ANIMAL HEALTH IS ESSENTIAL
Even if we live in a seasonal country, we need to think that summer can create a huge heat stress in calves, especially with the strong heat we know. Farmers will cool down temperature for cows but what about protecting calves? It is really important not ot neglect them as it can affect growth and, in a long term, perfromance once adult.
As the feeling of heat begin around 25oC, you need to pay attention to animal's behavior which may revealed heat stress:
- The baby reduce movement;
- Seems more amorphous
- Eat less (milk, grain and hay)
- Drink more water than usual
- Breathe faster (with mouth open)
Obviously, the young calf will spend its energy trying to cool down its body temperature and, this lost energy will not be used for its growth. If you add dehydration and the fact that the animal eats less, you have a high risk of getting sick.
HERE'S FEW SOLUTIONS TO HELP YOU BEAT THE HEAT STRESS
Make sure to have enough fresh water at all time to avoid dehydration. In nursery, single water bowl as model 10P or compact trough model 6140 from Suevia will provide necessary water needed. If calves are in a hutch, also make sure that the bucket of water is always clean and full. And place it in the shade to prevent it from heating up too quickly.
In nursery, a good airflow is essential to counter heat stress and calf discomfort. There are several products on the market for cool down temperature in hot weather. Having pens or hutches with a system for air circulation is also a good option. You can also add foggers which will diffuse a light mist on animals.
Hutches for Outside Installation
Choosing a calf hutch is not trivial, as the material and configurations can make a difference. A plastic hutch (and especially not with a metal roof) is a great choice, but make sure the plastic is completely opaque. Poor quality or too thin plastic will not block sunlight and heat will quickly build up inside the hutch.
A hutch should also have good ventilation to allow air to circulate freely. Agri-Plastics hutches offer all of these benefits.
In hot weather, replace mulch regularly to keep it dry and clean.
Orient the front of the hutch to the north to prevent direct sunlight inside during summer.
Install hutches in the shade as much as possible.
You can also add big removable fans during hottest weather.
You can read an article on this topic in the Progressive Dairyman Canada magazine in month of May 2021 : https://www.progressivedairycanada.com/digital_edition/2021/05/viewer/desktop/#page/52