Managing the Cow at Calving Time


  • John F. Mee Teagasc, Moorepark Dairy Production Research Centre, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland



periparturient, calving, calving management, maternity unit, intervention, perinatal survival, animal welfare


Despite increased emphasis in recent years on declining dairy cow reproductive performance, there has been very little focus on the management of the periparturient dairy heifer and cow at calving time. Perhaps as a result, US producers are now reporting increasing perinatal calf losses at calving. A critical determinant in reducing periparturient losses is good calving management. The tenets of good calving management are predicting accurately when calving is due, moving heifers and cows to the maternity unit on time, discrete calving supervision, and critically knowing when and how to intervene during calving. This article deals with each of these topics, outlining where veterinarian-led producer implementation of good calving management can improve perinatal survival and welfare.

The three rules of spring.
If it's in, pull it out,
If it's out, push it in,
And if it's down, give it calcium.
--(Irish veterinary aphorism)






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