2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1, Page #38[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
“Moo Muffs” Keep Calf Ears Warm
“Moo Muffs are nylon on the outside with fleece on the inside so the calf stays warm and dry,” says Holly Poad, co-owner of Moo Muffs. “One of my calves had one on in freezing rain and the inside stayed absolutely dry.”
After a fire in January, 2016 destroyed the Poads’ beef cattle barn, Poad looked for ways to keep calves warm when they were born in February. She tried to protect their ears with a calf cap made of fleece but it got wet, stretched out, and wouldn’t stay on.
She collaborated with her business partner and aunt, Kim Ewers, who has an embroidery shop. Ewers used nylon and fleece material to create a prototype that Poad tested on her calves.
As soon as the calf is born, Poad either lets the mother lick the calf dry, or when it is extremely cold, she dries the calf herself. Then she puts the Moo Muffs on, generally for 2 or 3 days, until the calf is acclimated. Moo Muffs can stay on longer, and they fit every size calf she has had so far.
“It adjusts in three spots with industrial Velcro®,” Poad says. The design allows the calf to nurse easily and yet is sturdy enough to stay on.
After making adjustments to get the design right, and testing it, she posted Moo Muffs on Facebook. She was showing cattle at a Denver stock show at the time and the response was immediate. A Wisconsin beef producer purchased five Moo Muffs and told a television news reporter about them, who was doing a story about keeping livestock warm during the frigid winter.
“It completely escalated from there,” Poad says, about the huge response after the story aired. “We didn’t have inventory. and my aunt, my mom and three retired ladies started sewing.”
In June, Poad contracted with a Milwaukee sewing company to make Moo Muffs. Poad takes care of orders and shipping from her farm.
One customer is a Japanese distributor who ordered 100 to test the market. Other customers include Western ranchers who don’t even bother with taking the muffs off to save them. By protecting the ears from freezing at the tips, cattle aren’t docked when they are sold, which more than makes up for the cost of the Moo Muffs.
Moo Muffs cost $22 each, $65 for 3, and $100 for 5. Poad sells them through her website, and through a couple of dealers. She is open to adding more dealers, especially in Canada.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Moo Muffs, 30626 Hwy. JJ, Lone Rock, Wis. 53556 (ph 608 347-2342; www.moomuffs.com; email@example.com).
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