Top Tips and Special Offers for a Productive Calving Season 2015February 10, 2015
With many of you now opting to calve in the winter months during housing, preparation is paramount to ensure a productive and problem free calving season. Last year a Farmers Guardian article reported “with between 12 and 14 per cent of calves failing to survive to weaning in lowland and upland suckler herds, producers are being advised to look at ways to minimise losses”.
These losses occur during pregnancy, at calving and pre-weaning, so whether your herds are dairy or suckler, like a crop of barley or potatoes, the cows and calves need to be nurtured throughout the entire process or you could find yourself paying the price. Healthy heifers prevent hefty losses!
We have everything you need at Hamilton Brothers to handle your general husbandry, cubicle management, hygiene and nutrition plus a host of mineral drenches, colostrums and an abundance of lotions, potions and birthing gadgets to nip any potential natal or post natal problems in the bud. What’s more, with our fantastic offers (while stocks last), you’ll even manage to save a substantial buck!
Being Prepared is Calf the Battle so here’s a few reminders and some helpful hints from our Animal Health Team…
STERILISE PENS PRIOR TO CALVING
- We recommend power washing using an effective disinfectant such as Kilco’s Virex (a powder formula available in 5 kilo tubs) or Antec’s (20 litre) liquid Hyperox.
- If possible leave the pens to dry for a couple of days before laying down fresh bedding which will act as a protective blanket from the cold, concrete floor. This clean, comfortable environment will avoid stressing the dam which as you know could result in slow or difficult delivery or potentially impact on appetite and milk production post calving.
HISTORY OF MILK FEVER? (hypocalcaemia)
- Administer a bolus such as 24/7 Agrimin 24 hours before delivery. Alternatively a supply of 40% injectable calcium could be kept handy.
- For the birthing process itself, we have a wide variety of long sleeve disposable latex gloves and a variety of manual and mechanical calving aids to keep the production line going!
AFTER THE BIRTH
- The newborn calf’s navel should be treated with a strong iodine solution applied either with a pump spray or from a teat dip cup, both of which we have in stock. This practise will prevent harmful bacteria from penetrating the calf’s system.
- It’s imperative that six pints of colostrum should be ingested by the calf within the first 6 hours of birth either directly from the dam or via a powdered mineral rich colostrum such as Provita’s Calf Colostrum.
- Colostrum helps build up passive immunity from diseases endemic to the farm and it will protect the calf in the first 2-3 months of life after which time we can advise on appropriate vaccines which will ensure the on-going wellbeing of the animal.
As you know, the first week after calving can be frantic as there are so many other tasks which need to be attended to such as ear tagging (primary within 36 hours and secondary within 20 days), disbudding , castration and of course feeding. We like to think we ‘moooove’ with the times at Hamilton Brothers with our up to the minute range of Animal Health supplies.
From milk powder, buckets, teats, valves and needles to dehorning pastes, irons, rubber rings and burdizzos, one call or e-mail to our Animal Health team will help you prepare for a hassle free calving season. You ‘herd ‘ it here first!
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