Home Dairy: Calving Cycle Guide and How to Dry Off a Cow

| 5/21/2014 10:42:00 AM

Tags: calving, cows, micro dairy, Vermont, Steven Judge,

cow and calf

As you know, the milk that my four cows produce does not provide my sole income. This means that I can be more flexible than most commercial dairy farmers with my management practices and breeding program. I have the flexibility to wait to breed my heifers so that they will calve at 24 to 26 months when they are mature enough to handle the process, rather than pushing them to calve and produce milk at a younger age.

I can also be a bit more relaxed about getting my mature cows bred back. I prefer to breed my cows so that they calve in the spring or early summer, and I do this via artificial insemination by a local breeding service. Because I live in a thickly-settled village in Vermont, I don't keep a bull. Bulls are dangerous. It is no myth. In fact, I know several people who have been seriously injured or killed by bulls (a topic for another blog post).

Understanding Dairy Cow Breeding Cycles

Understanding and effectively executing a breeding program depends on understanding the calving cycle and when and how to dry a cow off in preparation of calving. Here is my guide to these processes:

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