Why is Calcium so Important for Animal Health during Calving Season? Reduce Milk Fever!
March 11, 2021
Calcium is one of the most important minerals in ruminants and can reduce Milk Fever in cows. It plays a key role in muscle function and immunity, particularly around calving time.
Probably one of the most important macro minerals, especially around calving time. The cow will have a big demand for calcium before calving and especially during milk production. Older cows are more prone to issues with calcium around calving. This is due to their reduced ability to flush calcium from bone around calving time. Sheep have a higher calcium requirement pre-lambing (4-0 weeks pre-lambing).
Calcium plays an important role in solving Milk Fever
WHAT IS MILK FEVER?
A disorder mainly of dairy cows close to calving. It is a metabolic disease caused by a low blood calcium level (hypocalcaemia). Between 3% and 10% of #dairycows are affected each year, with much higher percentages occurring on some farms.
Symptoms to look out for?
– Loss of appetite
– Excitability and nervousness
– Weakness, weight shifting, and shuffling of the hind feet.
Calcium plays a key role in muscle function and immune function. Some breeds like jersey and guernseys may be more susceptible to deficiency. Milk fever or your down cow is the obvious clinical signs of the disease but is only the tip of the iceberg within the herd in relation to calcium. Low blood calcium (subclinical milk fever has serious effects on cattle). This low blood calcium can affect muscles like the uterus and rumen. This may lead to poor involution (repulsion of the placenta) and lower dry matter intake (slower rumen function).
What mineral balance is important during Calving Season?
Calcium also has complex interactions with other minerals pre-calving. For example, we actually want low levels of calcium pre-calving in the diet. High levels of magnesium and also low levels of potassium.
Also, metabolic alkalosis will predispose cows to milk fever around calving time. This is where we must balance the dietary cations and anions in the pre-calving diet.
Calcium is one of the most important minerals around calving. It has several interactions with other minerals meaning that effort is needed to balance these in a cow’s diet. In grass-based systems, this is why we put emphasis on pre-calving diets high in magnesium.
Calcium is so important for animal health because it prevents slow calving, weak calving, low minerals in cows, slow calving issues in cows, difficult calving birth in cows, milk fever and much more. Also, Calcium a major structural component of bones, and is an essential dietary mineral – bearing in mind that immediately after calving, blood calcium level in cow drop significantly.
Check out the video below from Vetineary Consultant ‘Tommy the Vet’ addressing: Why Calcium is so Important for Animal Health during Calving Season?
Please do share this blog to create more awareness about how mineral supplementation aids animal health. Please call Ronan on 087 7086714 to find out about using minerals such as calcium and magnesium. There are many health benefits for your cattle. Don’t miss out, partner with us today and gain all these advantages for your farm leading to a more profitable and sustainable farm.