Managing down cows

The term “down cow” generally applies to any late pregnant or recently calved cow that is recumbent (lying down on chest or side) and unable to rise. A downer cow is a veterinary emergency and you should seek urgent veterinary advice.

Without good nursing care, secondary damage will occur if the cow is not got back on her feet quickly, regardless of the initial cause of the recumbency. In some cases, when treatment is not effective, humane destruction is warranted.

More information

  • Down Cow decision tree (PDF, 110KB)
    This handy wall chart helps you during the first 12 hours and the following daily cycle of nursing.


These short videos can assist you to manage the different aspects of down cow welfare:




The nursing area: