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Our harnesses are helping to save cows in the following countries
How to fit the harness in a few minutes.
This cow was down and lifted for 5 days but the harness was never removed during the five days.
The calf was able to drink from the cow when she was lifted.
The cow is now well on her way to a full recovery
What can be done with a downer cow?
The normal lying bout for a cow is between 50 and 100 minutes ie when a cow has been lying for this length of time she will get up, stretch herself and lye back down again. A downer-cow is unable to do this so regardless of the initial cause, the cow will quickly develop pressure-induced damage to muscles and nerves of the pelvic limbs, especially when lying on a hard surface. The hindlimb muscles of the leg the animal is lying on are compressed between the bones and the skin by the physical pressure from the weight of the recumbent cow.
Can downer-cows recover?
Research conducted on dairy farms in Australia involving 218 downer-cows found that the quality of the nursing care had a profound effect on the cow’s chances of recovery. Cows that had received satisfactory nursing recovered in 43% of cases while only 5% of cows receiving unsatisfactory care survived.
What is good care for a downer-cow?
Get the cow off the concrete. Clean straw on concrete is useless as the cow will very quickly move the straw and be laying on the concrete. Put a generous amount of sand on the floor before bedding the cow or preferably move the cow to where there is a build-up of bedding.
The harness is ideal to move a cow to a field for a few hours during the day, if the weather is ok. The cow should be returned her to a covered pen overnight.
Milk fever should always be considered to be a contributing factor in a downer-cow close to calving or after calving.
A cow that is down as a result of a difficult calving will benefit from treatment with anti-inflammatory medication.
Lift the cow within 24 hours. Everyone has a story of a cow that was down for a long period of time and eventually got up without ever receiving assistance. Occasionally this does happen but as a general rule, more cows will recover if they are lifted with a proper lifting device.
The downer-cow should be lifted for a maximum of 30 minutes per lift, but this can be repeated 4 times per day. Use a harness that can be left on the cow between lifts so that one person can manage the downer-cow alone.
Lift the cow to a height that she can take the weight on to her own feet if she wants.
If the downer-cow is a calved cow, milk her when she is lifted.
Feed a good quality tmr in a raised trough when the cow is lifted, a wheel barrow is ideal. This will help settle the cow.
The majority of cows will stand within 7 days if they are going to stand. I have had customers whose cow stood after 21 days. However, from my experience, if you have given good care and the cow is still down by day 7, her chances of recovery are small.
Recovering cows should be fitted with a pair of shackles. Leave the cow in the pen for at least 24 hours with the shackles before asking her to walk anywhere.