Yesterday’s post was about a different way to identify a calf until the weather is warm enough to put its ear tag in. We have a new way to keep those ears from freezing in the first place.
Why bother about cold ears?
Wet, newborn ears can easily get frozen, then fall off. When they’re ready for the sale barn, buyers will dock you quite hard for missing ears. It’s not like there’s a big demand for cow ears. But, in the rare instance there is also hoof problems, cattle buyers are covering their bets.
It’s quite the incentive to keep ears warm and dry.
I first found these on the internet here.We placed a quick order, and a week later had our first calf hoods.
I made some more, just to have plenty on hand for the coming cold front. While those we bought had Velcro adjustments around the nose, I tried to use elastic, which is what I had on hand.
I’d say the Velcro is probably the best way to go, but the elastic works too. So long as the scent on the hood matches the calf, it seems like the cows don’t try to lick it off. The calf’s ears lay flat against the head, and its own body heat warms the ear enough to keep it from freezing. How long you leave it on is up to you, but a few hours, depending on the weather situation, is average.
Since the high today was five degrees, we’ve been happy to use these!