Meanwhile back at the ranch

It may still be winter, but spring calving is underway. There are several steps to take to ensure calves survive the cold and wet weather. (Photo courtesy Rayford Pullen)

By Rayford Pullen,

While it’s the dead of winter, spring calving is under way and keeping those newborns alive and doing good can often be a challenge, particularly with first calf heifers. The biggest challenge is for calves born during cold and wet weather that are unable to maintain body temperature.

On our place we have done and tried many ways to get the body temperature back to normal as quickly as possible and after a year of battling this problem, we elected to purchase a warming box that is completely enclosed and equipped with a forced air heater.

Ever since we bought this device, the winters have been relatively mild and it has only seen action on one occasion. It did its job in about a minute and the calf was rip raring to go.

Before we purchased this tool, we did several things. First, drying the calf off as soon after birth as possible, next, putting the calf in the floorboard of the pickup with the heater on high and then, if needed, putting the calf in the bathtub in warm water. This can be particularly dangerous if you do not have your wife’s blessing before bringing the calf into the house and placing it into the bathtub because in most cases, there will be a significant mess made.

To read more pick up a copy of the February 2019 NTFR issue. To subscribe call 940-872-5922.