Spring calving cow herd
n Consider vaccinating the cows to help prevent calf scours.
n Keep replacement heifer calves gaining to be cycling before the start of the spring breeding season.
n Start cows on the high magnesium mineral supplement soon. Consider protein supplementation if hay is less than 10% crude protein. If cows are thin, begin energy (grain) supplementation now. Cows must reach a body condition score of five before calving to maximize their opportunity for reproductive success. Supplementation now allows adequate time for cows to calving in adequate body condition score.
n Get ready for calving season! See that all equipment and materials are ready and plan for enough labor to watch/assist during the calving period.
n Move early‑calving heifers and cows to pastures that are relatively small and easily accessible to facilities in case calving assistance is needed. Keep them in good condition but don't overfeed them at this time. Increase their nutrient intake after they calve.
Fall calving cow herd
n Provide clean windbreaks and shelter for young calves.
n Breeding season continues. Keep fall calving cows on accumulated pasture as long as possible, then start feeding hay/grain. Don't let these cows lose body condition!
n Feed hay in areas where mud is less of a problem. Consider preparing a feeding area with gravel over geotextile fabric or maybe a concrete feeding pad.
n Increase feed as the temperature drops, especially when the weather is extremely cold and damp. When temperature drops to 15 degrees, cattle need access to windbreaks.
n Provide water at all times. Cattle need five to 11 gallons per head daily even in the coldest weather. Be aware of frozen pond hazards. Keep ice broken so that cattle won't walk out on the pond trying to get water. Automatic waterers, even the "frost-free" or "energy-free" waterers can freeze up in extremely cold weather. Watch closely.
Source: Les Anderson, Ph.D., Beef Extension Specialist, University of Kentucky
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