Animal Science Department


Date of this Version

December 1993


Published for Proceedings, The Range Beef Cow Symposium XIII December 6, 7, & 8, 1993, Cheyenne, WY.


The recognition of abnormal calving (dystocia) comes FIRST from a basic understanding of normal calving. From this understanding, the establishment of guidelines for observation of cattle and for intervention will reduce calf losses . In Colorado, as part of a pilot program of the National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS), two-thirds of the costs of disease losses were associated with death loss. From a subset of 73 of the 86 NAHMS herds in studied in 1986-87 in 24,396 births, 4.5% of the calves were lost. Of the 4.5% losses, 34% were attributed to dystocia related losses. In addition, losses attributed to diarrhea, pneumonia, or cold may have been a consequence of the increased risks associated with dystocia. On most operations this is a very effective area where personnel training in obstetrical management will have a large beneficial impact. Most large operations have a labor turnover and small operations sometimes don't see enough problems to feel comfortable handling them. Thus, this training should be an ongoing part of the management program.