Postpartum Lactation

Adequate nutrition[5] is essential both before and after calving if timely estrus and rebreeding are to be obtained. Lactation increases nutrient requirements of the dam, which can be met with pastures containing sufficient nutrients. If pastures are inadequate, lactation will continue at the expense of the dam's body tissue stores, and supplemental hay and/or grain feeding is required. Calf deaths from pneumonia or scours (diarrhea) can be high during the first six weeks postcalving and may result from poor nutrition of the dam during the last trimester of gestation. Suckling delays return to estrus, and primaparous dams have longer postpartum intervals than cows. Breeding replacement heifers to calve 20 to 30 days before the cow herd allows more time for recovery.

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