Calving Management Workshop
Ricardo Chebel, DVM, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, and Colleen Larson, UF/IFAS Dairy Extension, hosted a calving workshop at the Okeechobee County Extension office. Pre-veterinary students from surrounding universities and dairy maternity staff attended the class to improve their calf delivery skills. Dr. Chebel covered anatomy, labor, causes of dystocia (calving difficulty), methods of assisting delivery, and preventative measures. Classes were offered in English and Spanish. Attendees gathered for a delicious BBQ lunch provided by ABS and Select Sires. Following the classroom sessions and lunch, the participants had the opportunity to practice the skills they had learned. Students practiced using calf delivery equipment and reviewed safe and hygienic handling procedures. Local veterinarian, Judd Simms, DVM, and University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine graduate students assisted participants with equipment and practicing calf delivery methods. Post-mortem calves were positioned in various presentations within a artificial reproductive tract that would normally require assistance. Some positions that may require assistance are breech (backwards), fore or rear limbs flexed, head turned back, and calf upside down. Participants were able to practice their new skills and trouble-shoot problems with delivery techniques.
Many times, calf losses on a dairy farm can be prevented when maternity personnel know the signs to look for and have the resources to assist in the delivery. Most dairy farms have an employee observing maternity cows 24 hours a day. Since a cow should deliver a calf within two hours of the onset of active labor (stage 2), immediate assistance may be required if normal labor is not progressing. Trained personnel can increase the likelihood that the calf survives and the cow recovers normally from the delivery. Dairy producers are continually participating in activities that improve management and sustainability.