How to understand that a cow will calve soon, and what to do in order not to lose either mother or offspring

In the life of every farmer there comes a happy moment when the number of goals in the herd of cattle is about to increase - calving of the cow. How not to get confused and in time to recognize the symptoms of early calving in cows? How is calving in a young cow, what are its stages and consequences? How to help the animal in the passage of such an important stage of the life cycle? How to properly care not only for women in labor, but also for newborn calves to avoid death? Here are some popular questions that can be answered if you look at the review.

Calving a cow

What is meant by the term "calving"

The term “calving” refers to the last period of pregnancy in cattle, ending in the birth of offspring. This stage occurs approximately 280 days after the fertilization of the animal in any convenient way (natural or artificial). It is important to understand that the time of the onset of childbirth depends on the breed of the animal, its diet, and even the sex of the fetus, therefore, it can shift forward and backward by 8-10 days. In order not to get confused, there is a calving table for cows (this is a significant help for farmers, it helps to exclude preterm birth in cows).

In order for the animal to give birth normally and a calf is born, you need to figure out how to determine the approaching calving of the cow. The thing is that only careful preparation allows you to get the desired result. If we draw an analogy with a man, then a woman observes the whole pregnancy with doctors, goes through courses, therefore, she knows the approximate date of the meeting with the newborn.

In the old days, they learned to determine the sex of the future calf by the state of the udder. If the front part swells in the cow before childbirth, then it is assumed that a female will be born, the back is a goby. This method has become popular, because its results are reliable in almost 90% of cases.

Symptoms of the upcoming date

How to find out when a cow calves and will a veterinarian be needed? What are the signs of calving in a cow? - these are issues that concern many farmers, because you need to have time to prepare for the birth of a newborn.

Recognizing the onset of the period in question is easy if you keep a calendar of calving of cows. But what to do to someone who forgot to fix the date when the insemination was made, or missed natural fertilization? Such a person will be helped by signs of calving in a cow. The harbingers marking the beginning of calving are as follows:

  • behavior change (the heifer behaves uneasily, she manifests nervousness, timidity, frequent lagging behind the herd, turning her head to the ischial tubercles and tail, swaying from side to side);
  • redness and slight swelling of the external genitalia;
  • the appearance of mucus or viscous fluid from the vagina;
  • udder is poured, therefore, there is an increase in milk productivity;
  • the appearance of discharge from the nipples (it is colostrum);
  • disappearance of the sacrum (relaxation of the ligaments in the pelvic section);
  • low mooing;
  • the animal tries to spend most of the day lying down.

If the first signs of calving were recorded, you need to start preparing for the appearance of a newborn.

How to prepare an animal for calving

There is an opinion that cattle do not need to be fed during calving (supposedly this will facilitate the delivery process). It is wrong, because with food, any living creature receives the energy so necessary to maintain life.

Preparation of a cow for calving begins with an increase in nutrition (the first thing a farmer should do, making sure that an individual is pregnant). This does not mean that you need to increase the serving size. It is enough to make the food fortified:

  • include special additives in the diet (salt, chalk);
  • exclude products of the second grade;
  • to offer the animal goodies, which include sugar beets, bran, silage and pasture grass, or the so-called “pasture”.

Why just pasture, and not high-quality hay? Because the animal itself controls the content of certain nutrients in the body. Naturally, there is most of them in fresh grass. Plus, no farmer can be 100% sure of the materials selected for hay and full compliance with the rules for its harvesting, unless he himself was engaged in this.

If you do not dry the grass, then pathogenic microorganisms that cause a putrefactive process begin to multiply in the stacks. It is easy to guess what will happen to the animal that ate such food.

As for nutrition, a pregnant individual should consume a variety of foods at least 3 times a day. At the same time, do not forget about a large amount of liquid (only pure water is acceptable, which is presented immediately before the supply of concentrates).

It is clear that it becomes more and more difficult for pregnant women to move around every day, therefore, in the later stages of pregnancy, the animal should be stopped chasing and placed in a special pen.

Do not forget about hygiene. A clumsy animal needs special care more than ever, so you should add daily cleansing with straw plaits and brushes, treating the most contaminated parts of the body with warm water, followed by drying with a cloth. If redness occurs on the genitals, you must immediately call a veterinarian and disinfect the affected areas with a weak solution of furacilin or potassium permanganate.

After 2 months of approaching the expected date of delivery, the animal must follow the instructions for preparing the cow for calving: adjust the diet and start.

