The period around calving (from two weeks before calving until two weeks after calving) is often the highest risk period for mastitis infections to occur. This period can be critical in determining the infection status of individual cows and the herd for the rest of the lactation.
There are huge potential gains to be made by preventing new infections in the calving period - many of these infections can be prevented by implementing simple management changes.
Guideline 1 - Reduce exposure to environmental mastitis bacteria. Cows are very susceptible to infection around calving because their natural defence mechanisms are low. New infections occur, and subclinical infections which have persisted through the dry period may flare into clinical cases.
Guideline 2 - Take care with heifers. After calving, heifers are often uncomfortable with swollen udders, or oedema, and may be more difficult to move, handle and milk out completely. For young cows calving for the first time, the milking routine is a new and different experience.
Milk Suitable for Vat
Guideline 3 - Check that milk is suitable to go in the vat. For milk quality reasons, all cows should have their colostrum milk withheld from the vat for at least eight milkings after calving (10 milkings for heifers and induced cows).
Clinicals at Calving
Guideline 4 - Rapidly find, record and treat clinical cases in recently calved cows. Early detection and treatment of clinical mastitis in the calving period reduces the risk of severe cases developing. It also reduces the likelihood of infection being passed to other cows, and the development of chronic infections.