The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Calving is just around the corner. Now is the time to start gathering supplies, making a list, and checking it twice. You’ll be glad to have prepped everything when the heifers are three weeks early, its midnight, and the north wind is howling. Calving Kit There is no easy way to know what supplies will be needed for each calf born. However, having the items you might need in one place will save time and frustration. Consider using a tote (with a lid) or a toolbox to help keep supplies clean and organized. Moreover, this allows the supplies to be kept in the barn or pickup for quick access. A calving kit should include, but not limited to*

OB chain/straps OB lubricant Halter and rope
OB gloves Record book/pages, pen, pencil Stomach tube
Disinfectant (iodine or chlorexadine) Ear tags, tagger, marker Towels, rags
Bottle and nipple Tattoo gun, ink Syringes, needles

*extensive suggested lists can be found online with a simple search, key words calving check list If you plan to use veterinarian-approved injectables, check in with your veterinarian to discuss options and refresh on proper dosages and administration. Also, verify that any injectables you have on hand are not expired. Calving Area Prior to the start of calving season, do a walk-through of the calving area and/or pens.

  • Inspect your calving area/pens, is your setup adequate size to give cows space to calve away from the herd?
  • Check that lights work and are they bright enough to provide good visibility at night
  • Determine if the right panels are in place if you need to restrain a cow to assist or to milk
  • Check for sharp objects at calf level to prevent injury.
  • Inspect the outer walls for gaps or holes that will create drafts.
  • Inventory bedding on hand, will it be enough for your calving season?

Colostrum An emergency stash of colostrum can literally save a calf’s life. The ideal source of colostrum is your own herd. Colostrum can be frozen and stored for up to a year. Freezing in ice cube trays or in thin layers allows for quicker thawing. Thawing in a hot water bath is best as the immunoglobulins are sensitive to high temperatures and will be ineffective. A colostrum replacer can be a good option as well. When shopping for a product, make sure the packaging says replacer and not supplement. A replacer is formulated to be fed as the only source of colostrum. A supplement is formulated to be fed along with colostrum from the cow. As such, the colostrum supplement provides a lower level of immunoglobulins when compared to colostrum replacer. With a little bit of pre-work, calving season can truly be a most wonderful time of the year. We at Kent, wish all producers a wonderful and mostly trouble free calving season, and all the best in 2023.

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