This tail-mounted motion detector, Moocall, will text your cell phone an hour before a cow is ready to calve.
 
The Moocall monitor is strapped to the cow’s tail opposite the vulva, and monitors tail movement. As the time of calving approaches, cows increase tail movements. Algorithms in the device then calculate when a cow is nearing the time of calving.
 
Once the text message is sent, calving typically occurs within an hour. With difficult calvings, when the cow is in distress, the device might text two to three hours before delivery. It will send a second text one hour after the first text if tail activity continues. 
 
The Moocall device can be moved from cow to cow, and has a battery life of up to 60 days before batteries need to be recharged. A text message is also sent when battery charge drops to 15%. Calving history and battery life can also be tracked on-line.
 
Jeff Bewley, a University of Kentucky dairy scientist who specializes in technology, has worked with the Moocall device. “When it’s on the animal, it does a really good job,” he says. 
But because it is fastened tightly to the tail, cows sometimes go to great lengths to rid themselves of the device.
 
The device should also be left on an animal for only four days because it can restrict blood flow through the tail, says Bewley.
 
For more information, go to: www.moocall.com.

Note: This story appears in the February 2017 issue of Dairy Herd Management.