Are your cows getting annual pregnancy check ups? There are many benefits to doing so! The biggest reason is to identify the open cows after the breeding season so that you can determine how to mange them. There are also benefits for the cows that end up staying in the herd too.
You can save a lot of money by identifying open cows during the fall season. Open cows that get sold during the fall will save you on feeding costs big time during the winter. a Cow weighing 1300 pounds will eat about 30 pounds of hay each day. Current hay prices amount to about $145 per ton. If you do the math, thats over $300 just to feed one cow for the winter! Thats not mention the costs for mineral, protein supplements, labor, and animal health. When you add that all up, its hard to be able to match what you can actually make from the cow.
This is where pregnancy checking comes in handy. Pregnancy checking can be very accurate in predicting when a cow will calve. A veterinarian can use an ultrasound to detect a baby in as little as 28 days from the gestation time. At 45 days of gestation, traditional palpation can be used as well. The method used will depend on how much you are able to spend and how far along the cow is in its pregnancy; the ultrasound will be slightly more money. Figuring out how far long the calf is in the fall is useful for determining when a cow will calve. This will also help you to see how well your bulls are performing over the summer.
Pregnancy checking can also be a great time to look over your cows separately, and can greatly help to detect health problems early on, such as abnormal weight loss or lameness. At the same time, you can even administer dewormer and give them fall vaccinations as they go through the chute!
With all the many benefits mentioned for your cows, remember to pregnancy check your herd every year! If you need help, please speak to a trusted veterinarian or visit keebovet for ultrasound options.