The occurrence of five periparturient events and their effects on subsequent culling and fertility was recorded in eight herds in the UK. Combining data from all 2105 calvings, the proportion affected by assisted calving, dead calf, retained fetal membranes (RFM), milk fever or twins was 5.9, 8.2, 5.3, 5.0 or 3.3 per cent, respectively. Compared with unaffected herdmates, cows with an assisted calving or a dead calf had higher early (but not late) culling rates, (assisted calving: 8.8 per cent being culled before 100 days after calving compared with 5.7 per cent; P=0.05; dead calf: 12.2 per cent culled compared with 5.3 per cent; P=0.001). Compared with unaffected animals, cows with milk fever were four times more likely to be culled before 100 days after calving (16.2 per cent compared with 5.3 per cent; P=0.001), whereas those with RFM were twice as likely to be culled between 100 and 200 days (14.3 per cent compared with 7.6 per cent; P=0.003), and both groups were twice as likely to not be pregnant by 200 days. Cows with RFM or milk fever also had markedly reduced subsequent fertility: both conditions extended calving to pregnancy intervals (by 20 days; P=0.001, or by 13 days; P=0.03, respectively), lowered 100-day in-calf rates (by 24.5 per cent; P=0.001, or by 17.8 per cent; P=0.008, respectively) and lowered 200-day in-calf rates (by 20 per cent; P=0.001, or by 15 per cent; P=0.002, respectively). The birth of twins had no effect on subsequent culling or fertility.
- Accepted February 6, 2012.
- British Veterinary Association
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed