I didn’t have this in mind to write about but it just came up and it is something that is overlooked.
We fed our animals well and I would have said that we did all the time but there was a time, (I still see people do it) when we used the heifers and often pregnant heifers to graze the paddocks down so we could sow them with minimal trash/dry grass to clog the seeder. After being pregnant myself, I realised how terribly cruel that was. Man oh man I was hungry most of the time from the moment I got pregnant, both times. And if I was somewhere not close to food when I started to get hungry, I quickly got hangry (pregnant term for hungry and angry). People use the dry cows for the same thing, to clean up the paddocks. I feel so much for these pregnant animals now and hope that farmers can realise that that time in an animals life is when they possibly need the most nurturing. Load them up with a variety of fodder, both dry and fresh. Mineral licks, weedy paddocks, the lot. I bet you will notice a difference in the transition from pregnant to the dairy. And possibly less infection, retained placentas and ease of calving. As long as their environment at calving time is stress free. By stress free I mean trying to keep it as natural as possible. If they are in the paddock, make sure they have enough shelter and predators are kept away. I considered buying a Mareema dog or an Alpaca to keep the foxes away. I never did because of the care needed for the dog (feeding) and the shearing of the Alpaca. If they are calving indoors try to have it nice and dry, plenty of space, clean water and minimal distractions and noise. They need to be in their comfort zone.
Once they get to the dairy you obviously don’t want the cows standing around for hours ( like we did at our old dairy). This creates so many feet problems. And for a fresh cow the last thing she needs is to be standing around uncomfortable. I really wanted to plant herbs around the edges of the yard for them to pick at while they waited. Any herb you can think of. I was going to plant lavender (is great for almost all things such as relaxing, antiseptic), tansy (keeps flies and mosquitos away), roses ( good for the heart and the rosehip oil is great for the anti inflammatory and immune system) , rosemary (high in vitamins and minerals), marjoram (vitamins A & K), lemongrass (insect repellent) and basil (anti inflammatory, Vitamins A & K) just to name a few . Pretty much any herb you have in your kitchen. Also be sure to have fresh water up both sides of the cow yard for incoming and outgoing cows and plenty of shade and shelter and plenty of air circulation.
I try to keep these posts short to enable you to read them quickly and apologise if it seems as if I jump off quickly. There is so much to cover on each topic and I don’t want to go too deep and lose your interest. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. And I truly appreciate the time you have taken to read my post.
Have a happy day.