Maternity pens

The maternity area should be in a quiet part of the barn. A maternity pen should be a minimum of 3 m x 3 m (10’x10′), and must be clean, dry, draft-free, and well lighted, insulated and ventilated. This will help with disease control, comfort and footing.

Prior to calving, remove soiled straw and visible manure from the pen and add fresh bedding. If you are using shavings or chopped straw, the bedding should be 2-3″ deep. If you are using long straw, the bedding should be 4-6″ deep.

For cows that need help in the maternity pen during calving, the pen should be equipped with a locking stanchion. The bottom of the stanchion should be close to the ground to prevent a cow going down and chocking herself.

The cow should be clean and the udder should be clipped and manure-free. Within a half hour of birth, the calf should be removed from the cow’s environment to an area where no cow has been to reduce the calf’s exposure to disease- causing bacteria, viruses and protozoans (cryptosporidia).