(Rural Roots Canada) – Calving season is a hectic time, but there are many things you can do to make it easier on yourself and your cattle.

Ken Miller is with the Olds College Smart Farm.

Miller says it is a good idea to think about where the cows and newborn calves are going when they are calving and afterward.

“Making sure your equipment and pens are in good working order for example,” Miller said.

He says that includes thinking about things like plowing out the snow around gates, which is not uncommon during an Alberta spring, and ensuring that access to your bedding straw or shavings is easily accessible.”

Miller emphasizes maintenance is key.

“Make sure those gate hinges are lubricated up, light bulbs are all in good order, try those switches they may not have been used in a few months.”

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He says it is important to make sure the cattle are well fed and that starts by engaging with your nutritionist.

“Do your feed analyst, know what those mother cows are going to need as within a few weeks of them calving they will be in full lactation and so you want to have them on a premium nutrition so those cows and calves are giving their most.”

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Miller says setting management goals can help in making a decision as to keep a cow that has lost its calf or to sell it.

You need to determine whether you are in a growth phase or contracting your herd.

“Some of these cows are maybe candidates for culling if you are tight for feed.”

He adds if there is an opportunity to rehome them on a neighbouring farm.

“Maybe there is a neighbour that will have a calf that will need to be suckled up, so again the opportunity to come back to the original goals and priorities.”