Cows and breeding heifers should be inspected daily to make sure all are in healthy and in good order. Depending on the time of year or whether cows are in calf or freshly calved, there may be extra things to look out for, but the basics do often remain the same for all farmers.

If cows are happy and healthy they will be grazing, resting or lounging so it’s important keep an eye out for any cows that appear restless or cows that are alone in a field, this might be a sign that they are sick or in heat, or maybe even close to calving.

Calves are the most vulnerable of animals. It is important to monitor them closely particularly in the first two weeks after birth as that is when risk of mortality is highest. A healthy calf will stretch when they get up and will have a bright eye. Keep an eye out for calves that appear dull or have drooped ears, watch to see that they do not have any signs of scour and that they have suckled their mother.

If cows are in calf and due shortly, observe signs that a cow might be close to calving by looking out for cows that have separated themselves from the herd, check to see if their “pin bones” are loosening or they are “springing up”.

If you have a bull running with your herd during breeding season, observe to make sure he is mounting and inseminating cows successfully, watch out for signs of lameness or tiredness.  If you have no bull and are trying to detect cows in heat, important cues are clear slime appearing from the vulva, restlessness, mounting or standing to be mounted by other cows, early in the morning or late in the evening is usually the best time to check.

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

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