Monday, July 28, 2008

Fall Calving 101

Since calving season is creeping up on me, I keep looking for information on a refresher course for calving 101. I found three articles that I really like and intend to pass on to Dad, since he hasn’t calved cows in a non-emergency situation in forty years.

An article from called planning for calving season battle planning. The vet interviewed for the article made a lot of sense and had good tips for pre- and post-calving. He also talks a lot about minimizing physical (environmental) and disease risks in the cow herd. Read it here.

Cowboy Obstetrics” was by far the most comprehensive article I’d read in awhile. I liked how it went from prep, to delivery, to cleaning and when each of those events should take place. I also covered what bad signs to watch for. Two things I didn’t know: “less than 2% of calving difficulties occur in mature cows” and that it’s best for the cow to lay on her left side so the rumen isn’t squashed by the calf.

The third article I liked was through Montana extension. It covered more cow management than calf, but heifers need extra special care during their first pregnancy to be functional cows later in life. I’ve seen several good heifers ruined by bad first calving experiences and poor post-partum management. Get it here.

The last resource I’m into this week for calving information is a book called Essential Guide to Calving by Heather Smith Thomas. I haven’t read this book yet, but I’m placing an order, either at or Thomas is a cattlewoman with fifty years experience and I haven’t seen many books about calving by someone other than a vet. Thought I’d give it a whirl.

So, happy calving to me and to anyone out there who’s prepping for fall babies.