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Preparing for Calving/Lambing/Kidding/Farrowing Season


The season we all look forward to each year is quickly approaching us.  I’m talking about the time of year when we finally get to see why we’ve been feeding those expectant mothers every day for the past few months. It’s time to see all the hard work pay off and welcome some new life into this wonderful world.  As you all take the proper steps to prepare, I wanted to put together some helpful tips to make sure everyone is ready!

Things to have ready in the barn

  • Warm birthing area for the mother and newborn
  • Proper bedding to provide a clean and dry environment
  • Dry towels, Water Bucket, Flashlights
  • Plastic gloves or OB sleeves
  • OB lube, OB chains and handles, Twine/Rope,
  • Hemostats (useful for clamping bleeding umbilical cords)
  • Large syringe/Turkey Baster/Child’s Boogie Sucker (for cleaning mucus out of respiratory track)
  • Vetrycin Super 7 or Iodine for dipping umbilical cords


Here are my recommendations when it comes to monitoring the delivery process

  1. Mother Nature has been doing this a lot longer than you or I, so allow her some time to handle the situation “herself”. Without constant interruption.
  2. First time mothers should be making some progress at least every hour.  Experienced mothers should be making progress at least every half hour.
  3. Try not to assist/monitor too much. Every time the birth canal is entered it causes more inflammation and too much swelling can hinder the delivery process.


Dr. Yarde’s THREE Reasons you should ALWAYS CALL FOR HELP

  1. Delivery is not progressing normally, “you’ve checked”, and DON’T KNOW WHY
  2. You know why the delivery is not progressing normally and YOU CAN’T FIX THE PROBLEM
  3. You are able to fix the problem and you know the MOTHER AND NEWBORN ARE GOING TO NEED MEDICAL ASSISTANCE
    1. Mother is in distress/tired from process and may need IV fluid therapy
    2. Newborn(s) are distressed/injured from delivery process
    3. Noted that something didn’t feel right when correcting the problem

Issues to avoid throughout the season

  • Clean birthing environment. Having a clean area for each new delivery is crucial. A dirty area can harbor bacteria/virus that will only expose the newborn on the first day it enters the world.
  • Clean birthing equipment. I know fully how challenging it can be to keep equipment clean, but this relates again to unneeded exposure to the newborn and mother.
  • Have a “delivery kit” that is always stocked and has everything ready to use. Some of you may be delivering multiple newborns a night and keeping things in stock can be crucial when needed.
  • The newborn should be up and nursing within the first 3-4 hours after birth. Receiving colostrum from the mother is CRUCIAL. In the unfortunate case you would lose a newborn, milking the mother and keeping the colostrum may save a newborn down the road. It is LIQUID GOLD that no milk replacer can equal.
  • Perform newborn treatment such as umbilical dipping, ear tagging/notching, vaccine/processing at least 24hrs after delivery. That mother-newborn bond needs time to develop and it is important that time is provided.


Six months ago, my wife and I were blessed with a newborn son and there were “many things” that I learned during that process that opened my eyes. It made me think about how we handle expectant mothers and newborns. I can’t imagine my wife’s reaction if they put her in a dirty delivery room that was just previously used by the woman before her, or if they had used a dirty mucus sucker to clean out my son’s mouth and nose.  And we would have had to call security to restrain her if those nurses would have tried to pull that little bundle out of her arms right after he arrived. These things seem crazy when it comes to human newborns, but often are performed without a thought in the barn.  So this year keep all of these recommendations in mind and enjoy the great joy that newborns can bring to the farm… or the house.


Please call, text, or email with questions or concerns.

I wish everyone the best of luck and a Happy New Year!


Doc Yarde

Yarde Veterinary Services



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