Calves on the farm are always good news. Today we again woke up with some good news and especially after one of our cows testing positive for East Coast Fever.
- Prepare good space for the mother and her expecting calf(ves). It’s best to have small pens for calving cows to be able to deliver and get the newborn calf up and nursing as soon as possible. This is both essential to the good health of the calf as well as the cow’s ability to “claim” the calf.
- Adjust feeding times. Normally, farmers feed grain in the morning, but during calving time it is advisable to switch to evening feeding. This is because it helps get them in the barn, and research has proven that feeding in the evening tends to cause the cows to calve during the day, or at least towards morning.
- Go easy when pulling calves. If you are halfway through pulling a calf and it starts bawling, instinct might compel you to pull harder to get the calf out as quickly as possible. But, that’s the last thing you should do. The calf’s bawling means it can at least breathe, which is most important. Added pulling can kill and/or injure the calf because remember it is halfway out and crying.
- Watch cow behavior before & after calving. Even if your cow is the tamest, most easygoing cow in your herd, her hormones will kick in sometime before or after calving and as a result, she may want you nowhere near her calf. Be aware that the animals’ behavior can change quickly and be ready to act. In a day or 2, she is back to her old self.
- Give the cows time. Keeping cows and newborn calves separated from the rest of the herd isn’t just good for the bond between the two of them. Keeping the cow in isolation a day or so after her calf is born can help her bounce back quicker once back with the herd
- Don’t be afraid to call the vet. The vet will check the mother and her calf alot more professionally that you the farmer.