There isn’t a universal “calving season.” Thanks to modern breeding management, calving can occur at any point in the year, anytime a cow is ready to give birth. The timing is up to the cow-calf operation. But one thing is universal: Whenever it does happen, ranch resources, including labor, feed, and equipment, should be readily available to help move the process along with minimal complication.
Many ranchers opt for a fall calving season, which takes place in and around late summer and early fall. Fall calving is often preferable due to feed availability or market prices. Many ranchers also select this season to prevent calf scours or calf diarrhea, which causes more financial loss to cow-calf producers than any other disease. For fall calving to be successful, the operation must be in a mild climate (the southeast, for example).
According to Oklahoma State University’s Calving Time Management for Beef Cows and Heifers guide, ranchers with calves on the way should do the following to gear up for the season:
- Thoroughly check equipment: Pre-calving season, walk through your pens, chutes, and calving stalls. Assess cleanliness, strength, safety, and functionality.
- Develop a plan: Pre-calving season, create a plan, complete with a process for birthing and emergency contacts just in case. Make sure all ranch workers are well-versed on the plan.
- Stock up on supplies: Make sure you have disposable obstetrical sleeves, non-irritant antiseptic, lubricant, obstetrical chains (60 inch and/or two 30 inch chains), two obstetrical handles, mechanical calf pullers, injectable antibiotics, a good flashlight with extra batteries, and some old towels or a roll of paper towels. Pack all these things and other items you may want into a 5 gallon bucket to create an obstetrical kit. This way, you have everything you need in an easily accessible place.
Need more information on calving season protocols, remedies, and common complications? Refer to the complete guide from Oklahoma State University.
If you want to start or expand a cow-calf business, contact our ag lending team to learn more about our agriculture loan types. Quickly get the ag financing you need to get your cattle business booming. AgAmerica offers ranch loans at low interest rates, featuring flexible payment terms to work with you and your budget. Ag loans can be used to purchase or make improvements to your ranch property, improve conservation efforts, pay operating expenses or buy machinery and breeding stock.