Monday, May 24, 2010

Calving in the Heat

Calving this time of year can be just as dangerous, or maybe more than calving in the winter time. Dehydration is your number one killer. 

Here are a few issues that need to be monitored closely when calving in the summer time:

1. Cows can get exhausted much faster during the calving process. A cow will give up pushing on a difficult birth faster than in cool weather, increasing the need for assistance on calves that would normally be born on their own. 

2. Shade is crucial to survival of summer born calves. Newborns will not naturally seek the shade, and cows will not always hide their calves in the shade when they go to graze. A young calf will die in the matter of hours on a hot, sunny day. Calves may require being tubed with water and/or electrolyte as much as two weeks after calving

3. Calves tend to be less vigorous when born on hot days. They may not nurse right away, and even if they do nurse, they may require a supplimental tubing of milk and water. Many times at birth, the newborn does not have enough body mass to fulfill its fluid requirements by just nursing on its own. The high temperatures can also cause a reduction in appetite, causing the calf to nurse less.