start it needed to go to the momma after a hard birth or cold wet entry into the world
 

GMN

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Old rugs are great to use, and putting it into a enclosed shelter with a heat lamp, or other heat source is good too.

GMN
 

RPFarm

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I Actually went out and bought a calf warmer. I think it works great!! Just take your calf and pop him in and turn the heater on. We usually have them in there for about 10 - 30 minutes and the majority of the time they have gotten up before we let them out. Also with it being made out of plastic, the walls and floor heat up faster as opposed to metal, and they are also really strong, so if you get a squirmer he's not going to wreck anything.
 

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