The Calving Corner is back at Farm Show for year two! The Calving Corner is a live dairy cow birthing center that offers a unique opportunity to witness the miracle of life, see cows and newborns up close, and learn more about how Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers work hard every day to responsibly care for their animals and be conscientious stewards of the land and environment. We’re proud to help sponsor this important exhibit!
The Calving Corner will be at Farm Show all eight days. However, the cows at The Calving Corner have been pregnant for nine months, and since giving birth is a natural process, the timing of those births can be unpredictable.
To ensure the health and wellbeing of cows, The Calving Corner is staffed around the clock by experienced herdsmen, a night caretaker, college interns and dairy farmer and industry volunteers. Experienced veterinarians are also on site to provide medical attention if needed.
90% of dairy cattle births do not require assistance. Cows are closely monitored on the days leading up to and during birth with personalized attention from the dairy farmer. When assistance is required, it is often due to the size of the calf, the position of the calf, or having twins.
Since the cows are not “at home,” it is important that The Calving Corner is as calm, quiet and close to their home environment as possible. The goal is to keep the cows comfortable and relaxed. Replicating their home environment means providing plenty of space, clean fresh bedding, fresh water and fresh feed from their farm, and fans to help circulate fresh air. By being calm and keeping our voices down, we can help the cows feel more comfortable at Farm Show.
You may see the new calves being bottle fed at The Calving Corner. At birth, calves have underdeveloped immune systems and need the natural antibodies found in colostrum (the cow’s first milk). Bottle-feeding ensures the calf gets the colostrum they need and lets us know how much they consume. To ensure proper calf health and growth, continued bottle feeding guarantees that the calf gets the nutrients it needs during the early stages of life.
You may also see cows licking their calves for a few hours after birth. The licking process helps to stimulate the calf to stand and also helps the cow’s uterus to contract after calving. Once the calf is dry, the calf is moved for health and safety reasons. Moving the calf to a clean, dry individual or small group pen protects it from harmful pathogens, allows for individualized attention and care, and keeps it safe from the much larger cows.
The cows and their calves will go home shortly after birth so they can continue to receive the proper care and nutrition in their home environment.
Located in the Northeast Hall of the Farm Show Complex, the Calving Corner will use the miracle of birth to provide a unique platform for the dairy industry to share the commitment and care that goes into dairy farming today. The Calving Corner is made possible by the American Dairy Association North East, Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, Friends of Farm Show Foundation, Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania, Center for Dairy Excellence, Mid-Atlantic/AgChoice Farm Credit, Land O’Lakes Foundation, Professional Dairy Producers Foundation, Northeast Agriculture Education Foundation, Inc. and additional dairy organizations with support from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
You can find The Calving Corner in the Northeast Hall of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex near the East Hall where the rabbits and chickens are housed and the North Hall where the beef and/or dairy cattle are located.