Feeding the Dry Cow to Avoid Parturient Paresis
In the past, dairy producers have regarded the non-lactating or dry period as a time when the dairy cow recuperates from the stresses of her previous lactation and prepares herself for parturition. This kind of thinking usually results in mismanagement of the dry cow since she is seen as an economic drain on the farm. Today this image is changing and through years of research and education the dry period is now considered a vital stage of preparation for the next lactation period. The dry cow should be managed and fed to prepare her for the transition from the low metabolic demand needed during the dry period to the higher metabolic demand of early lactation. If cows are not prepared properly for this transition, periparturient diseases, primarily in the form of metabolic problems, are inevitably going to occur. These problems include: milk fever, retained placenta, dystocia, uterine prolapse, ketosis, fatty liver syndrome, and displaced abomasum.