Check those boxes for Autumn Calving… A guide to help you get prepared for pre and post calving.
| Aug 4, 2023
As the vibrant colours of summer begin to fade, and the crisp, cool air of autumn sets in, farmers with livestock often turn their attention to the upcoming calving season. Autumn calving can bring about its own set of challenges and opportunities for farmers, but with careful planning and preparation, it can be a successful and rewarding time for both the animals and the farm. Continue reading to see a comprehensive checklist to help farmers ensure a smooth and productive autumn calving season on the farm.
Before the calving season arrives, create a calving calendar to keep track of expected due dates. This will help you anticipate busy periods and ensure you have adequate help to provide the necessary care during calving. Farmers should evaluate their breeding performance. Ensure that cows and heifers are in good health and at an appropriate body condition score (BCS). Consider culling any animals with chronic health issues or poor reproductive performance.
Create a comfortable and safe environment for the calving cows and their new-born calves. Check and repair fences, gates, and calving pens. Ensure that barns and calving areas are clean, well-ventilated, and free from potential hazards. Post calving, ensure the calf pens are disinfected and clean to ensure the calf thrives. Prepare for calving by stocking up on essential supplies. This includes clean and dry bedding for the calves, obstetric gel, gloves, and ropes for assisting with calving if needed, and a well stocked medicine cabinet with necessary veterinary supplies to ensure you have the products when they are needed.
Observe the cows closely for any signs of imminent calving. Note any changes in behaviour, such as isolating themselves from the herd or increased restlessness, as these could be indications that calving is near. Cameras can reduce the workload of checking on your cows during peak calving time. It is important to observe all calving’s where possible however only intervene if necessary. Despite careful planning, emergencies can still occur during calving. Familiarize yourself with common calving problems and have a clear plan in place for handling such situations promptly and safely. Ensuring the vets number is in a visible location for all farm workers could reduce the time spent getting the vet to your farm.
Maintain accurate records of each calving event, including the date, time, and any notable observations. This information will be invaluable for tracking cow and calf health, identifying trends, and making informed breeding decisions in the future.
How can Herdwatch help during this busy season?
Prior to the calving season commencing, purchase all the remedies you may need and ensure all your treatments are loaded into your cabinet on the app. By having these pre-loaded before things get busy, you are more likely to stay on top of your record keeping ensuring you get excellent reports for your inspection/audit. This saves time but is also best practice for both the farmer and the calf. If a calf is sick, other workers on the farm can check past treatments within the animal’s profile and keep on top of their treatment plan.
Registering calves can be done quick and easy on the App. EID Tags are preloaded onto the Herdwatch App leaving very little room for error which might be done on paper. You can select the dam from your due to calve list and depending on whether you created a serve for that cow in the app, the sire is also inputted automatically. This quick and easy process takes the hassle out of registering your calves which can be done in bulk to reduce the time spent looking up cow and bull tag numbers.
If selling farm to farm, it may be a good idea to get familiar with Herdwatch Movements. This feature can be found within Compliance and allows farmers to apply to movement certificates and accept animals into herd. This process takes the hassle of having completing movements by other means and enables farmers to send the cert number from the app via text message to the buyer.
When the breeding cycle of the cow commences farmers can input serves from stock bulls and AI bulls and positive or negative scan results into the App. This vital piece of information allows farmers to alter the regime of the cow depending on her status. When a positive scan result is put into the app, this generates a Due to Calf list which is easily accessible within the Breeding Section and allows farmers to plan around the new arrival.
The autumn calving season can be a pivotal time for a farms success, setting the stage for the next generation of livestock. By following this comprehensive checklist, farmers can be well-prepared to handle the challenges and opportunities that come with autumn calving. Prioritizing animal health, creating a safe environment, and being vigilant during the calving process will ultimately lead to healthier cows, thriving calves, and a prosperous farm for years to come.
Get in contact today or Download the FREE App today to get ahead of the busy season!