Pregnant yearling heifer

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Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by Katpau » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:16 pm

I have a 387 day old heifer that is ready to calve any day now. I only leave bulls in 60 days and we Lutalayse heifers in the Fall, but it wasn't enough to prevent this heifer who was apparently impregnated by my bull when she was only about 100 days old. I did not realize until more recently that Lutalayse is not effective in aborting calves once the pregnancy is beyond a few months. In the future I will be luting 30 days after bull removal. I had the Vet out today to check her and he said her pelvis was fairly big for her age, but the calf had big feet, so he recommended a C section. The calf is in place and she already has white milk, so we are scheduled for Friday if it doesn't start before that.

This is the second time I've had this situation. In 2004 I had a heifer try to calve at 13 months 1 day old. We did a C-section and saved the heifer, but it was done in the dark, out in the open in a cold rain with flashlights. Made some mistakes and lost the calf. This time hopefully we will do it right. I sure hope she waits until Friday.

Anyone ever have a calf this young calve successfully on her own?



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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by Silver » Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:53 pm

I had two last year, both calved on their own. One calf didn't live long, the other was fine and both heifers raised the calf. Both heifers bred back in time to calve again on time this spring.
Had a few over the years actually.

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by Redgully » Tue Mar 19, 2019 10:41 pm

My dad had one calve at 13months, he stressed out for a few months but she calved without any problems.

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by wbvs58 » Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:46 am

Your vet is probably right and it will be convenient for all involved but gee pretty good chance she will have it by herself or with just a moderate pull as the others have indicated. The thing that concerns me is knowing the due date, it is very hard to predict when a heifer will calve just from appearances. They can swell up in the rear end several weeks out from calving. The vet would just be guessing like you and me so you could end up with a premature calf. I am a risk taker so I would be letting her doing it herself but would be around to assist if required

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by TCRanch » Wed Mar 20, 2019 7:48 am

My drama with a pregnant yearling last year in the following thread. Best of luck!

http://cattletoday.com/forum/viewtopic. ... +oops+baby

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by lithuanian farmer » Wed Mar 20, 2019 8:44 am

Had two calved at 15months age. For one it was an easy calving, another needed some assistance, but both calved naturally with alive calves. I'd personally would give her a try to calve on her own or with some assistance, but always watching how she is making a progress during calving and how the calves feet really look like. Also if you know her families calving records, that might help to decide.
Keep us updated!

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by Katpau » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:24 pm

She is not quite 13 months yet, but will be in about a week. The Vet felt the feet and said they were large. She only weighs 765 pounds as of yesterday. She had been one of the biggest heifer at weaning and weighed 605 pounds at 6 months. The other heifers all weigh 800 to 900 pounds now, but this heifer quit growing months ago. That should have been my first hint, but she doesn't have a very large belly even now. If it were not for her udder and lose rear, I wouldn't have realized the pregnancy. The Vet said because her milk was already white, it meant we were within days of calving. I hope he is right. I would like to think she could have it on her own, but I will take the Vets advice. Our ranch is large and the working pens are over a mile from the house. I have no where to keep her that would be handy for checking, so it would be risky to expect we would be there in time to help if it was necessary.

I do have the history of birth weights on the family of cows. Her mother has had 6 calves with an average birth weight of 95 pounds. She herself weighed 92 pounds. The cow weighs about 1400 pounds and under normal circumstances she would have matured to about the same. The bull is calving ease per DNA and my own experience. Most of his calves have been smaller than the average for that cow, but just the other day I weighed a 110 pound one, so no guarantees there. I don't like my odds.

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by Katpau » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:39 pm

TC Ranch
I remember reading about your oops baby. I think that was when I first heard that Lut only works in early pregnancy. I had been waiting to Lut until we weaned them at 7 months. That was too late for a heifer that got pregnant at less than 4 months. In the future we will Lut 3 weeks after we pull bulls. They are in for 60 days when calves are between 3 and 5 months of age. It is hard to imagine how a full grown bull bred a 3 1/2 to 4 month old calf without hurting her.

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by Katpau » Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:45 pm

I failed to mention that the Vet has instructed us to give her a shot of Dex-something, at noon tomorrow. That will help the calves lungs to prepare for birth.

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by Luckiamute » Wed Mar 20, 2019 11:01 pm

Good luck and hoping for the best for you and the heifer!

