May 9, 2021


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Changeover Cow Management: A lot A lot more Than Just Eating plan | Dairy Farming News & Information and facts

As I described in a single of my past article content, the changeover period of time is just one of, if not the, most difficult period of time for dairy cows in the course of their generation cycle.

All through this time, cows expertise 4 major physiological issues: a drop in dry make any difference intake, an maximize in nutrient needs, immunosuppression, and systemic anxiety and irritation (especially close to calving).

Thus, the most effective solution to deal with this group of animals is by addressing these difficulties.

If we imagine about the fall in consumption and the maximize in nutrient wants, the major negative effects are animals receiving into a destructive power stability (due to the fact they are using extra nutrition than what they are consuming) and developing metabolic diseases this kind of as ketosis and fatty liver.

Now, we can’t reduce the nutrient needs that cows have at this time, but we can lessen the drop in dry make a difference consumption by means of good administration.

Despite the fact that cows will practical experience some diploma of immunosuppression all through this time irrespective of administration, an exacerbated annoying and/or inflammatory reaction may magnify this immunosuppression, expanding the risk of cows producing health conditions.

The losses for dairy cows related with diseases are nicely acknowledged, but on top of affecting the welfare of cows and the pockets of the farmers at the moment of delivering appropriate procedure, these situations have a very long-time period result on the efficiency and fertility of cows, decreasing milk output and conception premiums, and expanding culling of animals.

By modulating stress and swelling after calving, the dangers of creating health conditions and lousy general performance may perhaps be reduced.

The management techniques for changeover cows need to be centered on maximizing dry issue consumption and modulating stress and inflammation.

To maximize dry subject consumption, eating plan composition — in particular fiber and electricity concentrations —is 1 of the most essential variables to accomplish this.

Dr. Robert Van Saun plainly spelled out in our previous article content some of the essential elements for formulating transition cow diets.


While diet composition is vital, I would argue that what we do with that diet plan is equally vital.

We could have the best formulated eating plan with the finest substances, but if cows do not have entry to it, the food plan composition would be irrelevant.

During this time period, cows should really have access to fresh feed at least 23 hrs a day, and only have no feed readily available even though cleansing the feed bunk in amongst feed deliveries.

There are two principal procedures that promote cows to go to the feed bunk and try to eat — feed drive-ups and feed shipping frequency.

It is encouraged to press feed up each individual two to four several hours, but do it much more normally (each and every 30 minutes) around the initially two hours following fresh feed is sent.

With regard to feed supply frequency, analysis has shown that when performed typically, up to 4 moments a working day, this practice will stimulate cows to go to the feed bunk and eat.

Even so, feeding cows 4 instances a day can be logistically complex in a farm location, and the advice is to provide fresh feed at the very least two situations a day, ideally three, for this group of animals.

Stocking Density

Now, none of the practices previously mentioned will function if cows are not presented a spot in the dining table, which leads to an essential factor: appropriate stocking density.

Though this is a wide subject, I will check out to summarize it in a number of sentences.

There are two ways to measure stocking density a single of them is centered on the lying surface, or stalls, and the other a single is based on the feed bunk room.

The most secure way to assess this, in purchase to promise feed availability, is to use the feed bunk place approach.

By measuring the feed bunk place in inches and dividing that by range of cows in the pen, the house at the feed bunk that each individual cow has entry to can be approximated.

Ideally, 30 inches of feed bunk space is demanded for every cow in the pen, which will be very similar to having a stocking density of 80%-85% primarily based on variety of stalls in the pen.

Other techniques that can improve dry subject intake and modulate worry are holding the variety of pen movements at the minimum achievable (to lessen the tension linked with the re-institution of pen social hierarchy), and averting commingling 1st-lactation cows with older cows.

Lowering Worry

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Quite a few of these techniques described over could modulate strain and inflammation to some diploma even so, there are unique tactics about calving that could have a bigger result.

In one particular of our scientific studies, we observed that cows that working experience a complicated calving have an elevated inflammatory reaction in the times just after calving, and subsequently, a larger risk of building disorders in comparison to cows that experienced a typical calving.

Hence, timely identification and suitable help of cows experiencing a challenging calving is crucial to reduce irritation and strain during this time.

As I have pointed out in numerous of my former posts, staff coaching is the really to start with, and maybe the most essential, stage to accomplish this.

In the exact study, we observed that cows that experienced dystocia and ended up addressed with a gentle anti-inflammatory drug generated practically 10 lbs per day additional milk during the initially 30 days right after calving in contrast to cows that experienced dystocia but were being not taken care of.

Similarity, multiparous cows, regardless of calving issue, that ended up taken care of with this anti-inflammatory drug had reduce systemic swelling and created almost 4 lbs for each working day extra milk in the course of the initially 30 times in milk in contrast to cows that had been not taken care of.

In a a lot more current analyze, we identified that cows that received this mild anti-inflammatory remedy solution experienced decreased incidence of uterine disorders, these kinds of as metritis, and also improved fertility.

For that reason, there may possibly be an edge to modulating swelling after calving.

If you observed, I mentioned “modulating” and not “decreasing.” The cause driving this is that cows need to have the tension and inflammatory responses for purely natural procedures these types of as parturition initiation and expulsion of the placenta.

In a review exactly where cows were addressed with a strong anti-inflammatory drug during and immediately after calving, taken care of cows had a bigger level of stillborn calves, postpartum fever, retained placenta, metritis and lessened milk creation.

Management of changeover cows is a person of the most crucial facets on farm management that will set up dairy cows for accomplishment all through the lactation period if correctly implemented.

The key plans of these procedures need to be maximizing dry make a difference consumption and modulating worry and inflammation.

Outstanding diet program formulation and feed bunk management are crucial for lowering the fall in dry matter consumption nonetheless, if cows do not have entry to the diet, these practices will be meaningless.

Calving monitoring and right help, alongside with mild anti-inflammatory treatment, can be valuable to modulate anxiety and swelling soon after calving and lessen the losses affiliated with this interval.