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Virginia Cooperative Extension -
 Knowledge for the CommonWealth

Calving Environment is Important.

Dairy Pipeline: September 1995

by Tom L. Bailey
Dairy Production Medicine, VA-MD Regional College of Vet Medicine

One of the greatest impacts on production and fertility is during the time of calving. How a cow is managed during this critical time will have a significant impact on both milk production and subsequent fertility. Things to consider are the environment in which she calves, extent of assistance needed, and care of the cow after delivery. Muddy areas put stress on cows walking to and from the feeding areas and can cause loss of excessive body condition. Calving in these areas can potentially allow mud or debris to enter the birth canal and contribute to infections of the uterus and delay re-breeding. Muddy areas or lots can also cause calf infections by entry of organisms through the navel cord and nursing on muddy, contaminated udders. If cows must be stalled for calving, make sure clean, dry, bedding is used. Straw is the best material, as shavings and sawdust are not as absorbent and are smaller particles which may enter the birth canal or be inhaled by the calf. Make sure these stalls are tended daily and thoroughly cleaned after each calving.

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