Some farmers do not care much about when their cows will calve down but for others, waiting for that calf comes with much anxiety.
Well, being able to know when the cow will calve down helps one prepare well for the new calf.
Adequate preparation will help you make necessary arrangements for potential challenges and enable you give the calf a good early life. It also helps influence decisions in management of the cow as the calving date approaches.
Remember, successful dairy farming is not all about milk yields, calves are important because they grow to become the replacement stock with which you can plan expansion of your dairy enterprise.
The first way to know the expected date of calving is by adding seven to the day of service and nine to the month of service.
For example, if a cow is served on January 1, 2019, she will be expected to calve down on October 8, 2019. And for a cow served on October 8, 2019, the expected calving date may be July 17, 2020.
The gestation (pregnancy) calendar on the other hand, provides a basic understanding and benefit of predicting when a cow could calve down.
Note: The dates of calving are based on 283 days of gestation and in some cases, calving can occur few days (work with 10 days) before or after the specified date, which also explains the little variation in the first formula and the gestation calendar.
The variation can be due to the cow breed and age of the dam (mother) and weight of the calf.
Prof Bebe and Opinya are based at the Department of Animal Sciences, Egerton University.
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Place cows and heifers that are about to calve under close supervision, especially the first-timers, because they are more susceptible to experiencing difficulties.
The farmer should be in a position to assist if the heifer exhibits any complications.
For the complete gestation and calving calendar, refer to the Seeds of Gold Magazine in the Saturday Nation of Saturday, August 10, 2019.