All's well that ends well, thankfully

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greenwillowhereford II

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Dec 9, 2007
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Went to check cows this morning on way to work. First calf heifer lying in the remnants of hay, doesn't get up. I'm suspicious, and sure enough, two hooves are protruding, several inches of ankle showing. "I'll just hang around and make sure this goes all right..." This is about 6:50. After putting out some hay, I go back over to take a look. No progress, and the hooves are turned with the toe pointing down and toward the heifer....A growing sense of something amiss comes over me. I make a call to an old friend for advice, and go home for a halter and rope, etc. Back to pasture, no progress at close to 7:30. During this period of time, I've called the vet but haven't told him to come. I halter the heifer, tie her up to a post of the barn chute. Tie the arms of my coveralls around my waist, roll up shirt sleeve. Reach inside, straining against the straining against me. Fluid cascades out in spurts. I eventually locate a tail....I fasten around the ankles and give an experimental tug or two, vaccillitating. In seven + years I have actually never had an assisted birth. I did a lot of observing but little actual work when it came to pulling calves in the years of Grandpa and Uncle's herds being next door as a kid. I call the vet. "If you decide to pull, you've got 4 minutes once you start," he says. I tell him to come on out. Thirty or so minutes later, he arrives. It's an easy pull with his fancy equipment. $75 dollars, but a live calf and cow. Heifer gets up with little urging, but acts a little skittish of calf. We put both in the barn, and as she isn't mothering him, I rub him down with hay, tie her to a post, and lay him beside her. She moos softly at him from time to time, but still isn't doing her job. I pour some cubes over and around him. She noses all around him in the process of eating them. I throw some handfulls of sweet hay around him, and she eats that. Two or three times, she gives him an experimental lick. I leave eventually, and go to work. Vet has said just to make sure he gets colostrum within 12 hours.

I left work early, got a bottle scoured just in case, and some colostrum mix just in case. Good thing I didn't need the mix, as I forgot water! I intended to milk heifer anyway if need be as first resort. When I got to the barn, both were lying down, and the calf had moved several feet. He had obviously been licked down much better, and when the heifer stood, two or three of her teats had been sucked down. The calf got up and walked about fairly confidently, and before I left he nursed and lay back down. I untied the heifer, who seems to have totally claimed him. I did leave them in the barn for the night, but all I can say is "Thank God!"
congrats on a live healthy sure sounds like she is mothered up with the calf.
There is a few products on the market, used to be OhNoMo, now calf claim is available. It's a powder that you can sprinkle on the calf while it is still wet and ,most of the time, helps a heifer in that situation claim the calf.
Congrats on the pair. I hate seeing back feet first or worse yet just a tail.

I have tried No mo and calf claim and they never worked for me, usually grain on the calf works, unless mom really does not want the baby, then no amount of messing with stuff will work.
Congrats. Sounds like it was a good thing you recognized there was a problem.
i have used the OhNoMo several times over the years but only for adopting calves. Not had much luck with it if the cow did not want her own calf.
Sure gives you a good feeling when you know you "saved one" :banana:
I always keep O-No-Mo on hand. Bottle costs about $8 (well, used to) and lasts forever. I think I'm on my 2nd bottle after all theses years (like 30 years). Don't need often, but when you do, it sure is handy. I don't have any sweet feed around or molasses, but I know that would be helpful if you didn't have this product. Just one of those "gimmicks" that is cheap & good insurance if needed.

Your vet was "right on" on his advice. Here's an article going into my next newsletter:

"---the umbilical cord that connects the calf to the mother’s blood supply. As the calf’s hips are pulled through the pelvic opening, the baby calf’s tail will reach the outer areas of the mother’s vaginal opening. Once a person can see the baby calf’s tailhead, the umbilical vessels are being compressed against the rim of the mother’s pelvic bone. The blood flow, exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide, between calf and mother is greatly impaired, if not completely clamped off. Research, many years ago, conducted in Europe illustrates how little time it takes to compromise the calf’s survivability when the umbilical cord is clamped. These scientists studied the impact of clamping the umbilical cord for 0, 4, 6, or 8 minutes.

Table 1. Impact of clamping of umbilical vessels on calf survivability
Duration of Clamping Number of Calves Fate of Calves
0 minutes 5 calves All of the 5 calves lived
4 minutes 5 calves 4 lived; 1 died
6 minutes 3 calves 3 died
8 minutes 3 calves 3 died

Certainly, if a producer does not feel confident in their abilities to deliver the backward calf, call your veterinarian immediately. Time is of the essence."

I think I will post this article in the Beginners thread.
Good job on the calf.

I have found that the best thing to do in a situation like that, where you have assisted a heifer and she isn't sure she wants the calf, is to leave them alone. Usually within a couple of hours she will have the calf mothered up and it will have sucked. The more you mess with them at that point, the more stressed the heifer becomes. By leaving them alone, she can relax and think about that new little 'thing' that just appeared. But, you need to have them in a small area, so she cannot go away and forget about it. And, 2-3 hours really won't affect the survivability of a healthy calf unless it is cold out.
I was indeed relieved and thankful. I turned them out of the barn this morning, and she was one of the most concerned mothers you'd find. Calf was doing well.
I always worry about an assisted birth on a heifer and then the claiming of the calf. Usually, that is either bred into them or it isn't. Brother bought 15 head of Angus heifers a few years ago, and he had to sell a couple because they just couldn't figure out how to take care of their calf.
I was hopeful early on that she'd go ahead and mother it because she never was really antagonistic toward it, and mooed in a concerned fashion at it even when she wasn't doing her job. As of last check, both were doing great, and I wouldn't ask for a better momma cow than the way she's been acting.

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