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Senior Cow Care

September 15, 2022
Do you have an aging cow? You may find it harder to get information on caring for senior cows as you would for dogs or cats. That’s because many cows don’t make it to their golden years. However, there’s been a growing understanding and support for kinder animal welfare practices, and we’re seeing more rescues and farms letting their bovine pals retire to the farm … literally. An Apple Valley, MN vet discusses senior cow care below.

Bedding

Like any other animal, cows can get quite stiff and sore, and can get chilly easily. Many also develop arthritis. Bessie will appreciate having some extra bedding in her stall.

Surfaces

Slips and falls are extremely dangerous for older cows. This is a particular concern in spring and winter, when mud and ice can make terrain extra slippery. Put down sawdust or even manure in dangerous areas. Also, try to avoid making Bessie navigate steep hills.

Hoof Care

Good hoof care is absolutely crucial for cows! Keep up with Bessie’s pedicures, and watch for signs of lameness.

Buddies

Cows are very sociable, and they really need to have buddies to thrive. In fact, many of them form little cliques with their friends. Bessie may appreciate having a few pals that are her own age. If you can, separate a small area just for your older ladies.

Feeding

If you’re feeding all of your cows together at a trough, you may want to separate the older ones from the rest of the herd. Otherwise, younger ones may bully them out of the way.

Dental Care

Dental issues are not uncommon in older cows. Bessie’s teeth may become more uneven with wear and tear, which can make it hard for her to chew. She may have trouble with tough foods, such as tall grass and feed cubes. Offer foods that are easy to chew.

Supplements

Bessie will benefit from having some loose minerals and vitamin supplements, which you can sprinkle over her feed. Ask your vet for recommendations.

Weather

Older animals are more sensitive to weather extremes than their younger counterparts. Make sure that Bessie always has a comfy shelter, one that is cool in summer and warm in winter. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your cow’s health or care. As your local Apple Valley, MN animal clinic, we are here for you.
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