How to support cows during the transition period
It is no secret that the transition period is the most important period in a lactating cows lifecycle.
Three weeks prior to calving, right through to three weeks post-calving, cows will undergo major changes and challenges as they dry-off, calve and re-enter the milking herd.
During this time, it is imperative these cows receive first-class management, with rigid protocols in place. In order to provide the best support possible, it is important to understand how the transition period affects production, reproduction, and overall health and how this effects profitability and efficiency.
Success in their next lactation
There are many factors that affect the transition period. In order to set cows up for success in their next lactation, cows must be properly managed in their previous lactation.
Following correct drying -off protocols are important to avoiding challenges around this time and to set the transition period on the right path. Many environmental factors also contribute to the success of the transition period, such as temperature, bedding, stock density etc.
Transition period protocol
Routine protocols can benefit the transition period greatly. Supporting the entire herd will significantly improve overall animal health, production, reproduction and longevity – which is the main goal – having healthier cows, producing quality milk, in the herd for longer.
AHV has designed a Transition Protocol for grass-based systems, to be used during this period in order to support the cow at calving and during her lactation:
- At the first signs of calving administer AHV Milk Start Tablets – this will support the cow for mineral deficiencies at the point of calving;
- After the cow has just calved an abundance of support is required at this stage. She will be lacking in energy and we want the cow to begin eating as soon as possible, therefore AHV advise to administer a combination of AHV Metri Tablet and Milk Start Paste. The Metri will cleanse the uterus of the placenta and Milk Start will encourage the cow to eat, also supplying a large boost of Energy, Calcium, Phosphate, Magnesium and active Vitamin D3. AHV Aspi can also be given at this stage to provide recovery support;
- AHV Booster tablet is also administered post-calving to reduce Negative Energy Balance (NEB) by improving rumen and liver function. The optimal time to administer the Booster tablet is two weeks prior to calving, but this is not practical on a grass based, spring-block calving system. The sooner the better to reduce the risk of NEB in early lactation;
- Seven to 10 days post calving use AHV Extra tablet and Aspi tablet to cleanse out the udder tissue and start the lactation with a healthy, well-balanced udder.
Metabolically, prior to calving, the cow’s body is operating one way, but immediately after calving the body begins to operate in a different way.
After calving, the demand for minerals and energy increases. In response to this change, challenges can occur as the immune system will be temporarily compromised.
If we take a proactive approach and support the herd of cows with these essentials by implementing them in a routine protocol, you are fully supporting your cows through this critical period.
A herd that is supported correctly, is a healthier herd that has a higher chance of being fully productive, and therefore, more profitable to the farm.
AHV understands every farm is different, with different pressures and challenges. If you are faced with challenges during the transition period, it is important to remember that due to increasing resistance, efficacy may be decreased, and your current standard of protocols may need to be readjusted.
Your AHV consultant will be on hand in these instances to adjust and advise on the best protocol practice for your farm.
Get in touch to discuss the AHV Transition Program further or any of AHV’s other programmes and how they can be implemented on your farm in the coming weeks leading into the upcoming calving season.
Proactive support around calving
Below we show the protocol we recommend around calving. Clicking on the picture will give you more information about the product. However, we always recommend using the products in a programme for optimal results.
14-7 days before calving Booster tablet
1 day before calving
Milk Start tablet
Right after calving
Right after calving
Milk Start Paste
7 after calving
7 after calving
Get in touch!
Would you like to be visited by an advisor to discuss the health challenges on your farm together? Our AHV Specialist will be happy to visit you to jointly assess the health of your cows and come up with appropriate cow-specific advice.
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