Our Organisation Search
Quick Links
Toggle: Topics

Safety at calving time


As we enter a busy period on many farms with calving occurring we should always take account of safety. A quarter of Irish farm accidents and one fifth of farm deaths are livestock related. Attacks by recently calved cows are a common cause of such accidents. Enda Geoghegan, Teagasc Advisor has more

Calving is a very stressful time on the farm; indeed it is stressful for both human and animal. A cow that is normally quiet out in the field can become very aggressive at calving. So the amount of contact between the cow and farmer should be kept to a minimum. This can be achieved through the existence of good facilities.

A Calving camera is a piece of equipment many people do not think about when the think of safety. It is important because you can monitor the calving and if everything is ok with the calving contact can be kept to a minimum.

A Calving gate is a must on any sucker farm. A calving gate takes the pressure off you as the cow is securely restraint and can be worked on in a safe fashion. Typical cost for a calving gate is 600 -700 hundred. If a calf is saved as a result of a calving gate it is paid for. If your life is saved then that is priceless ask your family.

Good lighting for calving indoors, is essential for safety and efficiency in dealing with the birth. As well as lighting in the shed itself make sure that the lighting in the yard is working properly. Trips and falls going from the house to the shed at night can be avoided with good lighting.

Calving equipment. Calving Jack and Ropes in good working order and ready for action. Make sure all calving equipment is stored in one place and is ready for use.

Never enter the pen to tag a calf; always have a barrier or gate between you and the cow if you are tagging a calf.

Keep children away from the shed at calving time. Cows can become very protective of the calf and attacks on children can occur. So be very aware of this. We can say the same for dogs in and around the farm keep them away from the calving shed.

Following the above tips can help reduce accidents but please always have common sense when dealing with livestock. Good luck with your calving season and keep safe.

For more tips on Health and Safety on the farm check out the Teagasc Farm Health & Safety webpage