TIPS FOR EASY CALVING AND HEALTHY CALVES

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* Keep cows in a clean area for calving.

* Always put your expectant mother in a clean, dry area—either a clean stall in the barn or  a clean pasture. If you use a stall, clean it well; disinfect it with a mix of Clorox and water. This is easy to do; just mix 1/4 Clorox and 3\4 water in a spray bottle. After cleaning the stall well, spray a heavy coat of the disinfectant. After it dries, cover the stall with a heavy layer of shavings.

* Feed your hay in different locations. If you feed round bales, move them to a different location each time. If you feed loose or square bales of hay, move the hay feeder from time to time in order to reduce the mud, manure and disease organisms that tend to build up in these concentrated areas. This practice will help reduce calf diarrhea problems that are multiplied by the concentration of cattle in one area.

* Move your pregnant cows away from the rest of the herd in to a cow calving pen if possible. This helps reduce the possibility of older calves spreading any diseases to newborns.

* Make sure the expectant mother has been wormed regularly and her shots are all up to date to ensure the passing of immunities to the calf.

* Always have your veterinarian’s phone number handy just in case. If you have any problems, or are unsure about something, call your vet immediately. If you are experiencing any calving difficulties, make sure the mother is in a place where the veterinarian can work on her safely.

* The first milk from the mother is called the colostrum. It is much richer than the later milk and passes on the mother’s immunities. If the calf doesn’t receive colostrum in the first 24 hours, the immunity transfer will be of no benefit to the calf. Keep some frozen or powdered colostrum from the feed store on hand at all times.

* If you still have milking problems and must bottle feed the calf, DuMOR Lamb Milk Replacer from Tractor Supply is a very good milk substitute. You will also need goat or lam-size nipples on your bottles. Consult your vet for bottle feeding information.