Some of the key areas of focus during these
inspections should consider: whether or not there is a plan in
place to minimise the risk of attack from a cow when handling a
new-born calf; Is there an adequate physical barrier established
between the farmer and the freshly calved cow when treating and
handling calves?; and are facilities and procedures adequate for
loading and unloading animals?
Good handling facilities, and
holding-areas where cows can be monitored remotely are important
and can help reduce farmer fatigue. Well prepared calving units
with clean bedding, calving gates and the necessary equipment
will ensure safety and reduce stress both on farmers and on the
With much of calving happening during short and often
dull days, or at night, farmers are encouraged to have plenty of
well-positioned lights in calving units and around the farm yard as
this will greatly improve visibility and safety.
The maternal instinct of the cow kicks in some hours before calving and may
last for sever al days after wards.
Knowing an animal ’s temperament is an advantage, but it is important to remember that any
cow can attack or kick at any stage, so extreme care should be taken when handling all cows at calving as a so called quiet cow can
become dangerous at calving time.
Never turn your back on a cow
after calving, and having a good calving gate and locking
barrier is essential when assisting a cow at calving or for putting a calf sucking to avoid a kick from a cow.
When managing any
newborn calf, naval dipping, tagging , treatment, or so on,
it is absolutely critical that there is an adequate and strong
physical barrier between the farmer and the cow .
The risk of
attack is highest when treating the calf, as it may ball, alerting the cow whose natural protective instinct will be to
Also, be very careful when having dogs around calving
pens, as this can also trigger cows to attack.
The vast majority
of livestock attacks and fatalities happen in this way, and
farmers can prevent further serious injury or deaths by
ensuring that they have a strong physical barrier in place.
anyone thinking of converting a shed into a calving house or
constructing a new calving shed, it is a good idea to go and see
a few calving sheds and pens on other farms in order to get ideas,
and talk to farmers to get their views on how their set up is
working ; Is there any change or modification they would
To summarise: ensure that your own safe ty and the safety of others working on your farm is the top priority during the
busy calving period. Take some time to plan ahead and, hope fully
, this will save you a lot of time in the longer term
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