Calf Jackets by Katie Harrower

Why are calf jackets useful? 

Calf jackets are an aid to help reduce the effects of cold stress on young calves. Cold stress occurs when the environmental temperature that the calf is exposed to is below their Lower Critical Temperature. This means that below this temperature a calf will be using energy for keeping warm which results in reduced growth rates and reduced energy available for immune function making them more susceptible to calfhood disease also.

A calf under 4 weeks of age has a lower critical temperature of 10°C (50°F), therefore the calves that benefit most from the use of jackets are those under 4 weeks of age.

From 4 weeks of age until weaning a calf is more resilient to cold stress and generally will not experience it unless temperatures drop below 2°C (28°F).

We can combat cold stress by reducing body heat loss in cold temperatures through use of calf jackets and/or increasing feed rate to compensate for energy loss.


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