- Have your calving toolbox ready BEFORE calves start hitting the ground. Here are a few things we like to keep in our calving box:
- Provide shelter for cows and calves that have sufficient bedding, ensuring a decent barrier between the cold ground and the body of a wet newborn calf.
- Some first-calf heifers and cows may need to be in a separate pen with only their calf to encourage bonding and to ensure the calf has the ability to nurse once he is able to stand.
- Adjust your feeding times. Research has shown that cows that are fed in the evenings are more likely to calve during the day.
- Have a plan to warm up calves if the weather is too cold for them to do so, this could be anything from a bathtub with warm running water or a special calf warmer such as a Polydome Calf Warmer.
- Don’t be afraid to call the vet! If you have not seen any significant progress within an hour or so, it’s time to call. The sooner a veterinarian is able to assist, the better the outcome for both mom and calf.
Colostrum (Replacer and Supplement) – probably the single most important component to have on hand! If the calf does not get enough colostrum then their immune system is reduced from the start. You should give 2 quarts of colostrum within the first 6 hours of life, and repeat that process before 12 hours of age. At least 100mg/dL will be required to prevent failure passive transfer. Supplements are used when you know the calf received some colostrum, but you question the quantity of it. A replacer is preferred when you know the calf has not sucked yet.
Bander and Bands