Calving is one of the most important periods in the livestock calendar. Intervention is best avoided when possible, but it is important to recognise when it is needed. Our series of videos 'Calving the Suckler Cow' provides a good insight and is accompanied by a Practical Guide.
There are ways to reduce risks of complications e.g. bull selection for calving ease and dietary management of the in-calf cow. Monitoring body condition scores regularly during the pregnancy will ensure that heifers/cows are not over fat which can cause birthing problems, or too lean, which can have a considerable impact on the quantity and quality of milk produced.
Keeping calving areas clean and freshly bedded will help reduce the risk of disease to the newborn and it is vital that calves receive high-quality colostrum at a rate of 10% of their body weight within 4 hours of birth. Naturally, this will usually take the calf about 20 minutes of continuous suckling to consume.
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