Preparing for Winter Calving Season at Wieczorek Farms

Calving season is full of highs and lows.

The highs? Seeing the first calf drop and watching it get its bearings on four wobbly legs.

The lows? Dealing with difficult calvings, calf loss and extreme weather, to name a few.

Here’s the Deal ... nothing makes me more happy then seeing new babies hit the ground. But in the same token there are many things that lead up to a successful calving season.

Learn how we navigate these challenges and take time to enjoy the beautiful moments.. and yes- catch them on film for the YouTube viewers at home .

Here at Wieczorek Farms we calve two times a year. Winter/Spring and Fall. We start calving February for a 75 day stretch and then again come fall for a 75/90 period. We choose to do this so that when we go to pick our Replacement Heifers for the next rotation into the Herd we have plenty to pick from but also to help grow the herd in a stretch. Not placing too many animals of the same size at the same time. This will also benefit the farm when you go to sell Market Calves or when we start direct marking our own Beef for the community/Farmers Market in 2021.

Another HUGE advantage to calving out two times a year is that those first time heifers have a shot of a second round of breeding. Or a good momma who might of missed her rebreed cycle. If she is not rebred in the second cycle than she will be culled out.

Here are a couple of our personal Nutrition Tips that have Changed Our Game This Calving Season.

“To have a successful calving season happens when the cows do almost all the work. To get cows set up for success, start with good, balanced nutrition - that’s why we choose Purina” Kayla Wieczorek, Wieczorek Farms - Perry, MO

Start by preparing for calving season now with these tips:

Tip #1: Focus on pre-calving body condition score (BCS). BCS is directly linked to successful calvings. Aim for a BCS 6 heading into calving to support a healthy birth and a thrifty calf. It’s better to be too conditioned then under.

Body condition score determines calving success.

Calving season success is tied to Body Condition. Cows in a BCS of 6 heading into calving season are in good shape, and the chances of a healthy birth are optimal. Plus, when a cow is in good shape, chances are her calf will be in good shape too. Body condition score can help predict which cows may have calving problems as well as calves that may need extra care. A BCS lower than 6 could mean the cow lacks the nutrient reserves to support the calf’s immune system and colostrum production. A BCS higher than 6 could indicate the cow has a higher chance of dystocia because of more fat in the pelvic region. In the two to three months leading up to calving, work with your nutritionist to make sure you have enough forages and a supplement plan in place to maintain a BCS 6 through calving.

Cattle mineral is key!!!!

Forages are the basis of cattle nutrition, but they don’t always have everything a cow and her calf need to stay healthy. A solid cattle nutrition program starts with mineral as the foundation. Cows need trace minerals that aren’t always available naturally in a forage-only diet. These minerals help a calf develop without sacrificing the cow’s health. Once the calf is born, the cow will continue to need support so she can provide her calf with the proper nutrition and hit weaning weight as fast as possible. Invest in a year-round cattle mineral supplement made up of both organic and inorganic trace minerals. At just pennies per cow per day, it will help maintain the cow’s body condition score throughout the year and set her up for long-term success. Energy levels can make a difference before and after calving.

We choose to use Purina Wind & Rain All-Season Avila 4 mineral and a Wind & Rain MAGNESIUM during the spring before good grass sources are available. Watch for us to be switching to the green bags in February. For more information regarding the Wind & Rain series, through Purina cattle.

Even the best cattle nutrition plans can fall short at times. For cows with a body condition score lower than 6 in the final month before calving, there is still a way to support them in the short-term. Get more energy into the cow to help get her to peak milk and provide the immunity support the calf needs. Additional energy will not prevent or fix problems that could be avoided with a well-balanced cattle nutrition program, but it can help dodge some of the consequences. Keep the calf in mind, too. When a cow calves in at a low body condition score, her colostrum may not contain the nutrients her calf needs for a strong start. Be prepared with a colostrum replacer. Colostrum replacers can ensure calves receive all the nutrients they need to stay on track to meet weaning weight.

Change the game this calving season. Try out these nutrition practices and set your herd up to win. Contact your local Purina Dealer (Feeders Grain, Bowling Green, MO) today. Try Purina® cattle mineral today through the Feed Greatness®Challenge.

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