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Get cows back on track post calving

Sector News Sector News21-3-2018
Afbeelding: lifetime

Calving poses a significant strain on a cow, with a reduction in water and feed intake immediately prior to and after calving negatively impacting on cow performance. Giving cows the optimum nutritional support post calving is therefore vital to ensure that cows bounce back to their best condition and are ready and able to produce good volumes of milk.  

Challenges during calving

Before and during calving, cows will significantly reduce their feed and water intakes. This leads to an imbalance in electrolyte levels, listlessness and a reduction of dry matter intake; resulting in low energy levels.

Due to low intakes, most cows will start lactation in a state of negative energy balance, where the energy they are obtaining from feed is not enough to maintain good body condition and milk production. If left unchecked, this imbalance can result in ketosis, whereby a cow is forced to utilise her body fat reserves as a source of energy.

Increased demand for calcium due to colostrum and milk production also dramatically increases the level of calcium that a cow requires after calving. In response, a cow will try to obtain more calcium from feed and start to release calcium from their bones. If the right nutritional support is not in place to assist this process, cows will start to suffer from low blood calcium levels (milk fever) and cow performance will decline.

Post-calving boost

Afbeelding: Newborn calf

Making sure that cows quickly obtain the energy, electrolytes and calcium that they need to recover from calving will help support long-term cow health and performance.

TRANSLAC HydroBoost is a palatable, high-energy drink that is given to cows immediately after calving to quickly rehydrate a cow, replenish depleted mineral levels and help maintain blood calcium at normal levels. All of these factors give the cow the nutritional boost she needs immediately after calving.

As well as reducing the risk of milk fever in freshly calved cows, HydroBoost also stops cows suffering from a negative energy balance situation by stimulating dry matter intakes post calving. With increased feed intakes, a cow is more likely to maintain strong energy levels and avoid a drop in performance and body condition when starting lactation.


TRANSLAC HydroBoost comes in powdered form in re-sealable 20kg buckets, providing a convenient and easy way to provide 20 cows a kick-start to the nutritional support they need post calving.

Simply dissolve 1kg of HydroBoost with 10 litres of hot water, top up with cool water and ensure that a cow drinks this lukewarm mixture within 30 minutes of calving, before they are given full access to water.  

By giving cows the best nutritional support immediately after calving, producers can help ensure that cows recover quickly from the challenges of calving and maintain healthy, productive animals in the milking herd.

Afbeelding: cow drinking hydroboost

Reducing the number of retained cleansings

Andrew Quick from Applewick Farm near Bradford-upon-Avon milking 220 Holstein cows.. He aims to breed all his own replacements and is currently averaging xxx litres per cow a year.

 Andrew started administering HydroBoost to his freshly calved cows around a year ago, in an attempt to reduce the number of retained cleansings that the cows were experiencing post-calving.

“We have always given cows warm water to drink directly after calving down but started adding the HydroBoost powder to this around 12 months ago,” Andrew explains. “The idea was to give the cows a calcium boost at this critical time, to avoid them developing sub-clinical milk fever. We just wanted to get the lactation off to a good start.”

A definite improvement in cow health

Since starting with HydroBoost Andrew has seen a definite improvement in cow health directly after calving:

“We are seeing significantly fewer cases of retained cleansings, and any we get now tend to be because of other complications, for example when a cow has had a difficult calving or had twins,” reports Andrew. “We used to routinely use Oxytocin or Reprocine to help placentas to come away more easily but find we don’t have the need to use these at all now. Using HydroBoost has definitely made a difference in this area and we intend to carry on with this approach for the foreseeable future.”

Kevin Ford, Mineral and Micro Manager at ForFarmers says. “We know that cows with lower blood calcium concentrations in the first 24 hours after calving are more likely to experience issues such as ketosis, retained placenta and mastitis. HydroBoost is a great way to replenish calcium levels and fluid levels straight after calving and Andrew’s experience shows how a simple step can make a real difference to health at this critical time. Getting the cow through this period smoothly is key to avoiding hidden health problems such as sub-clinical milk fever which can have longer term implications on health and productivity.”