Wednesday, February 29, 2012


We are more than halfway through our calving.  So I wanted to share an easy labor with you.  Canute is 10 yrs old and she is a great calver.  She gets the job done with no help.  And she's super calm too.

These photos I took from our kitchen window.  That way she wasn't distracted. We try and watch from a distance.  They don't need to be distracted from what they are doing.   Cows will wander away from the herd when they start to calve.  They will sniff the ground, and wander in a spot they think is good to have their baby.  Here she is in active labor, she's pushing working on getting the calf into the birth canal.

The bag is the product of her pushing. The bag is the protection for the baby while the cow is pregnant until it is busted during delivery.  As long as the bag is not busted the calf can still breathe through the umbilical cord.   Those are the tips of feet at the top of the bag.  The cow will push, get up and smell the ground.  They will repeat this process several times during the progress of their labor.  Calves should come out in a diving position.  Front feet pointed, with their head laying on their legs.  You never want to see upside down feet.  That means something is wrong.

She's pushed enough the bag as burst.  Usually you want to see a calf within 30 minutes.  After that the calf could suffocate.  Cows will progress in their labor fast than a heifer.  So we wait and give her a little time.

Then she pushes some more.  The cow gets up immediately to start to talk and clean their calf.  Licking not only cleans the calf, but stimulates it to get up and nurse.  Calves need to nurse to get the colostrum in their mother's milk.  It has vitamins that make for  a healthy baby.  They help to fight tummy issues and infection the calf could get.

Within minutes the calf is up and searching for milk.  It's amazing how quickly they get going. 

Before they nurse there are certain things that we like to give the calves.  They get a pill for their stomach to help fight scours.  Scours is a sickness that calves get that causes diarrhea and can kill a calf.  They get a shot that has medicines in it to help fight illness.  And we soak their umbilical cords to help them dry up to fight any infection that might try and get into that spot.  It is an open area to the insides of their bodies.  Then they are ear tagged.  We usually try and make sure to keep the calf between us and the cow.  That helps keep her  a little calmer.  And sometimes the moms are just too protective to get this close and we have to separate them.  But most of our cows are calm and its a quick process.

 Watching a calf being born amazes us every time.  Cows are much like women.  The when they push out the calf that helps to get all the fluids from their lungs.  And once the calf is expelled they start talking to them.  And then cleaning them.  Once that calf nurses they get the nutrients that they need and it helps the cow.  Nursing causes contractions in the cows uterus that helps to expel the afterbirth.  The cow will eat all of the afterbirth.  The afterbirth has vital nutrients and minerals in it that will be passed from the cow to the calf.   Cows know their calf not by sight but by smell.  Such an exciting experience to watch and be a part of.

Have a great day!


Alica said...

Good job Canute! I love watching (uncomplicated) births.

memory said...

The beauty of a new birth. It never ceases to amaze me.

Great pictures! Thank you for your comment love on my little Valentine buddy post, Mrs. Dusty :)


The Durrer Family said...

It is always such a relief when they are able to deliver on their own!

Buttons said...

Great post I love calving season when it goes well. I am also happy when it is over and I just get to watch them in the new fallen snow playing just like kids. Good luck on the rest. Half way is good.
Take care B

Purposely at Home said...

Oh my goodness! That is SO amazing!! God is so amazing, isn't He? Have a great weekend, my friend.