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Description: In some management situations, dairy cattle are not given adequate individual attention near parturition. To facilitate more frequent observations, cattle may be moved to a group maternity pen as shown here about 5 days before the expected date of calving. Some managers prefer to transfer cows to individual pens when parturition is expected within 0.5 day. Although the calf may be born in the group pen when parturition progresses normally, occasionally other cows may harass the parturient cow and her calf. An individual calving pen is preferred for cows thought to require assistance during calving. Although straw, saw dust, and wood shavings are alternatives, sand was used effectively for bedding for the cow with her calf in this pen. Regardless of the bedding, manure must be removed from group maternity pens at least three times daily, and fresh bedding added daily.
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