Always dip a newborn calf’s umbilical cord with 7 percent tincture of iodine.

This accomplishes three things, says the March 2001 Calving Ease newsletter. First, it washes off manure, urine and dirt that may have accumulated on the cord. Second, it kills the pathogens that might be coating the cord. And, finally, the iodine helps dry the cord, closing off the pathway to the animal’s blood stream.

Dipping should occur within hours of birth, but calf-raisers may want to redip at one day of age to kill residual bacteria and promote rapid cord closure.