Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Content
Posted: 08/23/2022

5 Tips for a Successful Fall Calving Season

The first 24 hours in a calf’s life are the most crucial for its survival. We know it’s been a journey and an investment getting to this point, so we want to help make this critical time easier for you. As you anticipate the upcoming calving season, get ready – and stay ready – to welcome new calves with PBS Animal Health.

Here are 5 tips for a successful calving season:

  1. Have calving supplies on hand
  2. Be ready with colostrum
  3. Skip the scours
  4. Keep calves warm
  5. Don’t forget vaccines

Tip #1: Have Calving Supplies On Hand

Having what you need to take care of the calves – before they start arriving – is always key. It’s why we created a complete calving checklist for customers like you to stay organized ahead of the season.

From bottles and nipples, to calf pullers, electrolytes, identification, and so much more, PBS Animal Health has everything you need. Download and print the calving checklist for your convenience, or shop by category for thousands of items priced right, in stock and ready to ship.

Close up of dairy calf nose

Tip #2: Be Ready with Colostrum

Colostrum is a mother’s first milk produced after birth and it’s rich with nutrients and antibodies. Calves need colostrum to protect against disease because their mother’s antibodies don’t get passed along while in utero. Without the proper colostrum intake in the first 12 hours of life, a calf is more likely to get scours and develop respiratory problems.

If you're calving in cold weather, it can be a challenge to get the calves up and nursing soon after birth. Our customers love the Nursemate ASAP supplement that helps give calves a head start while getting them up and nursing ASAP. One reviewer said “it’ll be routine practice for every calf now.

Colostrum Replacers

Sometimes we have to replace colostrum because the dam doesn’t produce enough, won’t let the calf nurse, or down from calving.. That’s why it’s imperative that you have colostrum on hand prior to calving – so you’re ready with it when the calf is ready to arrive.

Consider these popular colostrum replacers for your upcoming season:
  • Calf's Choice Total Colostrum Gold is made only from natural, premium quality bovine colostrum (not a manufactured formula). If you don’t end up needing it this season, it’s got a 3-year shelf life when stored at room temperature.
  • Calf's Choice Total Colostrum HiCal is very high in natural colostral fat and is intended for calves needing extra energy. Use this to supplement or completely replace maternal colostrum, and feed as soon as possible after birth.

Popular scours products

Tip #3: Skip the Scours

Calf scours leads to dehydration and is the leading cause of death for calves less than a month old. As soon as a calf hits the ground, it is already a substantial investment of both time and money that you’ll want to protect. Start calves off strong with a nutritional supplement that helps them fend off scours and other costly illnesses. Consider one of our customer favorites below:

  • Achieve Pro with Cryptex Calf Supplement has a sweet smell that helps encourage acceptance. It also contains bone charcoal to build a healthy, stable gut even during times of stress.
  • First Arrival with Encrypt Calf Supplement provides Encrypt®, a unique fiber source with absorptive capabilities and releases organic acids to support a healthy gut when fed for 14 days.
  • DuraZyme Paste for Calves will increase energy levels and supplement maternal colostrum with this maximum strength formula designed to aid in fighting disease, minimize intestinal infections, and enhance appetite and digestion.

Popular calf warming products

Tip #4: Keep Calves Warm

A calf’s normal body temperature (around 102 degrees) can drop quickly during outdoor calving, especially in windy, muddy areas. The stress from cold conditions can make them slow to stand and nurse. Whenever possible, bring the cows indoors to clean, bedded pens to welcome their calves in a warmer environment. If you can’t get inside, at least avoid the mud and try to find a space that blocks the wind.

You’ll know calves need to be warmed when their nostrils and/or hooves are cold and pale. Other signs include shivering, rapid breathing, and moving erratically or in an uncoordinated way. If you observe any of these signs, get them indoors and under a heat lamp or warm blankets. Our customers keep calf blankets from 3M and Weaver Livestock, as well as calf ear muffs and kalf kozies on hand each season to keepcalves warm as needed.

Tip #5: Don’t Forget Vaccines

Colostrum gives calves a good start, but we can’t forget the need to build additional immunity using vaccines. Pre-weaning vaccinations help to boost a calf’s natural immunity, but not all are safe for newborns. To help you find the right vaccines for your calves, and to determine which vaccines are safe for pregnant cows in the future, check out the PBS Animal Health cattle vaccine comparison chart.

Our thorough chart covers vaccines for:
  • Salmonella
  • Clostridial Diseases
  • Lepto & Vibrio
  • Pinkeye
  • Scours
  • Mastitis Prevention
  • Footrot & Warts
  • Tetanus
  • Rabies
When you find the vaccines that are right for your herd, click on the names to go directly to the product pages for easy ordering.

Be Ready and Stay Ready with PBS Animal Health

With a partner like PBS Animal Health, you’ll be ready to welcome your calves like a pro. We’ve got the tips and a plethora of supplies to guide you through the preparation, and our new Calving Center for even more insights and resources. PBS Animal Health is here to give you sure footing this season, and we’ll be here with everything your growing, healthy calves need down the road.

Visit The Learning Center For More Articles

Read the Latest