Parturition Calving

Perinatal calf deaths rank second in importance of factors depressing the net calf crop. Dystocia (calving difficulty) is the major cause of calf deaths up to 72 hours postpartum, occurring most frequently in primaparous (first-calf) heifers. Severe dystocia also depresses postpartum dam fertility and calf gains. Up to 45% of heifers may require obstetrical assistance to complete the birth process, emphasizing the need for close observation, adequate obstetrical facilities and equipment, and trained personnel available throughout the calving season. Knowledge of parturition physiology (stages 1, 2, and 3 of labor) is mandatory to determine when and how correct obstetrical assistance must be given.[3] The major cause of dystocia is a disproportion between the size of the calf and the size of the birth canal. Careful sire selection can control birth weight and dystocia. Adequate nutrition for developing replacement heifers will maximize skeletal growth, resulting in larger birth canal openings. Selection of heifers with large pelvic openings to reduce dystocia is only partially successful, but will result in increased body frame size. Feeding the pregnant dam late in the evening can prevent calving from 1 A.M. to 6 A.M., but this practice is not 100% successful.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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