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Thrifty tips: Why Goodwill keeps our calves warm

Krista Stauffer for Progressive Dairyman Published on 15 February 2017

Shortly after getting married, I took over the task of raising calves on our farm. One of the first tasks I was given was to head to the local Goodwill store to buy fleece vests.

I was a little taken aback when my husband told me we would be using them to keep the calves warm in the winter. I was very much aware that there were calf coats we could buy, but I also knew that our budget was pretty tight, having just started our farm.

I went to town and began looking through the racks, seeking out the perfect size vests for our calves. Once I arrived home, I couldn’t wait to try them on the calves. To my surprise, they fit well, the calves were warm in them, and – as an added bonus – they were super cute too.

Child and a calf in a vest

We did have a calf coat that my husband had previously purchased, and as much as we liked it, we felt that the vests did just as good of a job at the fraction of the price.

Some tips when purchasing vests:

  • As strange as it sounds, the sizes vary from brand to brand. One of our favorite brands is Old Navy because it is true to size and good quality. 
  • Fleece vests versus “fluffy vests”: The fleece vests tend to be bigger, so if you find a vest that is “fluffy,” you will need to buy a bigger size. The fluffy vests (as pictured with our son in the orange coat) are amazing and more insulated.
  • Jersey and Jersey-Holstein cross calves are typically a child’s size 7/8 or 10 on our farm.
  • Calf size varies from farm to farm, so make sure to purchase a couple different sizes to try on your calves before you go on a shopping spree because you find a lot of cute patterns.

It’s always fun to walk into the calf barn and see bright colors and patterns on our adorable fashionistas. It’s even better knowing they are nice and cozy on these cold winter days.  end mark

Krista Stauffer is a dairy producer from Colville, Washington. Email Krista Stauffer.

PHOTO: Taseyn, age 4, shows off his winter gear while a Jersey calf models a vest. Photo provided by Krista Stauffer.

 

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