It is no small feat to deliver milk or milk replacer at calf body temperature during the dead of winter.
Your primary goal is to deliver milk or milk replacer at 105˚ F, a few degrees higher than the calves’ body temperature. To help you accomplish this, try these tips from the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute in Chazy, N.Y.:
• When mixing milk replacer, make sure that the water is at the proper temperature according to label directions.
• Use a fast and accurate thermometer to evaluate the temperature of the liquid when mixing and as the milk replacer is delivered to the calf.
• Mix up small batches (five or six calves at a time) so there is less time for the milk replacer to cool down before it is fed to calves.
• In extremely cold temperatures, mix the milk replacer with a portion of the total water needed, according to the temperature on the label directions. Add the rest of the water needed for that batch at a higher temperature so that by the time it gets to the calf it is at 105° F.
• Keep your mixing-to-feeding times consistent to achieve the goal of delivering the liquid at 105° F.
“A 30-gallon barrel of 120° F milk replacer exposed to low temperatures and high winds can chill to 40° F in 30 minutes,” says Sarah Morrison, research intern at the Miner Institute. “With that in mind, you want to find the amount of time it takes the milk replacer to drop to 105° F, and that would be the amount of time you have to get the milk to the calves.”