On suckler farms where autumn calving begins in August, herd owners should look to move heavily pregnant cows closer to the yard for closer observation.

There will always be one or two animals that calve early and having cows close to the yard makes it easier to keep an eye on them.

It is also easier to bring cows into a calving pen should assistance be required during labour or immediately after the calf is delivered, especially when a cow calves ahead of her time.

When cows are grazing around the yard, increase the frequency of daily checks to pick up signs of calving sickness early. During these checks, keep the farm dog away from cows.


Take the time to prepare calving pens, washing floors and walls as necessary. Allow pens to dry, then spray a disinfectant or hydrated lime. Make any essential adjustments to the calving gate also.

Locate the calving jack and ropes. If the ropes are frayed, soiled or hard, replace them with new ones.

Sterilise the stomach tube and store it safely.

Finally, order new ear tags and stock up on calving aids such as lubricant, gloves, colostrum, iodine and electrolytes in the coming weeks so that you are prepared for calving in good time.

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