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Calving Season Essentials

Calving Season Essentials

With calving season approaching, consider these nine things to help make everything easier in the months ahead.


  1. Keep your cows’ vaccination schedule up-to-date. This helps ensure fetal protection and helps pregnant cows produce antibody-rich colostrum for newborn calf protection.

  2. Stay on top of your cows’ parasite control plan. Because calves are exposed to a herd’s parasites, reducing parasite exposure gives newborns a better chance.

  3. Monitor your herd closely as calving time nears.

  4. Clean, disinfect and prep calving barn and equipment.

  5. Provide a good Mineral Program during gestation and lactation. Consider IFA “ICBM Mineral” line.


  1. Make sure calves stand and nurse within an hour of birth.

  2. Confirm that the placenta (afterbirth) is expelled from the cow within 8–12 hours of birth.

  3. Be prepared for the unexpected! Have your veterinarian’s contact information handy in case of calving difficulties (i.e. calf not delivered within 4 hours of water breaking).

  4. Have supportive care supplies on hand: milk replacer, calf bottle, electrolytes, heat lamp, dry bedding, Colostrum etc.

calving season

calving season vaccines

Trust these preventative vaccines to help keep pregnant cows healthy and give calves a strong start.

Clostridium Vaccine (8 Way, Blackleg)

Clostridium hemoglobinuria, Clostridium Chauvoei, Clostridum perfringens, Clostridum septicum, Clostridium novyi, Clostridium sordellii, Clostridium Type C & D.

Examples: Ultrabac 8, Ultrabac 7, Bar Vac 7, Bar Vac 8, Alpha 7, UltraChoice 7, UltraChoice 8, Covexin 8, Cavalry 9, Clostri Shield 7, Vision 7, Vision 8

Viral Vaccines (4-Way, 5-Way, 6-Way)

IBR, PI3, BRSV, Type 1 BVD, Type 2 BVD
Helps protect against the 4 -5 most common viral respiratory and reproductive diseases;

Examples: Bovi-Shield Gold 5, Titanium 5, Vista 5, Pyramid 5, Vira-Shield 6, Triangle 5, Cattlemaster Gold 5, Express 5, Elite 9

Pneumonia Vaccine-Pasturella (Bacterial)

Pasturella mannheimia haemolytica, Pasturella Multocida.

Examples: One Shot, Once PMH, Once PMH IN, Presponse SQ, Presponse HM, Nuplurah PH, Pulmoguard PHM, Zelnate, Respishield HM

Vibro & Lepto Vaccine

Helps prevent infection caused by Lepto hardjo-bovis and aids in the prevention of leptospirosis and vibriosis.

Examples: Spirovac, Vib-Shield, StayBred

Scour Vaccine

Helps protect against rotavirus and helps provide broad scours protection for newborn calves.

**There are multiple combinations of Clostridial, Viral, and Respiratory vaccines available as well. You can cover multiple fractions with fewer injection sites!

Examples: Scour Bos 9, ScourGuard, Scourvac 4KC

Parasite Control

Broad-spectrum treatment and control of both internal and external cattle parasites. Available in an injectable, pour-on or drench solution.

Examples: Dectomax, SafeGuard, Cydectin, Ivermectin, Ivomec, Eprinex, Valbazen

Written by Kyle Loveland, IFA Animal Health Category Manager, and originally published in the IFA Cooperator magazine (vol. 84, no. 4) Winter 2018.