Comfort is King
Calf health and well-being is important to farmers and they take great measures to provide the best for their cows.
Last summer, I had the opportunity to help design and build a new calf facility for one of my farmers. We designed it to keep the calves clean and the building “airy”, which is important to calf health. The walls could go up and down to let the sun shine in or keep the cold, Michigan winter air out.. It was bedded with clean wood shavings. The calves were clean and their coats shiny. We thought all was good.
Time passed and we noticed the calves weren’t thriving. It seemed the calves were healthier in their former homes, calf hutches. It was time to find out why!
I got out my thermometer to check temperatures. I knelt down on the shavings to examine the calves.
Immediately, I looked up at the farmer and said, “I know what the problem is. Kneel down.”
He looked at me with bewilderment, but followed suit.
“What do your knees feel like?”
“My knees are cold,” he said.
“Exactly. If you’re cold, the calves are cold.”
So, we switched to thick, yellow straw bedding and the calves thrived.
Moral of the story: Dairy farmers do what is needed to keep their cows healthy and well cared for. Farmers know that if they aren’t comfortable, the animals aren’t comfortable.