The Moocall Calving Sensor can greatly reduce the amount of time spent watching cows in the run up to calving, meaning you only have to be present as calving is taking place. This is fantastic news for farmers, but even when using a Moocall Calving sensor, nighttime calvings do take their toll, with some broken sleep or lack of sleep inevitable. It is widely known how lack of sleep can have adverse effects on our overall health and wellbeing, but also risk of accident and injury is greatly increased on farms when fatigue is a factor.
Some nighttime calvings are unavoidable but can we do anything to reduce the number of our cows calving through the night?
Research has shown that feeding cows late in the evening can reduce the number of cows calving during the night. A Teagasc study has shown that by restricting feeding time between 8:30 in the evening and 10:30 in the morning, nighttime calvings were reduced by 9% in comparison with unrestricted access to feed.
Feeding late in the evening or restricting access to feed during the day may be a viable option on many farms, and if night calvings are reduced by 9% or more it is well worth the effort.
When operating night feeding or having restricted feed access during the day, it is important to consider the following:
- As feeding time is restricted it is important there is sufficient space at the feed face for each cow to eat comfortably (0.6m per cow). This will help avoid bullying and cow injury and ensure heifers or lowly ranked cows get their fair share of feed
- Restrict and feed at the same time daily, variations in the timing of feeding can reduce the effectiveness and results
- Cows need to have access to feed for 10 hours a day, for example from 10pm to 8am would be a good option
- It is necessary to practice night feeding for 10-14 days prior to calving to get the best results, batching cows in relation to their due dates can be a help here
For further advice on any of the above, please contact a member of the Moocall team to speak to some of our breeding specialists on +353 1 96 96 038 or email firstname.lastname@example.org