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Calving Checklist

18 February 2020

Pre Calving

  • 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,

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