Staying safe during calving

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Always plan an escape route and never turn your back on a cow around calving.

As the Autumn months are fast approaching, the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) encourages farmers to stop and think before they carry out any task to ensure they are doing it in the safest way possible.

Working with livestock can be dangerous and there is always a risk involved, particularly when working with livestock whether it be calving or housing livestock - It only takes a moment for a life changing or fatal accident to occur.

The UFU encourages the farming community to follow the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) advice this calving season:

Always:

- Watch for warning signs of animal aggression, especially in cows and heifers around calving time

- Work out an escape route or refuge in advance of handling livestock

- be careful around cows and heifers with newborn calves

- Remember, that cows that are on heat are unpredictable

- Where possible use a head gate to restrain a cow or heifer when checking the calf

- Try to have help available when calving a cow or heifer

- Try to keep cattle calm when working with them

- Aggressive and difficult cattle should be culled as soon as possible

- Protect yourself against disease with proper personal hygiene

Never:

- Turn your back on a cow or heifer around calving time

- Put yourself or a colleague at risk with cattle

- Stress or arouse cattle unnecessarily

- Beat or shout at cattle unnecessarily – they remember bad experiences

For more information and guidance, visit the HSENI website (www.hseni.gov.uk/articles).

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