Getting ready for calving checklist

Spring calving is just around the corner! As the season approaches, it is crucial to prepare your cows for a successful and healthy birth. Here are some tips to help: 

  1. Evaluate your grazing management. Ensure your grazing management is adequate for the calving season. Set up a calving paddock in a dry, well-drained area close to the shed. 

  2. Monitor your cow's body condition. It is important to monitor your cow's body condition during the calving season. Ideally, they should have a Body Condition Score (BCS) of 5 (5.5 for heifers) to ensure a successful calving. A lower BCS can increase the risk of dystocia, or other calving problems and flow on to poor mating outcomes. 

  3. Provide adequate nutrition. Ensure your cows have access to adequate nutrition by managing your pastures well. You may need to supplement their diet with hay, silage or other feed sources if the pasture is lacking in nutrients. Don’t forget magnesium and calcium too!  

  4. Keep an eye on your cows. During calving season, cows may experience stress due to inclement weather, changes in stockmanship with new workers, and social stress (heifers integrating with older cows). Signs of stress include reduced feed intake, decreased milk production and unusual behaviour. Be sure to check their udders regularly for early signs of mastitis, such as swelling. This will help you identify any potential problems early and address them before they become more serious. 

  5. Be prepared for emergencies. Despite your best efforts, calving complications can still occur. Make sure to have essential supplies on hand, such as clean towels, disinfectant, lubricant, and calving ropes or jack/pulley. Have a plan in place for how to address any complications that may arise, and know when to call your veterinarian for assistance. 

Calving season requires careful planning and management to ensure a successful outcome. By following these tips and being prepared for emergencies, you can help ensure a healthy calving season for your pasture-based dairy herd. 

Wishing you a successful calving season! 


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