Ensure that cows have a Body Condition Score of 3-3.5 at calving

Transition cow management

Transition cow management starts with managing the Body Condition Score at calving. Subsequently, the transition from the dry cow period to lactation should be smooth, to ensure that dry matter intake after calving increases as rapidly as possible.

To ensure a smooth calving process, select bulls carefully to avoid dystocia and avoid stress around calving. Manage the calcium balance of the transition cow and avoid drastic changes in feed composition. Maximise energy density in the diet after calving and provide sufficient levels of glucogenic energy.

Negative energy balance

Cows reach their peak lactation at about 4-8 weeks after calving. Dry matter intake does not increase at an equal pace; the peak in dry matter intake is usually reached 6-8 weeks later. As a result, transition cows are in negative energy balance up to the first 3 months after calving. Managing the energy balance correctly during those first 4-8 weeks is an essential part of transition cow management.

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Calcium deficiency

Colostrum and milk contain large quantities of calcium. Therefore, the amounts of calcium that a cow needs directly after calving easily doubles. Cows try to avoid calcium deficiency by increasing the uptake of calcium from the diet and by mobilizing calcium from the bones. This requires a hormonal adaptation which takes about 2 days.

 

 

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