12 Coats for €300 including delivery
A constant supply of fresh air is essential in preventing diseases in new-born calves. The expert advice is a minimum 10 air changes within a building each hour.
This will inevitably mean the temperature inside the calf house is similar to the outside temperature.
However, if the temperature inside is less than 15 degrees, the calf is cold
Ventilation should never be restricted in an attempt to raise air temperature.
Calf coats are the ideal solution to keep calves warm when breathing cold fresh air.
Evaluation of calf coats at Harper Adams University
40 Dec/Feb 2013-14 born bull calves (30 Holstein and 10 Continental X) were purchased at an average age of 17.3 days. The calves were randomized according to breed, age, and weight and were then assigned to one of the two treatments, a) control b) coats fitted. All calves were housed in individual straw bedded pens:
All calves were fed warm milk replacer. Calves were offered ad lib early weaning concentrates and weaned at day 42. Coats were removed at weaning and the calves were moved into a group pen until 12 weeks.
· There was a lower incidence of scours in calves with coats (25.0% vs. 57.1%).
· Overall, the calves with coats gained an extra 5.3kg from start to week 12.
· Coat bloom score was improved with coats together with an improved faecal score.
· The calves with coats had lower concentrate feed intakes but still recorded higher weight gain. This resulted in a significant difference in the Feed Conversion Ratio of the 2 groups.
· Total feed costs per calf with coat was £2.90 less than calves without coats.
These calves were bought it so only had coats fitted at 17 days old. It is reasonable to surmise that the differences in performance would have been even bigger if the calves had been fitted with coats from birth.
Last rib girth measurements are an indication of rumen development. The calves with coats recorded significantly improved rumen development which is consistent with higher growth rates and development.
The calves without coats consumed 9.2kg more feed from start to 12 weeks. It is assumed that the increased feed intake with the calves without coats is due to feed required for maintenance and warmth due to the cold weather associated with January and February.
The temperatures within the calf house were recorded by a data logger. The mean temperatures for January, February, March and April were 6.6°C, 7.3°C, 9.5°C and 11.6°C respectively. The months of January to April 2014 were regarded as relatively mild compared to ‘normal’. A colder winter would probably have been more uncomfortable for the calves without coats.
Total feed costs per calf were reduced by £2.90 per calf and feed cost reduced by 13p/kg gain with coats.
“It can be concluded that calf rearers should use calf coats with December to February born calves. Coats may also help calves with transition to a new unit and with rearing systems based on outdoor hutches”