Yesterday morning one of our heifers delivered a beautiful heifer calf. The mom did a great job bringing her into the world but didn’t take the time to properly clean the calf off. My husband stepped in to take care of the calf as it was a cold morning and the calf was still wet. Once he had the calf cleaned, he took her to our calf barn & provided her with a heat lamp. He went on to continue with morning chores.
He came back a little bit later to check on her and found her heat lamp on the ground in the shavings smoldering. He quickly removed it and dumped water on it.
Now I am not one to dwell on the “what if” of life but I am still sick to my stomach. Our calf barn is within our primary barn that houses our milk cows. This barn is attached to our commodity bays as well as our shop. The thought of losing even a single animal to a fire is unfathomable. We have never had any issues with the way we use heat lamps or how we attach them in order to use them. This time, something went wrong, probably something very simple. Things happen, that is the fact of life. We will take this mishap and all of what could have been and turn it into a friendly reminder to our fellow farmers. Although we are not sure exactly how the lamp ended up on the ground, I have a few things I would like to point out:
- Make sure all extension cords are in excellent condition with no exposed wires.
- Make sure when using heat lamps that they are securely attached so they do not fall to the ground.
- Make sure they are out of reach of animals especially calves! Even an hour old calf can be very curious.
- Make sure when using heat lamps or extension cords to check on them as frequently as possible.
- Make sure to never be too trusting of anything electrical in your barns.
Although these may seem like commonsense, sometimes it is nice to have these reminders. I am very thankful that this wasn’t a post of a horrible tragedy. I am even more thankful that we still have all our girls and we can move forward to farm another day.