Important Checks for Breeding in Dairy Cows
Breeding is obviously one of the most essential parts of dairy farming, and you want your cows and heifers to be getting pregnant on time. Here are some checks that you can do after calving to ensure that your cows have the best chance of being pregnant again at 60 days:
A ketosis test should be done on a milk sample between 3 and 5 days after calving. If the cow tests positive for ketosis they need to be treated for 3 days with 250ml of Glycol twice a day, and then retested 2 days after the last day of treatment to ensure that treatment has worked.
The temperature of a fresh cow should be taken daily for at least a week after calving to ensure that the cow is not experiencing any infection related to retained placenta or milk fever.
Monitor weight loss. Weigh your cows between 18 and 21 days after calving, and compare this to their weight the day after calving. The average weight loss should not be greater than 950g per day. Ideally it should be 800g per day.
Look out for excessive flies or bad smells coming from your fresh cow’s vulva in the 21 days after calving. If you notice anything, take the cow’s temperature again. If it is high, she is dirty and you need to consult a vet as soon as possible.
Check daily milk yield: cows should be producing close to herd peak yield by 21 days.
Check for any signs of lameness. Lameness can affect production for the whole lactation.
Look at rumen fill to ensure the fresh cow is eating well.
If your cow is not producing well but doesn’t have any other symptoms or a raised temperature you should check for a displaced abomasum. This is best done by a vet.
All of the information above should be available at 21 days after calving to help you to decide if the cow will be fit for breeding again at 60 days, or if you need to take any action to ensure she will not miss the 60 day program.