The Right Animal Bedding For Newborn Calves

Calves, just like human babies, struggle to regulate their body temperature, particularly when they are newborn. As they grow, their body temperature regulation improves and they are more able to adapt to the natural conditions that they are surrounded by, although they do still benefit from some assistance when the outside temperatures are particularly low.

Newborn calves are not equipped to deal with the struggles created by a much colder environment, so it is important to ensure that they have appropriate housing, bedding and nutrition to help them during their early stages.

The temperature range within which a calf, or any other animal requires no additional energy, over that that normal metabolism requires is referred to as the thermoneutral zone. When temperature in the surrounding environment falls below this threshold then a calf will use energy to keep warm that it needs for healthy development. In order for a calf to grow properly it is therefore important to ensure that this does not happen.

There are a number of other factors that come into play here, namely wind speed, quality of bedding and moisture. In colder temperatures for example, a wet newborn calf is at a much greater risk of getting to a lower critical temperature. The right bedding material, however, can assist in acting as an insulator helping to reduce the heat that a calf loses when it is lying down. In addition to this it is important to ensure that there are no draughts at the calf level as this can counteract the effectiveness of good bedding.
Choosing the right bedding
You should always purchase your bedding supplies from a reputable company like us as we specialise in animal bedding. Our range of sawdust, dairy and beef cattle bedding is some of the best and warmest bedding; it is very absorbent and offers the best insulation for your calves. Buying good quality bedding is one of the best ways in which you can protect your animals.

Calves spend up to 80 per cent of the day lying down, and it has been shown that those calves who lie down for longer periods of time become better performers in the long run. In order for them to do this they need to be comfortable. If they are cold, they will not only be stressed but may have lower growth rates and be more susceptible to disease.

Opt for a good quality bedding and ensure that you use plenty of it, and that it is clean and dry for maximum comfort. It is recommended that it should form a layer that is at least three inches (around eight centimetres) deep. When the calf is lying down it should appear to be nestled into the bedding.

If you opt to use straw for your bedding, which is a great absorber, and may appear dry on the top, it will not always be dry underneath. Kneeling for 20 seconds will show if this is the case, allowing you to add another layer of bedding or replace all of it. Testing for damp frequently will help with the welfare of your animals.

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