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Cow Nutrition In Lead Up To Calving?

13 February 2018

cows eating silage through a feed railThe lead up to calving is a critical period.  Cows should be split by condition and fed accordingly.  This should be done as far in advance of calving as possible so condition is lost/gained gradually.  Ideally, aim for a condition score of 2.5  for a typical commercial spring calving cow at the point of calving.

Fitter cows near calving:

  • Can still be losing weight right up to calving.
  • Make sure their protein and mineral requirements are met.

Thin cows near calving:

  • Feed separately and give them priority for the best quality silage.
  • Avoid over feeding with concentrates .
  • Reasons why a cow might still be losing weight towards the end of pregnancy:
    • Carrying twins – twins will increase energy requirement by 20-25 MJ/day.
    • Feeding issues e.g. limited access and/or shy feeders.
    • Other health issues e.g. fluke.
    • If concerned, seek vet/adviser/nutritionist advice sooner rather than later.

Mary McDowell,

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