Cows spend more time standing as calving approaches. “Recent work has shown that there is around a three-hour-per-day increase in daily standing time from four days before calving to the day of calving,” says Nigel Cook, veterinarian at the
Extra standing during this time may trigger lameness, Cook says.
Heifers are particularly vulnerable to increased standing, especially when moved from a bedded pack, pasture or dirt lot to a free-stall environment. To encourage lying, transition heifers to free-stalls well before calving time. “The close-up pen should not be the first time a heifer sees a free-stall and a headlock,” Cook says.