Calving time can be the most intense period of a farmer’s year.
Keeping a close eye on first calvers, getting calves their colostrum, keeping a vet on speed dial and all the while sleep becomes scarce as you aim to flatten your labour spend.
What if there was a way to get more time?
Well sadly, you can’t. We all have 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week.
So the real question becomes how can you use your time better? Here are a few ways you can improve your time management in calving season.
Shorten your calving season
If your herd is large, then you may have to rely on hired help which can be costly in a long calving season.
A short intense calving may look more expensive daily, but having a shorter calving season will mean it is cheaper.
If you manage it efficiently (with the help of tools like the free Moocall Breedmanager app), it can be better for business.
Calve heifers four weeks early
Heifers can be troublesome at their first calving. You can give them more attention if they are calving about a month earlier than the rest.
Furthermore, the heifer now has extra time to start cycling again after their first calf which they sometimes need.
Make sure their body is in good calving condition
If they are too thin or fat, this can lead to a longer and more laborious calving for the cow.
In an overweight cow’s case, when you do nothing to remedy their condition it can lead to a narrow pelvis.
At calving time, this means they are at risk of laceration and infection.
Thin cows on the other hand can, on occasion, lack the strength or the energy to get the calf out.
As well as reducing the labour time for the cow or heifer, keeping them in good calving condition helps them begin cycling faster.
Use a Moocall Calving sensor
Laying it on a bit thick with this one, aren’t we? While this might be the case, the Moocall Calving Sensor is invaluable when it comes to time management at calving time.
If you have a particularly short calving season as mentioned above, you can afford to leave the easy calvers do their thing.
Then, attach the device to heifers and cows have had trouble calving in the past.
This saves you (some) labour, and it means you can be there and fresh as a daisy if you do need to intervene (in case of breach, etc).