- Springer mobs should be formed now. A pre-calving blood test is a simple option to check that the cows are actually receiving the minerals that we think we’re giving them BEFORE they start going down.
- Getting a handful of older Colostrum cows checked on the day they calve is also a good way to pick up any milk-fever issues early – even subclinical low calcium at calving will have far-reaching effects into lactation and mating.
- Dietcheck is available for a DCAD check of springers for those using a feedpad system.
- Make decisions quickly when calving cows - the earlier we are called in the birthing process, the more likely we are to have a successful outcome…Remember: Be gentle, use plenty of lube and try to be as clean as possible.
- Have your calving kit ready at the shed - lube/ropes/chains/handles/antiseptic/pulley or jack.
- Have your down cow kit on the bike ready – if your magnesium supplementation is going well, most issues will be low calcium.
- If she’s not up by sunset, there’s likely to be another reason for a cow being down…as per calvings, the earlier we’re called to a sick animal, the greater chance of success.
- RMT colostrum cows to make sure the SCC is good BEFORE they enter the herd.
- Autumn calvers should be hopefully holding their peak and be pregnant now, keeping them fully fed with minimal diet disruption is the main aim for them.
- If you have a long calving spread, consider a second round of scour vaccinations, especially if you have had calf scour issues in the past and/or you are wanting to keep your later calves.
YEARLINGS+/- AUTUMN BORN:
- Yearlings & autumn borns should be drenched coming out of the winter.
- Keep up with feed so they’re all hitting puberty early and mating is a breeze.
- Remember BVD booster vaccinations.
- Autumn borns will be due their lepto/salmonella vaccinations if not already done.
- Setup calf sheds so they’re dry and disinfected. Keep the bobby collection area separate.
- Get a BRIX refractometer to measure your undiluted first milking GOLD colostrum for your calves’ first feed – 22% is the target. Get GOLD colostrum into the calves as soon as possible after birth, before the gut closes and can’t absorb essential antibodies.
- Iodine navel spray – both before they go on the trailer AND before they enter the shed.
- Multimin injection at 24h old is a proven option for an immune system boost resulting in less calf morbidity/sickness.
- Setup a footbath & wear some gloves to minimize any disease spread.
Lastly, it’s a busy time for everyone without getting sick, so: wash hands and change overalls to keep you & your family safe!