August will see autumn calving kicking off on suckler farms across the country, so take the time over the coming days to complete a stock take of calving aids and make sure sheds are ready for use.

Locate the calving jack, make sure the ratchet is working and the headstock moves freely.

Make sure the jack is clean, then store it next to the calving pens so it can be easily located.

Calving ropes should be clean, soft and have no sign of fraying. If ropes are frayed or hard, then discard and buy new ones. Frayed, hard ropes will irritate the cow when placed on the calf’s leg.

Stock up

Stock up on calving gloves, both arm-length and wrist-length versions. Wearing the shorter gloves over an arm-length glove gives greater grip when pulling leg ropes.

Buy a proper calving lubricant for use during hard labour. Stock up on iodine and antiseptic sprays used to treat a calf’s naval at birth.

Colostrum substitutes, scour tablets and electrolytes are also worth purchasing, as is a new stomach tube if the existing one is dirty or the pipe is scuffed in any way.

Check the medicine cupboard for pain relief and medicines that can be used to treat a bacterial infection if cows are slow to clean properly.

Finally, re-order ear tags for the upcoming calving season and wash out calving pens before they are required, if this job has yet to be completed.

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