Beef Cattle Calving Assistance Summary
Here is a summary of the more important steps involved with your beef
cattle calving assistance procedures.
- Observe the herd closely during calving season, especially first-calf heifers because they will require the
- Have the proper equipment and facilities available prior to calving and in clean, working order.
- Give assistance during delivery or call a veterinarian when needed. Do not wait more than a few hours after
labor begins to act.
- Correct any abnormal fetal positions in the early stages of delivery.
- When pulling a calf, loop the chain or rope around the pastern. Apply gentle traction on one leg at a time
to facilitate passage of the shoulders through the birth canal.
- Remove mucus from the calf's nose and mouth immediately after birth. If the calf does not start to breathe
normally, tickle the nostrils, hold it up by the hind legs and shake it, or apply artificial respiration with a
piece of hose or by alternating pressure and release on the rib cage.
- Disinfect the navel cord with iodine to prevent infection. Make sure the calf nurses within an hour after
birth or give colostrum to weak calves.
- Keep birth weight and ease-of-calving records to identify those sires and dams responsible for calving
problems. This information is especially important for selecting sires to breed yearling heifers. When
possible, cull those females with a history of calving problems and avoid selecting replacement heifers from
such cows. Table 2 shows a simple calving-ease scoring system.
Calving-ease scoring system
You should always consult with your veterinarian for further information or assistance
when in doubt.