It has been a difficult spring weather-wise for calf rearing.

We have experienced wind, rain, sleet and snow, as well as high and low temperatures, sometimes all within a 24-hour period.

One thing that calves do not like is changeable weather.

It takes them a while to adjust and no sooner have they settled, the weather changes again.

High wind last weekend caused a chill to get into one of the calf sheds on the Thrive demo farm.

The result was a couple of cases of high temperatures and pneumonia.


Farmer John Hally was quick on the case and, thankfully, things have settled down once again.

The fact that the calves are vaccinated for pneumonia means that they are easy to cure than if they were not.

I have spoken to a few farmers who have also reported the odd case of pneumonia over the past seven days.

Next week's weather

Keep a close eye on calves over the weekend and early next week, with temperatures once again set to dip for a few days, with nighttime temperatures below freezing in some instances.

It is important to keep a thermometer on hand at all times when rearing calves. Anything that you are suspicious about should be checked.

The normal temperature range of calves is typically 38.5°C to 39.5°C. Anything above this requires attention.

If you have planned a day of disbudding for the bank holiday, it may be best to give it a miss until the weather settles once again. Disbudding can cause stress on the calf. This, combined with poor weather conditions, may overburden the immune system.

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