These are no Chihuahuas in fancy little coats, but the newborn calves at the MT Farm in Primghar, Iowa are fashionably warm in the winter. Farm veterinarian Simon Timmermans, DVM, Sibley, Iowa, encourages his clients to buy sweatshirts, sweaters and vests at thrift stores, typically under $2 apiece, and put them on the calves right after birth when the average temperature falls below 40F. Timmermans likes the sweatshirts best as they stretch and cover more of the leg. Boys/girls sizes will fit the calves well. If you don’t want to cut off long sleeves, sweatshirts with zippers work well.
Timmermans says the extra warmth pays as calves that have these sweaters on will typically weigh 8 pounds more at 1 month of age due to the reduction in maintenance energy requirements. The garments are washed between calves or if they get too soiled.
Timmermans advises clients to keep them on until the calves are eating calf starter at 1 lb per day which he says is usually around 4 weeks of age.
Portions of this practice tip were from a calf nutrition roundtable sponsored by Alltech.