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by TCRanch » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:45 am

Katpau wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:24 pm
She is not quite 13 months yet, but will be in about a week. The Vet felt the feet and said they were large. She only weighs 765 pounds as of yesterday. She had been one of the biggest heifer at weaning and weighed 605 pounds at 6 months. The other heifers all weigh 800 to 900 pounds now, but this heifer quit growing months ago. That should have been my first hint, but she doesn't have a very large belly even now. If it were not for her udder and lose rear, I wouldn't have realized the pregnancy. The Vet said because her milk was already white, it meant we were within days of calving. I hope he is right. I would like to think she could have it on her own, but I will take the Vets advice. Our ranch is large and the working pens are over a mile from the house. I have no where to keep her that would be handy for checking, so it would be risky to expect we would be there in time to help if it was necessary.

I do have the history of birth weights on the family of cows. Her mother has had 6 calves with an average birth weight of 95 pounds. She herself weighed 92 pounds. The cow weighs about 1400 pounds and under normal circumstances she would have matured to about the same. The bull is calving ease per DNA and my own experience. Most of his calves have been smaller than the average for that cow, but just the other day I weighed a 110 pound one, so no guarantees there. I don't like my odds.
Bingo! If I knew then what I know now. My heifer is now significantly smaller than the other heifers in her "group" that I retained so the early pregnancy clearly stunted her growth. Her mama is a huge cow, prob a good 1700 lbs, and always raises some of our largest calves.
Good luck with the c-section!

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by holm25 » Thu Mar 21, 2019 10:42 am

Katpau wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:45 pm
I failed to mention that the Vet has instructed us to give her a shot of Dex-something, at noon tomorrow. That will help the calves lungs to prepare for birth.
Dexamethasone... A shot of that and prostaglandin... Haven’t read much on those two though...

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by Katpau » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:01 pm

Well a C-section will not be necessary. Went down to feed this morning and we could see her sprawled out flat in the corral. I thought she was dead for sure, but when we got up close I could see she was breathing and there were two feet, a nose and a tongue sticking out. Figured the calf was dead since the cow was lying flat and had given up pushing. We got out the chains and were able to pull it the rest of the way by hand. I saw the calf blink as we pulled and knew we still had a chance. The calf was responsive, so we concentrated on stimulating her.

The cow continued to lay there stretched out flat on her side for probably 20 more minutes before even trying to rise. After about a half hour she was showing more interest in getting up and I helped her to her chest. She got up and fell a number of times, but eventually got her balance and began licking the calf. The calf would try to rise, and could get up in the back, but her front fetlocks were floppy. I don’t know if that was from the tight quarters in the womb or our pulling her. We decided to bottle feed some colostrum, but her suck response was pretty poor. Her tongue and nose area were pretty swollen when she first came out, and although that has gone down, I think she still is struggling some to suck. We made the decision to tube her, so she would have the extra energy.

The two were resting quietly beside each other when I returned to the house for lunch. I am hoping she will be feeling stronger and hungry this afternoon. The cow is way too thin and is going to need plenty of groceries. I fed those heifers for about a pound of gain per day over winter. That puts them at about 800+ when grass starts really coming on in March, and they will be over 900 by the time we breed in mid-May. That works great for open heifers, but was nowhere near enough for this poor little thing. I wish I had known sooner, so she could have been fed better, but it was March 12th when I first made a note in my log “#1820 PG??”. I tried to convince myself that little udder was just a fluke, since she wasn’t wider than the others, but I noticed she was now shorter than them. She had been the second tallest. It took me another week to convince myself she was definitely pregnant.

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by lithuanian farmer » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:37 pm

Glad they both are alive. Make sure to feed the young mom well. She'll need it.
Our first heifer was growing normally like other herdmates, but noticed her little udder when she was at ~5months gestation. Tried to use lute, didn't helped...
The second has fallen back in growth and we were wondering why until I've noticed her little udder too... She never grew into a full size.
Have kept first calves- heifers from both. All are very nice cows. The elders can calve 110lbs calves themselves, so that makes up for their smaller size. However, haven't bred those cows until their first calves weren't weaned. It helped them to grow more.

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Re: Pregnant yearling heifer

Post by TCRanch » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:14 pm

Congrats!! So glad she didn't need a C-section. Just a lot of TLC (and groceries) will go a long way and I'm a fan of Vitamin B Complex (for both), Nursemate ASAP for slow calves. Please keep us updated on their progress!

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