Purdue Extension Corner
Within the last few weeks my family’s farm has acquired several new additions. I have also heard several area farmers talk about having their own new additions to care for. These new additions are often bright-eyed, muscular, adventurous newborn livestock. However, sometimes these new additions are weak and lifeless. No livestock producer wants to go out to the barn in the morning to find a lifeless newborn, so here are some helpful hints...
Everyone is aware of the cold temperatures, wind, snow, and icy conditions we have been experiencing in Indiana. Those conditions are hard on newborn livestock, therefore it is important that prevention is taken to prevent the newborn from getting frost bite or freezing to death. The biggest factor that can contribute to frost bite is wind. Thus, it is important that newborn animals are protected from the wind. While protecting them, try to prevent them from lying on snow, ice, or even the cold, frozen ground. That is because while they are lying there, they will be losing much more body heat than if they are resting on dry bedding.
If you do find yourself having to deal with a cold newborn with frost bite or hyperthermia approaching, take note of the following suggestions. Try to thaw the tissue as quickly as possible since most of the damage from frost bite occurs during thawing. One approach to quickly warm a newborn is by placing it on the floor board of a pickup truck with the heater on high. Another approach is to use a hair dryer. By using the hair dryer, you are both warming the animal and drying it off which is important. If the animal is not wet, but is cold, you can try using a heat lamp. Once you have the animal thawed and in good condition, take special precautions to prevent it from being impacted by the cold again.
Besides worrying about whether or not your new addition is protected from the weather, you should also be worried about whether or not it is receiving colostrum. Colostrum is considered “the first milk” that the newborn should consume after birth. However, it is actually more similar to blood than milk. It helps the newborn maintain and generate the heat it needs. It provides them with immunoglobulin which helps prevent infection. It is important to make sure that your newborn is nursing from its mother within two hours after it is born. If you don’t see it nurse, try to get the animal up and assist it with the nursing process to ensure that it receives colostrum.
As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension Office at 812-448-9041 in Clay County, or 829-5020 in Owen County. You can also reach me directly via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Purdue University is an equal opportunity/ equal access/affirmative action institution.
Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:
•February 23 – Indiana Sheep Symposium. Visit www.indianasheep.com for more information.
•February 23 – Beyond the Garden Gate, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Putnam County Fairgrounds. Cost is $60. Call 765-720-5212 to register (six Continued Education hours for Master Gardeners)
•February 27 – On Local Government 2013 State Budget, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Clay County Extension Office. Call 812-448-9041 to sign up.
•March 2 – Junior Pork Day, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Purdue University.
•March 7 – Pasture Management Program, 6:00 p.m., Clay County Exhibit Hall. Cost is $5. Call 812- 448-9041 to sign up.
© 2009-2016 Spencer Evening World, Inc.
No commercial reproduction without written consent.
Electronic reproduction of any kind forbidden without written consent.