Refresh your cows after calving


Depending on the breed, a cow will lose up to 90kg at calving. Around half of this weight is the calf, the remainder is water and essential nutrients.


Refresh your cows after calving

After the cow has calved there is space in the abdomen, where the calf used to be, which needs to be filled by the rumen. But before and after calving, dry matter intake is low. Poor feed and water intake can result in increased gas production in the rumen, omasum and abomasum. The accumulation of gas and the available space in the abdomen increases the risk of organs moving or twisting. The most common being a displaced abomasum (DA). Getting a cow standing, eating and drinking quickly after calving will help fill the rumen early and increase her dry matter intake post calving is a way of reducing the risk of a DA.

The metabolic demands for a lactating cow are roughly double that of the dry period, often meaning that her rumen and general metabolism are not geared up for the sudden increase in demand after calving. In the days following calving, the DMI will need to increase dramatically in order to prevent metabolic problems in the early part of her lactation. There are problems at calving other than energy and DMI, which will have an impact on performance during lactation. Calcium is used by all mammals for sending nerve signals and for muscle contraction – a large amount is therefore used at calving. After calving the cow has dramatically increased calcium requirements for milk production, if the cow cannot source enough available calcium post-calving then other normal muscle activity will be compromised – possibly leading to milk fever.

Taking extra care of the cow after calving starts with taking on water post-calving to quench her thirst, rehydrate her and fill her rumen, all promoting dry matter intake (DMI)! Water is the forgotten nutrient and is crucial for all metabolic activity. A cow post-calving is extremely dehydrated and then needs to produce milk (87% water!). A lack of electrolytes will make it very difficult to utilise much of the water that the cow drinks, having a further negative impact on the start of lactation.

Provimi Refresh is a ready to use rehydration drink for cows directly after calving. Refresh contains the ideal balance of easily absorbed energy, essential electrolytes, highly available calcium and also LIFT to help liver function and Amaferm to help with rumen function. Dissolved in 15-20 L water (300C), it will quench the first thirst and fill the rumen for the optimal start to lactation. Refresh is available in 750 gram (1 dose) sachets or in 18 kg buckets.

Ask your ARN Ruminant Nutritionist for more details.


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