When calves are born, they need three things:

1. Air
2. Heat
3. Food

As the temperature decreases and the wind chill increases, the window for newborn calf care shrinks. Now is good time to remind everyone working in the maternity pen of the following items:

  • Get the calf warm and dry.
  • Make sure the calf is sternal (on its chest) not laying on its side. Calves that are sitting upright get air to both sides of the lung, increasing oxygen uptake and encouraging movement.
  • Feed a gallon of WARM (105 degree) colostrum within an hour of birth. Do not feed lukewarm or cool colostrum as this will chill the calf and stress the intestinal tract.

Remember that calves that are born alive but die within 48 hours of birth, usually die because of a complication of the birthing process or a poor transition to life outside the womb.

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