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How to maximise the health and welfare of the cow and calf around calving


Vet John Mee joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s Dairy Edge podcast with practical tips to maximise the health and welfare of cow and calf around calving.

John explains that management practices are the main cause of calving difficulty in dairy herds.  Generally, in heifers, the calf is too big or the heifer is under grown or over conditioned and in cows the calf is presenting incorrectly or the cow has milk fever.

Calving accounts for 10% of the EBI owing to the economic consequences of a difficult calving including lower thrift in calves, reduced productivity in the form of milk production and fertility and higher mortality of the calf or cow.

John details the different stages of calving and reminds farmers that it is the cow’s job to calf down and it is the farmer’s job to observe and assist if necessary using the ‘two hooves, two hours’ approach to ensure cows aren’t calving for too long.

For more episodes from the Dairy Edge podcast visit the show page at: teagasc.ie/thedairyedge