Prepare for a Successful Spring Calving Season
By: Dave Sparks, DVM
Someone once said “that Success occurs when Opportunity meets with Preparation”. Planning and preparing ahead for next spring’s calving season can help increase the chances of success. There are several key preparation steps that would be good to conduct in November or December to insure success in February, March, and April.
Equipment: Before calving season starts do a walk-through of pens, chutes, and calving stalls. Make sure that all are clean, dry, strong, safe, and functioning correctly. This is a lot easier to do on a sunny afternoon than on a cold dark night when you need them.
Protocol: Before calving season starts develop a plan of what to do, when to do it, who to call for help (along with phone numbers), and how to know when you need help. Make sure all family members or helpers are familiar with the plan. It may help to write it out and post copies in convenient places. Talk to the local veterinarian about the protocol and incorporate his/her suggestions. Your veterinarian will be a lot more helpful when you have an emergency during the kids’ school program if you have talked a few times during regular hours.
Supplies: The stockman should always have in his medicine chest the following: disposable obstetrical sleeves, non-irritant antiseptic, lubricant, obstetrical chains (60 inch and/or two 30 inch chains), two obstetrical handles, mechanical calf pullers, and injectable antibiotics. Many lubricants have been used and one of the best lubricants is probably the simplest – non-detergent soap and warm water. Do not forget the simple things like a good flashlight with extra batteries and some old towels or a roll of paper towels. It may be helpful for you to have all these things and other items you may want to include packed into a 5 or 10 gallon bucket to make up an obstetrical kit so you can grab everything at once.
Read and Learn: Study your lesson about preparing for the calving season by downloading and reading the Oklahoma State University Extension Circular called"Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers" http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-5171/E-1006web.pdf