Source: National Farm Animal Care Council, Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Beef Cattle Section 1.3
Beef cows typically calve outside. If calving occurs during periods of extremely cold weather, sheltered, bedded calving areas (natural or constructed) can protect the cow and calf during this vulnerable time (3). Cows typically separate themselves from the rest of the herd as calving approaches. Isolating a calving cow or a cow-calf pair in an individual pen may benefit the cow and the calf if intervention is required.
Newborn calves are susceptible to disease, so calving facilities should be designed and maintained to minimize disease transmission. In particular, calf scours can be a problem, especially in confined calving areas, which can become progressively more contaminated as the calving season progresses. The risk of scours is reduced by maintaining dry conditions and preventing contact with infected cattle.
Provide an environment that is safe and clean for calving and that promotes calf survival.
- keep calving areas free of cattle until just prior to calving. This will minimize manure contamination and help reduce calf diseases
- if calving indoors, be prepared to separate calving cows and heifers into pens with adequate bedding
- maintain calving areas and areas housing cows with young calves in such a way as to reduce the contact of young calves with manure, noting that such areas become increasingly contaminated as the calving season progresses.