Unit of competency details

AHCLSK329A - Implement procedures for calving (Release 1)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to AHCLSK329 - Implement procedures for calvingThis unit is equivalent to AHCLSK329A Implement procedures for calving 26/Jun/2016

ReleaseRelease date
1 1 (this release) 10/Jun/2011


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 050105 Animal Husbandry  04/Nov/2011 
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Modification History

Not Applicable

Unit Descriptor

Unit descriptor 

This unit covers the process of monitoring cows at calving and providing the support required, and defines the standard required to: recognise signs of imminent calving; prepare facilities and equipment for calving; monitor calving and provide intervention if required, or refer on if birthing difficulties require specialist assistance; recognise abnormalities in freshly calved cows and their calves; monitor cow and calf post calving.

Application of the Unit

Application of the unit 

This unit applies to workers on cattle farms who are responsible for overseeing calving. The person is expected to refer any high risk issues or problems for veterinary advice.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not Applicable


Prerequisite units 

Employability Skills Information

Employability skills 

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Not Applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Prepare for calving

1.1. Condition and health status of cow is assessed and monitored prior to birthing.

1.2. Birthing equipment, resources and materials are checked and prepared for use.

1.3. Cows at risk of calving difficulty (especially first calf heifers) are grazed in an area where intervention can be carried out with as little disruption as possible.

1.4. Hazards in assisting with calving are identified and safe work practices followed.

1.5. Mating records are checked and anticipated calving date is confirmed.

2. Observe the calving

2.1. Cows are monitored for signs of approaching parturition and throughout calving.

2.2. Signs of calf malpresentation or dystocia are noted from the rate of progress in giving birth and the initial orientation of the feet and head.

3. Support calving

3.1. Calving cows are handled calmly and put in a secure environment.

3.2. Hygiene procedures are implemented to ensure that any calving equipment entering the birth canal is clean.

3.3. The orientation and size of the foetus relative to the pelvis is estimated through manual palpation.

3.4. The possibility of twins is checked and the position of the lead foetus adjusted where required.

3.5. A malpresentation is physically manipulated into the correct position where required.

3.6. Calving ropes/chains are placed on the calf above the front fetlocks and appropriate calf pulling equipment is applied in the case of dystocia, without causing undue harm to the female.

3.7. Specialist support is brought in if normal assistance procedures are not adequate to assist the calving.

4. Carry out monitoring after calf has been born

4.1. Cow is allowed to rest and encouraged to lick the calf as an initial bonding.

4.2. Calves that have been assisted are checked for clear airways.

4.3. The placenta is left for the cow to ingest after calving.

4.4. Cows with retained placentas or other abnormalities are treated and recorded.

4.5. The calving environment, facilities and equipment are maintained in a safe, hygienic and operational state and faults are reported or fixed.

4.6. Record of calving is kept.

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • carry out cow husbandry procedures and recognise signs of imminent calving
  • apply contingency measures for calving in the event of difficulties
  • ability to correctly apply calving ropes/chains and use suitable calf pulling equipment
  • monitor cow condition and recognise abnormal behaviour/presentations
  • ability to manual palpate and recognise simple malpresentations
  • recognise abnormalities in calving behaviour, expulsion of foetus and placenta, and progress of calf immediately after birth
  • prepare calving environment, materials and resources to industry standards
  • maintain a safe and secure post-calving environment
  • demonstrate safe and environmentally responsible workplace practices
  • identify hazards and use safe work practices in the calving environment
  • use literacy skills to read, interpret and follow organisational policies and procedures, follow sequenced written instructions, record accurately and legible information collected and select and apply procedures for a range of tasks
  • use oral communication skills/language competence to fulfil the job role as specified by the organisation, including questioning techniques, active listening, clarifying information and consulting with supervisors as required
  • use numeracy skills to estimate, calculate and record routine workplace measures.

Required knowledge 

  • calving behaviour and basic health and nutritional requirements as directed
  • calving environment requirements
  • calving equipment and materials, their components and functions
  • calving intervention and non-intervention strategies
  • normal calf presentation v abnormal that may need assistance
  • problems associated with calving and intervention and follow up treatment
  • cow gestation and birthing and husbandry procedures
  • enterprise policies with regard to calving down, recording and reporting routines
  • environmental impacts and minimisation measures associated with cattle breeding
  • health and injury hazards associated with handling cattle
  • personal protective clothing and equipment, and when and how it should be used
  • procedures for cleaning and maintaining treatment equipment and materials
  • relevant State/Territory legislation, regulations and codes of practice with regard to workplace Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) and animal welfare.

Evidence Guide


The evidence guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

The evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit must be relevant to workplace operations and satisfy holistically all of the requirements of the performance criteria and required skills and knowledge and include achievement of the following:

  • recognise signs of imminent calving in cattle
  • monitor calving and provide assistance if required, or refer on if birthing difficulties require supervisor or veterinary assistance
  • recognise abnormalities in calved cows and in newborn calves
  • monitor cow and calf post calving.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Competency requires the application of work practices under work conditions. Selection and use of resources for some worksites may differ due to the regional or enterprise circumstances.

Range Statement


The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole.

Compliance requirements may include:

  • OHS legislation, regulations and codes
  • animal welfare legislation and codes of practice
  • quality assurance procedures.

Class of stock to be calved down may include:

  • all types and breeds of cattle.

Calving equipment may include:

  • calf pullers, calf chains, halters and ropes.

Hygiene procedures may include:

  • personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, sanitising of equipment, use of sterile gloves.

Post calving procedures may include:

  • removal of retained placenta, antibiotic treatments, and mothering up and suckling of the calf.

Situations requiring veterinary intervention may include:

  • dystocias, ruptures, physical injury to the calving female or calf.

Unit Sector(s)

Unit sector 


Co-requisite units

Co-requisite units 

Competency field

Competency field