What should I put in my calf pen to keep the calves warm?
This is an article that is meant to discuss the importance of properly keeping calves warm to ensure healthy stock and improve quality of life and yields in a livestock operation.
It will involve some exploration of the products manufactured by ADA Enterprises, which can contribute positively to overall animal health and well-being, as well as specifically help to moderate temperatures that calves feel.
Below, we will talk about keeping calves warm in conditions that change, and how you can best optimize the environment from the ground up to ensure best practices are implemented.
The Importance of keeping your calves warm
‘From the ground up’ is an important distinction – we build products that incorporate the idea that the ground level plays a key role in addressing bacterial spread potential, injuries, and the transfer of cold temperatures, among other concerns. We’ll talk more in depth throughout this article about how raised flooring and specialty engineered products like our calf pens and additional accessory items for livestock operations can improve health and comfort levels for livestock of all types.
And it’s not just about calves in a dairy operation – this is true for most animals in regions and locations where temperatures can range significantly, or where there is a sharp change in temperatures at some point in the growth phase of an animals’ life (most ag operations have this concern).
The bottom line about temperature control is that illness and viral or bacterial spread can be enhanced by conditions which leave animals uncomfortable. It can also be easier for an animal to be affected by a greater level of illness or stunted growth as their body attempts to focus on moderating temperature rather than more important functions at this phase of their lives.
Suffice it to say, for the purposes of this primer article on keeping calves warm in a pen, or designing a program of development for your head of cattle or other livestock animals, temperature moderation, at minimum, contributes positively to animal welfare.
We gather from that: animal welfare improvements generally increase value for the operation. Furthermore, yields can be increased; staff costs and workflow can be improved, and animals will be aligned with better yield cycles and weight gain.
The factors that contribute positively to keeping a healthy, warm pen
Moisture mitigation and proper airflow or improvement of draft conditions are also positive contributors to overall temperature moderation in raising young cattle. When moisture is introduced, especially when in direct prolonged contact with an animal, the incidence and chance for risk of infection or bacterial spread is high.
Bacterial or viral spread can cause concerns with the animal’s ability to maintain warmth, compounding the problem. From a base level, warmth and dryness are important features of a good progressive growth and transfer program for young livestock. The ability to keep them in controlled environments, within reason, contributes to easier achievement of optimal growth rates.
Specifically with regards to individual pens and raised flooring (some of the products we manufacture), the following points are here to consider:
- Keeping a calf off the wet, cold ground, reduces direct cold temperature, and bacterial transfer to the animal, mitigating most of these concerns
- Having an environment that trends warmer rather than colder while simultaneously removing prolonged moisture and allowing for airflow (as with our expanded metal and woven wire products) improves total moderation of that environment over time
- The idea of group pen setups in addition to single calf stalls (you can see an article about that here [insert link to other article from this group of articles]) can help to improve herd conditions as animals can benefit from close contact, as well as herd segregation at different points in the growth cycle
How ADA Enterprises can help you achieve better yields and a more comfortable herd
- Our products elevate the calf from harmful feces/urine/other waste including food waste
- The surfaces of our polyvinyl coated steel products are engineered to be free from rust, mold, mildew, and do not absorb or retain moisture – they are also slip resistant and have a soft cushioning effect
- Additional product add-ons are available for “plug-and-play” changes to the products we offer, to ensure feeding bottles or stall dividers, or feed saving panels can be integrated to improve efficiency and convertibility
- Convertible stalls can improve quality of life and help improve herd function
- Strong stable bases and a solid warranty to back our American Made products
- Easiest market option from a cleanliness and maintenance perspective – our products can be power washed, disinfected easily, and are impervious to mainstream commercial-strength cleaning agents
- No additional blankets, insulation or warming devices under normal conditions are needed (the addition of space heaters or heat lamps can be beneficial – as long as safety precautions are in place). Our polyvinyl coated steel products do not perpetuate a flame, so some additional heat concerns can be mitigated as well
The improvement in calf comfort and the ability to maintain and clean the calf stalls, flooring products and accessories we sell, means that you get better results.
How to improve conditions incrementally and consistently with your herd and the right solutions
Ultimately, the yield of your herd can and will be improved by improving the quality of life of the animals. Early control of disease and systemic improvements in workflow for staff, as well as the ability to add consistency to your livestock operation, will improve the bottom line.
We invite you to reach out to ADA Enterprises to see how we can help you build a program for your dairy calf or swine operation that will improve your return on investment and add real dollars over the short term, intermediate, and long-term goals of your business.
Our professionals are experienced with the type of work you do, and we are servicing thousands of customers around North America – we would love to help bring some insights to you and help you find increased value in your infrastructure.
Our online catalog of products can be found HERE.
Our phone number is 800-533-6033
You can reach us via our contact form HERE.
We look forward to talking to you!