MANHATTAN, Kan. – Anyone who has been around a cow-calf operation knows, there is nothing like calving season – both for the annual wonder of new life, but also for the difficulties it can bring.
To help producers avoid problems during calving season, Kansas State University Research and Extension veterinarian Larry Hollis provides the following tips.
Feeding. Proper feeding management helps get the cow produce milk well, rebreed quickly, and have a calf born during daylight hours.
Research has shown that cows in a body condition score of 5.5 to 6.5 at calving will nurse well and breed back better than those with lesser body condition scores.
Research has also shown that the time of calving can be influenced by the time of feeding. Feeding late in the evening can result in roughly 80 percent of calves being born during daylight hours.
This makes observation of calving easier and should provide for earlier intervention, if needed.
Observation. Once heifers/cows near their anticipated calving date, start bagging up, begin loosening in the vulvar area or start producing mucous, observation should begin on a regular schedule.
Since heifers are more prone to dystocia problems, they should be observed every two hours to allow for early intervention.
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