We've already experienced tropical temperatures in the month of June. And there's a good chance we’ll be seeing this kind of heat again in July and August. Which is nice, if you want to feel like you're on holiday. Calves, however, find extreme heat less than pleasant. Especially in combination with high humidity. The moisture content in the air is an important contributing factor for heat stroke. A temperature of 22 degrees Celsius and 70 per cent humidity or more is enough to cause severe heat stroke in a calf.
In order to make life more comfortable for calves in the event of high temperatures and/or high humidity, we're happy to offer a few practical tips.
- Be sure to check the buckets/feed and water dishes/troughs regularly. Calves tend to drink more on warm days. Remove the buckets relatively quickly after providing milk, for reasons of hygiene and veterinary health.
- It's a good idea to offer calves a bit less feed when the weather is warm, as they generally consume only 70% of the usual amount on hot days. If the animals on your farm are fed in the afternoon, push the feeding time back to evening. This allows the calves to rest during the hottest part of the day. It also helps calves keep putting all their energy into growth.
- Make sure the calves have sufficient clean straw at all times. Especially when it's hot, a calf hutch is a magnet for bacteria and flies – particularly when the hutch is not kept clean and dry. Muck out the hutches an extra time each day, if necessary, preferably in the early morning or evening.
- If it is absolutely necessary to relocate the animals, this should be done in the early morning. This is because the stress of being moved causes the body temperature of a calf to rise.
- CalfOTel® calf hutches are made from UP polyester equipped with a double-coated white top layer. This top layer reflects sunlight. As a result, the hutch stays cooler than hutches made from other materials.