For many, the end of calving season is nearing; for others, it's just beginning. Wherever your breeding season falls in a calendar year, we all face the same issues: snow, mud, cold ears, assisting heifers, tagging and weighing newborns, updating record books, cleaning out the barns, maintaining cow health and keeping the calves from getting sick. Although calving season is a stressful time of year, it is also one of my favorites. Calving season is a time for new beginnings. It's a time to see whether your breeding matches actually worked out or not. It's a time to scope out the next "rippers" and see which cows are making the cut.
To make your calving season easier, I thought I would share with you an article I found at the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation titled, "Top 10 Things You Can Do to Make Calving Season Easier." The article was written by Robert Wells, and I have listed his top 10 list below. You can also read the full article for more details here.
"Top 10 Things You Can Do to Make Calving Season Easier"
1. Use light birth weight (BW) bulls with appropriate BW and calving ease expected progeny differences (EPDs) for replacement heifers.
2. Have a defined and tight calving season.
3. Calve heifers out four weeks earlier than the cow herd.
4. Make sure all females are in the correct body condition score (BCS).
5. Be prepared - OB chains, calf jack, fresh batteries in flashlights.
6. Have a working area that is clean, well-lit and functional.
7. Feed in the evening to reduce nighttime calving.
8. Have nice, clean, dry pasture for calving.
9. Know the signs.
10. Move cows and calves to a different pasture after calving.