Calving Safety

A quarter of Irish farm accidents and one fifth of farm deaths in older farmers are livestock-related. Attacks by recently calved cows are a common cause of such accidents like Brendan McLaughlin’s.

Follow these precautions to help keep yourself safe:

  • Keep a physical barrier, like a gate or crush, between you and the cow when removing or handling the calf. Well designed calving pens and gates minimise the direct contact between farmer and animal.
  • Plan your escape routes in advance before you enter a pen or handle an animal.
  • Never turn your back on the cow when handling the calf.
  • The calving area should provide enough space, be tidy, well-bedded with clean dry straw, free of obstructions and have good lighting.
  • A calving camera and non-slip calving jack can reduce the stress levels for farmers and animals.
  • Tiredness is a particular risk at calving time and may impair your good judgement. Prioritise rest and look after your physical and mental health.
  • Be aware of zoonotic infections which can be contracted by farmers and vets around calving. Always wear arm length gloves and washable protective clothing and boots.

Click here for more livestock safety guidance.