Prevent down cows at the works

A reminder to give calcium and magnesium to your cull cows before they travel!

With cull cow season in full swing, now is a good time for a refresher on some essentials your animals need, before being loaded onto a truck, to avoid down cows on arrival at the works. 

The local works has already had some cases of down cows, despite relatively short travel distances! The local MPI vet has sent through the below reminder:

Credit: MPI

Credit: MPI


It is ESSENTIAL that cows are given calcium prior to travel. This is because they are still in lactation mode and they rapidly deplete the calcium reserves in their blood while off feed. 

Dry cows can also suffer from low levels of blood calcium, so all cows should be properly prepared, regardless of lactation status!


  • Stand dairy cows off pasture for 4-12 hours before transport, BUT, provide roughage/dry feed and water until loading on the truck.

  • You can then add calcium and magnesium to the hay/baleage/palm kernel.

  • Add 100 grams of lime flour per cow to feed during stand off. This provides each cow with 35g of calcium. Any alternative supplement used must contain the equivalent amount of calcium.  

  • Also give 60g of Causmag to cover the magnesium requirements.

Please take heed of this, as it is a serious animal welfare issue that is preventable.

Source: MPI