It is good practice to be cautious around a cow directly after she has given birth. It is in these moments that her maternal instincts are kicking in particularly strongly.
What is less known is that cow attacks have surpassed bull attacks as the number one cause of livestock related deaths.
On top of this, Teagasc statistics show that livestock related accidents accounted for 22% of farm fatalities in 2015 and 33% of all farm accidents.
Entering the pen with a normally docile cow shouldn’t be taken lightly especially at calving time.
In a poll taken by Irish farming magazine Agriland, 47% of farmers revealed that they had been attacked by a cow at calving time.
Here are just a few things Teagasc say you should look out for to minimise the risk of an accident:
Make sure that when your cows/heifers are calving, they are safely secured in a fully operational calving gate. Cows can become very agitated directly after calving.
Leave the cow and calf alone after calving for 20 to 30 minutes after calving to bond. Doing this will give the cow time to calm down.
Remain vigilant at all times – you never know when an accident could happen!
Calf not suckling
Very often calves can be weak when newly born, and they don’t suckle straight away. If that is the case, put the cow back in the calving gate and assist calf to feed or give it some thawed out warm colostrum using bucket with a teat.
Isolate and secure the cow when BVD tagging and inserting DAFM registration tag.
Ongoing aggression from the cow over more than a few days can be indicative that the aggressive streak is a genetic trait in the cow.
Because aggression can be genetic, it is advised that you cull the cow. Docility can be bred in over time.
Never allow children to become involved with cows during or after calving.
Plan your escape
You should only enter cow pens when it is absolutely necessary – If you are entering such a pen, have an escape route planned