How should a cow run?

Get a good offspring and subsequent milk yield helps timely produced launch cattle. For those who do not know what is hidden under this term, the explanation: this is the end of milking. You can’t just take and not milk the cow (stagnation of milk can provoke the formation of adhesions and the inflammatory process). What a launch looks like right. It is required:

  • Reduce the amount of root crops and other juicy components consumed.
  • Reduce the amount of fluid offered.
  • Gradually reduce the number of milks to 1 time per day.
  • Switch to day after day mode.
  • If the cow gives no more than 1 liter of milk, you can stop touching the udder.

Recommendation: want to quickly launch without harm to cattle? Stop doing udder massage before milking.

Feeding cows before calving is one of the key points that contribute to obtaining full-fledged offspring, which has its own characteristics:

  • In the first decade of the launch, you need to slightly reduce the amount of food consumed (by about 20-30%).
  • In the second part, on the contrary, calculate a nutritious diet.
  • In the third and fourth - strengthen by 15-20% (these values ​​will have to be calculated independently using a calculator).
  • Immediately before childbirth (3-4 days before the birth is near, when colostrum begins to appear), exclude fodder and transfer to hay.

Only compliance with the above recommendations will avoid a difficult birth and subsequent diseases of the reproductive system, provoking the inability to further reproduce offspring.

How to recognize a fast calving

The cow before calving begins to change its behavior: it lays on its side and often mumbles - these are the harbingers of childbirth in a cow. At the same time, it is worthwhile to immediately deliver the animal to a specially prepared place - a clean stall. Naturally, it should be prepared in advance:

  • the contents of the stall are removed (old hay, litter);
  • disinfection of the chosen place of delivery and the adjacent territory with special compounds;
  • the pen is filled with new clean litter material.

It is no secret that in specialized factories there is a special sterile room where calving of a cow takes place, the signs of which portend the early appearance of a calf or heifer.

Ideally, in order to prevent childbirth under inappropriate conditions and not harm the animal, not earlier than a week before calving, the cow can be placed in this prepared paddock and continued to periodically peer into a special calendar to calculate the exact time the calf was born.

You already know how to recognize calving of a cow (signs of an approaching calving are faithful signal flares). It remains only to figure out how the cow gives birth, what to do to protect the animal from death and give life to a newborn. To do this, you can continue reading the review or watch calving of a cow (the video can be found on the Internet).

If the cow is strolling, spotting has been noticed, or thrush is suspected, then you should call a veterinarian, only he can give recommendations to eliminate the adverse effects, and if necessary, stimulate labor. That is why it is important to know the exact period of insemination of an individual.

It is important to have time to treat the animal’s body, hooves with a weak solution of lysol or potassium permanganate before giving birth (in extreme cases, use a soap composition). It will not be amiss to offer the cow help - a special drink (per 1 liter of water, 6.25 g of salt).

Cow birth

Physically strong and healthy individuals are able to spawn independently; an old cow gives birth while standing on its feet. At the same time, it is important to ensure constant monitoring in order to prevent damage to the newborn (a tired mother will fall on him) and to know how calving occurs.

Strengthening contractions allow the fetus to gradually move along the birth canal. In this case, a fetal bladder of a grayish color appears outside, which should burst independently. If this does not happen, then you have to intervene to help the cow (by breaking the bubble with external influence).

After that it is important to observe how the calf walks. A safe start may be as follows:

  • the hooves of the front legs are directed downward;
  • the hooves of the hind legs look up.

Complicated labor in a cow (when the calf goes head first, with the back of the body or twins are expected) should occur only under the supervision of an experienced doctor: he or the obstetric nurse will accept newborns and exclude bedding. The same applies to the birth of calves in the first-calf.

Normal delivery of a cow lasts approximately 30 minutes (the first calving in cows may be slightly prolonged). If the cows can’t calve, then urgently need to intervene specialists. Only the veterinarian can understand how to complete the birth process in cows (he puts an injection and injects stimulant solutions or helps to get a calf soon). The ideal option is when a calving is given to a cow by a knowledgeable person.

By the way, folk signs say: if you dream that a cow is giving birth, then wait for profit. The cow got hotels - it’s a twofold sign, because it depends on the sex of the offspring (heifer means success, goby means misfortune).

