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‘If a calf is saved as a result of a calving gate, it is paid for’

In this article, Enda Geoghegan, Teagasc advisor, provides calving season safety tips that can help reduce accidents.

One-quarter of Irish farm accidents and one-fifth of farm deaths are livestock-related.

Attacks by recently calved cows are a common cause of such accidents.

Calving is a very stressful time on the farm; indeed, it is stressful for both human and animal. A cow that is normally quiet out in the field can become very aggressive at calving.

So, the amount of contact between the cow and farmer should be kept to a minimum. This can be achieved through the existence of good facilities.

Reduce accidents during calving season

A calving camera is a piece of equipment many people do not think about when they think of safety. It is important because you can monitor the calving, and if everything is ok with the calving, contact can be kept to a minimum.

A calving gate is a must on any sucker farm. A calving gate takes the pressure off you as the cow is securely restraint and can be worked on in a safe fashion. The typical cost for a calving gate is €600-€700. If a calf is saved as a result of a calving gate, it is paid for. If your life is saved, then that is priceless; ask your family.

Good lighting for calving indoors, is essential for safety and efficiency in dealing with the birth as well as lighting in the shed itself; make sure that the lighting in the yard is working properly. Trips and falls going from the house to the shed at night can be avoided with good lighting.

Calving equipment. Ensure your calving jack and ropes in good working order and ready for action. Make sure all calving equipment is stored in one place and is ready for use.

Never enter the pen to tag a calf; always have a barrier or gate between you and the cow if you are tagging a calf.

Keep children away from the shed at calving time. Cows can become very protective of the calf, and attacks on children can occur. So be very aware of this.

We can say the same for dogs in and around the farm keep them away from the calving shed.

Following the above tips can help reduce accidents during calving season, but please always have common sense when dealing with livestock. Good luck with your calving season, and keep safe.

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