Animals - safety during calving

Farmers are urged to ‘Stop and Think SAFE’ when working with cows and heifers around calving time.

Animals are one of the top four dangers on local farms and on average at least one farmer is killed each year by a bull or cow/heifer around calving time while others are injured, often seriously.

Managing livestock

Following some simple steps can help reduce risks. Safety during calving

Handling livestock always involves risks, from crushing to kicking and butting. Be particularly careful when animals are returned to the field after they’ve been housed indoors for long periods.

The following checklist should help you and others stay SAFE.


  • watch for warning signs of animal aggression, especially in cows and heifers around calving time
  • work out an escape route or refuge in advance of handling livestock
  • be careful around cows and heifers with newborn calves
  • remember, that cows that are on heat are unpredictable
  • where possible use a head gate to restrain a cow or heifer when checking the calf
  • try to have help available when calving a cow or heifer
  • try to keep cattle calm when working with them
  • aggressive and difficult cattle should be culled as soon as possible
  • protect yourself against disease with proper personal hygiene


  • turn your back on a cow or heifer around calving time
  • put yourself or a colleague at risk with cattle
  • stress or arouse cattle unnecessarily
  • beat or shout at cattle unnecessarily – they remember bad experiences

You can also check out our YouTube channel where you can view the new television advert focusing on cows around calving time: