How to Use Calf Jackets
Calf jackets let calves use their energy to grow and fight disease rather than keep warm. They reduce the need for anti-biotics and improve profitability.
Suggested Calf Jacket Protocol
Introducing calf jackets
- Locate max / min thermometer in calf house.
- Reset thermometer every morning during autumn / winter housing.
- Decide at what temperature you will start using calf jackets. 10 °C is commonly used.
- Agree a starting protocol with staff. For example if the minimum temperature is below 10°C for3 consecutive nights
- Dry calves off before using jacket.
- Place a clean jacket on every calf under 1 week old and on entry to the calf house.
When to remove calf jackets
When to remove the jackets is depends on the condition and appetite of each calf and the expected weather conditions. The jackets can safely be left on the calves until they are 4 weeks old or they grow out of them.
- Check the weather forecast – beware of removing the jacket too early if temperatures are forecast to fall.
- Check recent night-time minimum temperatures.
- Agree with staff a temperature protocol for health calves – eg 1 week old remove if over 10°C, 2 weeks old remove if over 5°C.
- Consider the condition of the individual calf; feed intake, health, growth rate.
- Remove the jacket in the morning not the afternoon.
- Wash jacket according to instructions.
How to fit a calf jacket
Ideally fit the jackets whilst the calf is feeding to avoid over handling and causing stress.
- Place jacket over back of calf.
- Fasten the chest clips. Adjust if necessary.
- Fasten the belly straps. These can be crossed or left straight.
- Adjust the belly straps to allow hands width (about 4 inches) between the calf’s belly and the strap to allow for the belly to expand when lying down.
- Check belly strap length regularly for growth.
- Attach the leg straps. Crossed is best.
- Shorten leg straps to allow free movement but not hanging loose.
How to wash calf jackets
- Wash jackets every time you change the calf wearing it.
- Pre-soak or hose lightly with a pressure washer if heavily soiled.
- Use normal washing machine detergent and machine wash at 40 to 50 degrees centigrade.
- Do not bleach.
- Line dry or hang overnight in an aired room.
- Do not tumble dry.