28 February 1997

Get ready in time for spring calving

SPRING calving suckler producers should separate heifers from cows and ensure preparations for calving are completed in good time.

Perthshire Signet consultant Alan Mathieson recommends separating heifers to allow them extra space minimising the risk of infections and disease.

"Heifers should not be overfed before calving, for it is too late to increase body condition without increasing the risk of calving difficulties," he says.

Group other cows according to calving date and those with low condition scores can be given extra feed as can heifers after calving, he adds.

"Calving pens should be cleaned out and disinfected," says Mr Mathieson. "Also prepare calving ropes, lubricating gel, disinfectant, iodine, a thermometer and calving diaries." He also suggests storing sufficient colostrum, either from a local dairy farm or purchased, in the freezer.

and checking medicine cupboard supplies of magnesium and calcium supplements, and scour powders. Producers concerned about scours may still have time to discus vaccination with their vet, he adds.