Calf Care

Reception of the newborn should be made on a clean burlap. When the calf was born, it is necessary to check whether the umbilical cord is torn or not. If this does not happen, you will have to cut it yourself (at a distance of no more than 15 cm from the body), then squeeze blood clots out of it and only then produce cauterization with iodine (you can simply dip it into the solution).

Tip: it is advisable to treat the remains of the umbilical cord twice a day for the next week.

After that, it will remain to put the newborn to mom, who will lick it (remove mucus from the body and improve blood circulation in vivo). During this procedure, you need to ensure that the cow does not touch the baby with horns. If for some reason an adult refuses to clean the calf, then this should be done by a person. When working with straw plaits or rags at home, you need to be careful and avoid unnecessary gratering of individual parts of the body.

At first, feeding the calf is simple - expressed colostrum, because it helps to populate the microflora with the necessary organisms. Between feedings, you can give clean warm water to drink.

Two weeks later, the kids are transferred to three meals a day, adding salt and chalk. If diarrhea appears, then it is enough to add boiled water (milk can be diluted with it).

Upon reaching 16 days, the calf is offered hay in small quantities. By the end of the first month of life, it is allowed to add carrots (no more than 150 g per day). Preventive vaccinations are on schedule (if the newborn is healthy).

Naturally, individual hygiene and cleanliness of the room are the key to calf health, therefore, the skin should be cleaned daily, and coatings change as they become dirty, especially in winter. Walking in the fresh air is a benefit for a growing body.

Cow care

When the animal has given birth, he is given time to rest, and the farmer is to fill in the calving calendar. For this, the cow that has given birth should lie down for about 30-40 minutes. The physiology is such that during this time the following occurs: the uterine cavity is cleansed, the placenta leaves, strength is restored. To help the woman in labor, in half an hour you can offer her a slightly salted solution.

A little later (after separation of the afterbirth), you need to change the litter and make milking, after washing the udder (especially for the first movers). The resulting colostrum is provided to the calf as a first meal. In the future, it will be necessary to increase the number of milks in certain cows, such as birthright, so that milk production increases.

It is important not to damage the udder, so be sure to massage the nipples before decanting, only then lactation will be beautiful. Do not forget to wash the udder before and after the procedures.

After giving birth, the cow needs to normalize its nutrition. How does this happen? If there were no problems, the following formula is suitable for the diet:

  • Immediately give the desired weight volume of hay, silage (lactation starts).
  • The next day, add 1 kg of bran soaked in water (can be replaced with rice). Subsequently, gradually increase the amount of bran to 2 kg per day.
  • After 3 days, root crops are included in the diet (lactation intensifies).
  • Only after a week can you switch to full feeding.

For those individuals who had a difficult calving or ended in twins, the doctor says the correct schedule for the next month.

Tip for farmers: you need to monitor the protein content in food, otherwise milk will be "empty". At first, cattle were better off offering foods high in easily digestible carbohydrates.

Complications after calving

If calving in animals does not occur without human intervention, a specialist will have to observe the individual after childbirth. The thing is that complications can occur, such as damage to the uterus or birth canal, poor cleaning, postpartum paresis, hypocalcemia. Recognizing these terrible complications is not difficult. Here is the saving table:

SignsDiseaseWhat to do
The animal does not get up after childbirth, the back is twisted, contractions continue, mucus is secreted, residues of the afterbirth, loose stools or bleeding are visible.It is worth thinking about incomplete cleaning (the last did not come out completely).Here you need to act at lightning speed - call a veterinarian, because the amniotic tissue will decompose, which will lead to inflammation of the reproductive system, which is problematic to treat.
Cautious movement, desire to constantly rest, lack of desire to eat for several days.Symptoms of postpartum paresis, which in advanced form provoke paralysis.It is important to monitor the individual, quietly make it move and feed properly. Proper care is the right treatment.
The animal does not want to move, but eats well.Hypocalcemia should be suspected.Call a veterinarian, because without the introduction of special drugs (d0 and d1) and dietary adjustments, the cow will die.

When fixing any symptoms, you need to call a veterinarian to eliminate complications and save the life of a cow.

Calving a cow and taking a calf are significant events that should be approached consciously: prepare in advance (see photos and video materials, know how many calves have already had cows, be able to identify signs of early birth, keep a calendar of insemination, follow the above recommendations and use the services of veterinarians ) If the hotel information presented in the review is not enough, use the material calving video of the cow. There you will clearly see how to determine the approaching calving of a cow, how normal calving occurs, and that calves may not have calving. That's all we wanted to tell about calving at the cow.


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