Consider adding a calf cart to your maternity pen area. At Duo Dairy in Loveland, Colo., a small, hard-plastic cart is stored in the maternity area to assist employees and improve biosecurity. Here are a few ways it helps:
- The employees place fresh straw in the cart and have it nearby when a cow delivers. “If assistance is required, such as with dystocia births, the calf is delivered directly into the cart,” says herd veterinarian Greg Goddell. This makes it easy to provide any extra assistance to the calf and limits the exposure to pathogens that may be in the hospital area.
- If a cow delivers on her own, the cart can ease an employee’s job of moving the newborn to the calf facility. The cart can be wheeled right into the pen.
- If you are trying to avoid the spread of Johne’s you can place the calf in the cart after delivery and allow the dam to clean the animal through a headlock. This stops the calf from suckling the dam and picking up Johne’s from the environment.