Thursday, January 10, 2019

Challenges of Very, Very Cold Weather

During very cold situations (wind chills around 10F or -12C)) when feeding in outdoor calf hutches I found that in order to feed 105F(41C) milk replacer mix (I was feeding about 90 (340L) gallons of milk mixed in three 30-gallon (114L) barrels) I could not mix all three barrels at one time. If I mixed all three barrels at once and took them outside the last calves fed received about 70F (21C) milk.

In order to avoid feeding cold milk I had to mix just one barrel at a time. I would mix one barrel, go outdoors and feed it. 

Then, come back inside the utility barn, mix another barrel and feed that and repeat for the third barrel.

On days like this I fed water as soon after milk replacer feeding as practical - about 5 or 10 minutes.  The calves were usually still standing up. Amount warm water fed? With some practice I could guess at an amount of water close to consumption - only a quart (.9L) for young calves and proportionally  more for older ones. At the end of the milk/water feeding routine I went back through and dumped any water that the calves did not drink.

As you might suspect, I really did not look forward to feeding milk in these very frigid conditions. The calves? When fed enough they stay healthy and grow beautifully in a clean dry hutch even in frigid conditions.  

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