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Calving time is here- prepare your farm


Feeding pregnant heifers and cows the majority of their daily ration as late as possible in the evening has been shown to minimise the number of animals calving at night and is increasingly becoming common practice in many suckler herds. Alan Dillon, Beef Specialist has more calving tips.

Reducing night calvings

Feeding pregnant heifers and cows the majority of their daily ration as late as possible in the evening has been shown to minimise the number of animals calving at night and is increasingly becoming common practice in many suckler herds. The majority shut the cows off from the feed trough in mid-afternoon and then put out the feed. On their last evening check, they allow the cows access to their feed. This results in the majority of the cows calving at around 6 o’clock the following morning.

Cows quickly adapt to changes in their routine, particularly where feed is involved. Hence evening feeding only needs to start a week to 10 days before calving is due to start. This is a particularly good management tool. Feeding times can be manipulated to coincide with cows calving at any time of the day almost. Part time farmers may want cows calving later in the evening and at night time when they are at home so feeding can be arranged for early to mid morning to facilitate this if required.

Calving Checklist

Farmers would benefit from using a calving checklist to ensure they are ready for calving. Vaccinations, scanning results and basic equipment such as calving gloves, frozen colostrum, calving jack and ropes and iodine or chlorohexidine spray should be close at hand for the beginning of the calving season. The Calving Checklist (PDF) here can be printed off and copied and farmers can tick off tasks and equipment as they get their house in order.

For more information see www.teagasc.ie/beef.