Best-dressed winter calves

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Newborn calves at MT Farm in Primghar, Iowa, are fashionably warm in the winter. Farm veterinarian Simon Timmermans, Sibley, Iowa, encourages his clients to buy sweatshirts, sweaters and vests at thrift stores, typically under $2 apiece, and put them on newborn calves when the average temperature falls below 40 Fahrenheit.

Timmermans prefers the sweatshirts because they stretch and cover more of the leg. Boys’ or girls’ sizes fit calves well. If you don’t want to cut off long sleeves, sweatshirts with zippers work well.

Timmermans says the extra warmth pays as calves that wear the sweaters typically weigh 8 pounds more at one month of age due to reduced maintenance energy needs.

Wash the garments between calves or if they become too soiled. Keep them on until the calves are eating 1 pound of calf starter per day, which is usually around four weeks of age, Timmermans says.

Portions of this tip were taken from a calf nutrition roundtable sponsored by Alltech.

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