It has been a busier week for Newford Farm manager Iarlaith Collins, with another 16 calves born in the week leading up to Saturday afternoon (13 February).

This brings the total number of calves born since calving started in late January to 32 out of 92 due to calve or about 35% completed.

Iarlaith is expecting calving to continue at a high rate, with in the region of 80% of cows bred in the first six weeks of the breeding season and a lot of cows now on the point of calving.

Iarlaith says calving is still progressing well, with no significant issues to report.

Most calving unassisted

From the total number of calvings so far, there has been one cow recorded as requiring veterinary assistance (calving score of 4), one which experienced considerable difficulty (calving score of 3), a handful requiring some assistance (calving score of 2) and the remainder calving unassisted (calving score of 1).

The oldest calves and their dams will be transferred to the main slatted shed

Cows continue to spend about 24 to 36 hours in individual calving pens before being transferred to a straw-bedded group pen.

With weather conditions looking increasingly likely of preventing even a small number of cows and calves being turned outdoors in the near future, the oldest calves and their dams will be transferred to the main slatted shed, with the passageway on one side of the double tank running down the centre of the shed used as a temporary creep area.

Health focus

A strong focus is being placed on reducing the risk of disease establishing.

Lime continues to be applied regularly under cows in-calf and housed on slats, while straw is being topped up regularly in calving areas and group penning.

Disinfectant footbaths are also in place outside the door of each shed entrance to cut down on the risk of disease spreading between sheds if it materialises.

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