Irish Examiner 30 March 2016
The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) has warned farmers to be extra vigilant during the calving season.
ICSA suckler committee chairman Dermot Kelleher issued the advice in response to a number of recent attacks on farmers by cows including one involving Kerry TD, Michael Healy-Rae.
Stressing ICSA wants to see farmers staying safe at all times, he said calving is a time to be particularly on guard.
“Don’t be hoodwinked by a previously docile animal and take the necessary safety precautions at all times,” he said.
Advising farmers not to be complacent, he said heifers are definitely the ones to watch with sucklers generally more temperamental.
“Limousins, Saler and Charolais breeds in particular can take up to three to five days to calm down following calving,” he said.
Mr Kelleher said a good calving gate is worth its weight in gold for optimum control of an animal. He also outlined other safety measures farmers can take.
“Every time you enter a pen with a calving or recently calved cow or heifer be mindful of having a way out. Having a pitch fork within arm’s reach is never a bad idea.
Never make interventions to a calf with your back turned to the cow.
If you’re alone and want to examine the calf of an excitable mother, the only safe way is to catch her head in a gate.
Be very wary of tagging a calf with the mother close by as the calf will often bawl, and lead the mother to charge at you to protect her young,” he said.