- Regroup cows on expected calving date.
- Keep incalf heifers in a separate group.
- Assess your tag supplies and order more where necessary.
- Check calving jack, ropes, navel dip, castration/disbudding equipment, etc.
- Consider buying new calving ropes, they aren’t expensive and you’re better to have spares to allow for disinfection between calvings.
- Prepare extra space/pens for calved cows.
- Where possible, muck out, wash and disinfect calving pens.
- If bedding has been used sparingly this winter, increase the frequency ad quantity of bedding used to ensure a clean dry environment.
- Erect calving pens and prepare them for the first calf. This is better done pre calving than in the middle of the night.
- Ensure the mineral status of the ration is appropriate, bleeding cattle to assess mineral status is worth discussing with your vet.
At Start Of Calving
- Move newly calved cows out of the dry cow group daily, grouping cows on calf age.
- Tag by 20 days at the very latest, tagging earlier will aid management.
- If you are using rubber rings for castration, do this by 7 days.
- If you are using dehorning paste, apply this by 7 days.
- Increase rations for calved cows and if close to turnout supplement with magnesium.
- For those who are calving at 2 years old, keep calved heifers separate from mature cows and feed them the equivalent of 1 – 2 kg more concentrates per day compared with cows.
- Erect a calf “refuge” in every pen of calved animals using temporary electric tapes/string.
- Keep the calf refuge extremely well bedded.
- Remember to register births.
Robert Ramsay, firstname.lastname@example.org
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