Your mother may have made you wear those ear warmers your grandma knitted in your childhood. Here, in this story farmers are protecting their adorable animals from dangerous weathers with knitted clothing. Young calves get the most attention since they are the most susceptible to these dangers. Twitter user @ThisFarmingMan_ recently shared a picture of one especially cute calf with pink earmuffs and the image has over 170K likes and has people obsessing with the baby cow fashion trends.

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These calves need to be protected from the cold as it can lead to severely frostbitten body parts as well as hypothermia and even death. Dr. W. Dee Whittier wrote in a paper called Calves and the Cold “Frostbite is the damage to body tissues that occurs when these tissues freeze. The extremities are most at risk. Frozen ears and tails result in changes of cattle appearance but do not affect cattle performance significantly.” The calf must be put to sleep if it freezes its feet, or it will die.

Image credits: WFDF2016

Dr. Whittier said, “Newborn calves are most at risk because they are wet and because they have a large surface area in relation to their total body mass. Calves are not fully capable of maintaining temperature the first several hours of life. Newborn calves have a circulatory system that is less able to respond to cold changes as compared to more mature animals.”

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Weather conditions can severely effect on the risk of frostbite and hypothermia with wind often being the biggest factor. “The effect of wind is often referred to as wind chill and tells how living things ‘feel the temperature.’ Wind chill is often many degrees colder than the actual temperature. Humidity has a large effect on cold as well since humid air can take more warmth away from animals.”

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Dr. Whittier recommends the following to treat frostbite in cattle:

  • You need to detect frostbite early and examine newborn calves carefully when conditions create a risk. There is a significant risk that feet may be experiencing damage as well if ear-tips are frozen.
  • Then thaw tissues very quickly. Big damage can occur during the thawing process. Ice crystals form that damage all tissues. A fast thaw decreases ice-crystal time.
  • Re-freezing must be prevented once tissues are thawed. This nearly always means housing with heat for several days. These tissues will re-freeze very easily because of damage to circulation from the initial freezing.
  • Tissues that will recover from freezing need to keep warm. There have probably been enough damage so that blood supply is gone and the feet or other parts will become gangrenous if tissues are cold to the touch the next day.

Image credits: PPPShowCattle

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Image credits: kwqc

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Image credits: PPPShowCattle