5 September 1997

Hygiene help

with calvings

MORE cows are suffering calving difficulties as good grass supplies have led to larger calves, fat cows, and more cases of milk fever.

Dry cows on too much grass are suffering milk fever, which is leading to more assisted calvings and predisposing cows to greater risk of infection, explains John Dawson, of Willows Vet Group, Cheshire.

"When the cow is down producers are more likely to go in and assist the cow, and all too often that is with dirty hands."

Mr Dawson is concerned that too many producers fail to use adequate antiseptic and warm water when helping at calving.

He says use of a lubricating gel and arm length plastic gloves can help. But bare arms that are well disinfected are easier to work with.

"Use a mild solution of disinfectant to wash hands, arms and all areas of the cow likely to come in contact with them or the calf."

Good grass availability has also produced large calves. "In this situation avoid excessive traction, and if things are tight get your vet in before you do damage," he says.n