Close-up dry cow diets should contain slightly more energy and metabolizable protein than far-off dry cow diets, but energy density still should be controlled to optimize intake after calving. Mineral balance of dry cow diets is critical to prevent problems after calving. Diets for dry cows 3 weeks before calving often contain lower potassium forages and grain products to allow for formulation of diets that prevent subclinical and clinical milk fever. Subclinical milk fever, lower blood calcium content without clinical signs, has been associated with higher risks of mastitis, retained placenta, metritis, and displaced abomasums.
Minimize stresses on close-up dry cows
Social, environmental, and metabolic stresses can negatively impact not only feed intake but also immune function and overall productivity and health of dairy cows before and after calving. Management practices that decrease these stresses include: