Cold Weather and Livestock – Jan 12, 2021

The cold weather has come south this week. We have had to disconnect water lines to prevent them from bursting.

Cold isn’t so detrimental to animals, as they have a natural fur coat.

However, the cold AND wet can be deadly. It has been raining a lot here, as it does every winter. That means deep mud in a lot of places.

Our newest calf got in the mud Sunday night. It rained all night and was in the 30’s.

Monday morning she was wobbly and her legs were soaked in wet mud. We walked out to her and picked her up. We brought her in the barn and administered warm fluids with a stomach tube.

I like this oral supplement called Diaque. It can be given in a bottle with milk or by stomach tube if the calf won’t take a bottle.

After we finished the skiing care of all the barn chores, I realized this calf needed more than the barn to dry off and warm up.

We made a pallet of an old horse blanket and brought her in by the fire to warm up. When I took her temperature, she was 90°F – way too low.

She took most of the day to warm up. You don’t want to warm them too fast, just a gradual process. We rubbed her and turned her every hour. Her temperature gradually rose about 2 degrees per hour.

After 6 hours by the fireplace, she was ready to go back to her mom. Her temp was stable at 100.5°F and she pooped – a sign her intestines were warm and happy again.

Remember to pay extra attention to new babies when it’s cold and wet.

You should also put elderly or thin horses in the barn or be sure they have a waterproof blanket They have difficulty maintaining body heat as well when it’s cold and wet.

Have a safe winter!

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