Several years ago, one popular industry publication listed an Oklahoma State University Extension Bulletin as one of 6 most important pieces of equipment needed for producers during the calving season. The bulletin mentioned was Oklahoma State University Extension Circular E-1006, “Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers”. This circular is free to download and should be recommended reading and reviewing before each calving season. Every member of the family and hired staff that will be involved with watching cows and heifers during the calving season should read this bulletin.
“Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers” discusses the 3 stages of a normal calving and then the causes and impacts of a difficult birth (dystocia). A thorough discussion of the signs of impending calving is followed by a description of when and how to examine a cow to determine the need for intervention. Detailed diagrams of most of the potential abnormal presentations are included with descriptions of necessary manipulations that will be required before the calf can be delivered. Proper placement of the obstetrical chains and the advantages of rotating the calf to ease passage through the pelvic opening are important sections to read.
“Dos” and “Don’ts” of treating retained placentas and understanding prolapses are other important topics that beef producers will want to review. The last page of “Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers” is a gestation table that will list the estimated “due date” for each potential breeding date.
Before the first heifer of the 2019 calving season needs help, take time to read and study this free document. Some of this information may very well help you save one or more of those valuable calves at calving time. The link to this bulletin is: http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-9389/E-1006web2014.pdf.