Cow That Loses Calf At Birth Could Save Others
Livestock Update, March 2000
John Hall, Extension Animal Scientist, Beef, Virginia Tech
When a cow loses a calf at birth, it is always a great disappointment for cattlemen. However, this cow can still be useful and help save calves. The first thing you should do is get this cow up and milk her out. It takes a good head gate and a helper, but it can be done. Store the colostrum in pints or half pints in the freezer.
Cows will continue to produce antibodies in their milk for the first 48 hours, but the concentration will continue to decrease. So, you can milk a cow several times to get more colostrum. However, be sure to label the colostrum as first milking or second milking. Use the first milking the first time you feed a weak newborn calf. Remember they need to get colostrum within 12 hours of birth and preferably by 4 hours after birth.
You may want to consider buying a commercially produced maternity pen. If you want to build your own maternity stall, take a look at some of the good commercial ones to get an idea how to construct the nursing panel and other special parts.