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Spring calving: Time to get ready for calves

Spring calving: Time to get ready for calves

Calves will be arriving on farms in the coming weeks, meaning it is now time to ensure that you are ready for their arrival.

Spring is the busiest time of year on the majority of dairy farms, with the arrival of calves and a return to milk production.

The first calves for some are still a few weeks away, while for others, the first calves could be arriving in the coming days.

Calves

Getting calves off to the best start in life is vital for their development and to ensure that they are healthy.

Firstly, it is important that you have all theย suppliesย that will be required during the busy calving period.

Below is a list of materials that should be stocked and ready to go before calving gets underway:

  • Disposable plastic gloves (long and short);
  • Gel and paper towels;
  • Calving ropes (minimum of two pairs);
  • Calving jack;
  • Oxytocin, calcium bottles/boluses and magnesium;
  • Disinfectant for navel;
  • Brix refractometer to test colostrum;
  • Stomach tubes have a minimum of two as you should have a separate one for electrolytes/sick calves and another for feeding colostrum;
  • Calf tags, notebook or a phone app to record calving information;
  • Infrared lamp;
  • Footbaths with disinfectant.

You should ensure that everything that will be required during the calving season is present on the farm for the arrival of the first calves.

Sheds

Sheds used for calving and rearing should be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly on a weekly basis.

You should start getting at least one of the calving pens and some of the calf rearing pens ready.

Ensure that any drinkers and gates are working properly, and that a good bed of straw is present in the pen.

Ideally, you should be treating the calf shed and calving pens almost like clean rooms โ€“ have disinfection points at the entrances and control the access of people.

Disease can easily enter into sheds and create more work, so preventing this from happening should be a focus this year.

All the feeding equipment should be check, disinfected and clean, along with all the teats being replaced.

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