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Help your Calves Beat the Bitter Weather with these Top Tips!

Next week will bring cold weather that we have yet to experience this year.  While there are many concerns on a farm when cold weather strikes, your calves’ well being is undoubtedly one of them. Here are some quick tips from Jeff Geier, resident calf expert on Landmark’s Animal Nutrition team.

  1. Offer clean fresh water several times per day.
  2. Be sure you are delivering the milk bottles to the calves at the proper temperature. Milk can easily cool off between mixing and delivery.
  3. Use calf blankets with young calves or those ones who need a little extra help.
  4. Ensure clean FRESH starter is available
  5. There should be enough bedding for the calf to “nest” and curl up in
  6. Keep all drafts off calves
  7. Make sure there is adequate air movement
  8. NEW CALVES should receive a proper amount of colostrum immediately after birth.

To learn more about managing for cold weather or calf management, call or email Jeff at 608-558-0233 or

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5 Tips for a Warm Flock this Winter

  1. Draft free coop
  • Any drafts can be a major heat loss for your flock in the chilly nights. You can repair drafts with Styrofoam spray but make sure it gets covered afterwards or somewhere the chickens can’t peck at it. Another good option is using plywood. With trying to keep the coop draft free, keep in mind you also need to have good ventilation. Not having the proper ventilation can lead to ammonia and moisture build up.
  1. Deep litter method
  • Using the deep litter method is a great way to help insulate the coop during the winter months. The best way to prepare the deep litter method is preparing the bedding before winter comes. Apply a layer of shavings or organic matter to the floor of the coop. Instead of cleaning/replacing the litter just stir up the bedding with a rake and place more clean bedding on top. Do this until there is about 6in of litter accumulated in the coop.
  1. Proper roosting
  • Make sure that your chickens can roost and there is enough room for all the chickens to roost so they can huddle together to help keep warm. Ideally having a roost that is 2ft off the ground helps insure they won’t have contact with the cold ground.
  1. Feed
  • Feeding them cracked corn or scratch grains as an added supplement at night can help with keeping your flock warm as they digest it.
  1. Help against frostbite
  • During the coldest winter days any breeds that have large combs and wattle are more susceptible to frostbite. To help protect them you can cover their combs and wattles with petroleum jelly.
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