Following on from last times blog post where our cow had been dried off and seen by the foot trimmer. When a cow is approx. three weeks from calving they are moved into the ‘birthing unit’. So in today’s blog post, I wanted to talk about this next stage a little more.
When a cow is moved into the birthing unit, a birthing unit is a separate area within the sheds, we call it a loose housing area, as the cows aren’t on cubicles anymore and can lie where they want, it’s also to give them a little more space to enable the cows to get comfortable before the imminent labour starts. Loose housing consists of straw or paper bedding to lay on, which is soft for the cows and also is easy to maintain after the afterbirth has come out. We also have access to gates that arused if the farmer or vet need to help with the birth or intervene at any stage.
The birthing unit is closer to the farm house and right next to the parlour, so we can all keep an eye on any cows that have a ‘show’ that Labour has started, meaning we can supervise and if needed intervene. Some farms have a device called cow cam, which is a camera directed at their birthing unit so they can watch anytime of the day or night, to see what’s happening in that area (just like cctv).
The diet of the cows is also changed when they move into this area. This is to help the cows rumen prepare and develop antibodies to fight any bacteria, which should (hopefully) help with the cows post partrum recovery.
As always, I would just like to reiterate, what happens on our farm doesn’t always happen on other farms. All cows are different and therefore treated differently (and appropriately for their needs at that time) and lastly, I do hope I don’t receive any negativity for sharing this information as I have taken the time to write this, with no opinions shown, just the facts given! I look forward to sharing the next and FINAL instalment of a year in a cows life.