Calving Season Checklist
January 11, 2020
It’s a New Year! With it comes new things on the horizon. For cattle producers, that thing is the addition of new life on the ranch. Come February, spring calving season begins. As a rancher, you may be asking yourself, “Am I ready?” The real question to ask is: Are your cows ready? It’s time to evaluate your herd and ranch facilities to ensure the calving season goes as smooth as possible. Certain management tips can help set up the road to a successful calving season.
Body Condition Evaluation. Cows should maintain a body condition score (BCS) between 5.0 and 6.0 during the final trimester. A BCS in that range will allow for easier calving and will also lead to the production of higher quality colostrum. In order to increase your cow’s BCS, start by considering your herd’s diet. Pregnancy takes a toll on a mammal’s body, and the need for more energy-rich nutrients increases. Choose a feed that is high in fat, protein, vitamins and minerals. The quality of the feed chosen is important, too. Just as we humans like to say, “You are what you eat.” Feeding poor quality grains will waste valuable resources, like money and time. Palmer Feed carries a full line of cattle feeds created with quality in mind. Try feeding Palmer Feed’s 20% All Natural Breeder Cubes with a fat content of 2.4%, or if you are looking for an option with higher protein, try Palmer’s 37% All Natural Range Cubes which has a 2.5% fat content. First-calf heifers are still growing while also trying to produce milk. It’s important for them to be in a good BCS range before calving so they will be prepared to milk their calves and rebreed. Visit Palmer Feed & Supply for more tips about which feeds to feed and when for the best results all year round.
Vaccinations. As cows progress into the third trimester of pregnancy, vaccinating with a killed virus will facilitate a boost in immunity; the antibodies formed from the vaccination will pass from cow-to-calf through colostrum. Palmer Feed carries Triangle 10, which is a killed virus vaccine that is safe for pregnant cows regardless of vaccination history. Triangle 10 contains killed viruses of bovine diarrheal disease (BVD) Types 1 and 2, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), leptospirosis caused by Leptospira pomona, L. hardji, L. grippotyphosa, L. canicola, and L. icterohaemorrhagiae and parainfluenza-3 (PI3).
Checklist. The last thing any producer wants is to lose a calf at birth. That means being prepared for birthing is critical to any cow-calf operation. Start by making sure you have a clean calving area, and sanitized tools for birthing. Strip out the base of barns or stalls and apply some lime or new dirt, and clean hard surfaces with a pressure washer or steam cleaner. Following these measures will plan for disease-control.
Follow these tips on preparing for calving season to set your operation up for success!
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