Supplies For Calving
I get asked all the time about what supplies are needed to keep on hand for when a family milk cow calves. So much so, that it warranted a blog post. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t raid your local tractor supply and prepare a plentiful medicine cabinet, because you should, But you don’t need all that for calving.
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When I got my first milk cow I read a million blogs and scrolled through even more animal supply catalogs. I must have purchased a $1000.00 worth of supplies to prepare for our upcoming new calf. From a $300 calf jack, 2 sets of chains, 2 sets of nylon straps, cord clamps, to a jug of orphan-no-more dust. Guess how many of those supplies I have used? None! I still have everyone of them, all packaged up nicely in my labeled barn drawers. I don’t think I could even tell you how to use a calf jack but I own one.
You see, calving is a bit more simple then we humans want to think. Apparently now days, we give cows and creatures alike very little credit for the their God given ability to deliver a child on their own. However, in reality, when it comes to mother nature, animals need very little intervention from mankind.
With that being said, there are few supplies one needs to purchase in preparation for a fresh calf. A few supplies, about $20.00 worth is all you need. Do not break the bank in preparation for your calf. Remember, momma cow knows exactly how to care for her new little one.
Supplies For Calving
Gloves. A good pair of gloves goes a long way in the farming business, however, a good pair of jersey knit gloves specifically are grip-able and in the event that one must pull a calf, you’ll want something with a good grip. Baby cows are slimy y’all.
CMPK. This is for mom. Not the calf. As momma cow is producing nutrient dense colostrum for her calf, her body is pulling nutrients from her own body’s reserves. To help prevent her from calcium depletion, thus suffering milk fever, you will want to hit her with a dose of oral cmpk, this is especially true if mom is a seasoned cow and not a heifer. Now, they make fancy guns to help shoot this down momma’s throat,much similar to a caulking gun but honestly, the wooden end of a hammer works just as well in a pinch.
You will want to keep a stack of fresh dry old beach towels on hand to help dry off the calf. Especially if your having a calf during cold weather months. I personally like to help momma dry off the calf, just a little, to show momma that I am friend, not foe. Because I mostly raise dairy cows, it is pertinent that mom and I are on the same caretaker page from day one.
Calf Bottle and Colostrum
Bottle and Colostrum Replacer. This is for ER use only. While 9 times out of 10 you will have a calf up and nursing in no time, there is always that one that you need to be prepared for. Not getting colostrum in the system is something one should not mess around with. In the event that something happened to mom, you will need to make sure the calf has a warm bottle of colostrum asap after birth. From that point on, you can decide to go the milk replacer route or find a nurse cow.
That’s about that. I don’t think that was even $20.
While this list is simple, as most calvings are, I do suggest one should always have the contact info of a good large animal vet on hand or even an old cowboy friend, just in case.