Breach Babies

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LoveMoo11

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What causes breach births? Can environmental or nutritional factors play a role? I am curious because at work, 4 out of the last 10 babies have been breach. 1 survived, 1 was born alive and later died, and 2 were born dead. I was wondering if this was just coincidence that we had all these breach babies or if this is something that can be corrected through an environmental/nutritional/whatever factor.
 

KNERSIE

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Nutrition does play a role, but mostly its a lack of room for the calf to turn into proper position before delivery.

Poor nutrition for the growing heifer and too much nutrition in the last trimester of gestation will obviously make things worse, but selection for more capacity, width between hooks and pins and for a bigger pelvic area will all help to lessen the problem.

Big very leggy calves will also cause a higher incidence of malpresentations

May I venture a guess that the breed in question is holsteins?
 
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LoveMoo11

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Excellent guess! All but one have been heifers, but we do breed our heifers to small bulls.
 

regolith

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Is it likely that the two born dead were dead before calving commenced?

They're not very good at turning into the correct position, those dead calves - something I noticed on a farm that practiced early inductions, years ago. Nearly all the calves were malpresented and needed assistance out, but those gestated long enough to be born live tended to come the correct way.

Full breech or just backwards? I don't know if I've even seen one (full breech) a year from my 150 (Jersey/crossbred) cows - maybe 2 in the last three years.
 

regolith

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adding: as you mentioned they were heifers and my calving book from two years ago was right in front of me... the one I remember assisting was a Jersey heifer. Calf stillborn - I found her first thing in the morning so she'd been calving maybe a few hours.
Nothing more that year, nothing last year. I'm not sure if I might have assisted one the previous year.
 

jilleroo

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I find this interesting as a stud breeder who visited recently commented they were experiencing a high incidence of breech births from embryo transfers calves. When I pressed him as to exact details, it turned out most were just calves coming back legs first, not a proper breech birth, although they had had two of those. He said some calves backlegs were so rigidly set in a pulled back position that they needed a few days of therapy to help them walk properly. They have embryo transferred for many years and said malpresentations are a feature.
We would assist no more than two proper breech births out of about each thousand heifers over a few years. I can remember two very well - they were one day after the other! Different mobs, different paddocks, different bulls, different everything. Real armbreakers, without the assistance of an epidural. Home alone, muscly neighbours were the only way to go!! One calf was dead, one alive.
 

hillsdown

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I think you would know if there were dead before, if they were early or if the fetus smelled.

We hardly ever had a backwards calf let alone a breech with the Holsteins so I would say it probably it is nutrition and heifer size at breeding like Knersie suggested as well as bull selection. If they were all calving a dead fetus early I would get your vet involved asap if not maybe go over your bred heifer ration with your nutritionist.
 

Keren

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It is the job of the calf to get itself into position before the birth, and generally malpresentations are seen when the nutrition of the cow hasnt been adequate to supply the calf with enough energy to move into the diving position.

If you have a large number of presentations, it is generally a sign to look at your nutrition program
 

regolith

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If they were all calving a dead fetus early

Is that responding to my post hd?
It was deliberate. Caused by vet.

I've really nothing more to say on the practice of early inductions... not the best tool in the toolkit. The malpresentations was just an observation over the two or three groups I worked with after the drugs took effect.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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If caught in time, breech or normal backwards presentation, you should be able to save the calf. If the cow/heifer is allowed to calve on her own - than you will see a high incidence of dead calves.

Nutrition plays an important part. As mentioned, not enough & the heifer isn't grown out properly and the calf is weaker. Too much & the heifer is too fat & calf is grown out too big - although getting to the point of feeding too much is difficult. More often the animal is fed too little.
I am a strong believer that lack of exercise also creates malpresentations.
And, also as mentioned, heifers that are just too small for the size of the fetus will cause the calf to be unable to get in the right position.
 

gertfan

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we have had 2 cows that their calves were breech this calving season. In both cases the calves back legs were up under the calf and vet was unable to pull the calves. We have never had this happen before. All that showed was the calf's tail. ended up losing both cows.
This has been one of our worst calving seasons ever.
 

KNERSIE

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gertfan":26uxjsf6 said:
we have had 2 cows that their calves were breech this calving season. In both cases the calves back legs were up under the calf and vet was unable to pull the calves. We have never had this happen before. All that showed was the calf's tail. ended up losing both cows.
This has been one of our worst calving seasons ever.

You need a better vet, unless the cows are so small and the calves way to big to pass through the pelvic opening any vet worth his salt should get them out.

Get yourself a good book and learn how to do it yourself. "Calving the cow and taking care of the calf" by Eddie Stratton is probably the best publication I've seen.
 

mnmtranching

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gertfan, Another of many reasons to breed low birth weight into your herds. Calves weaned per cow. I wonder sometimes how many 1200-1400 pound cows calving on their own push out a breech 75 pound calf, no trouble, no one around.
I have heard of cases where the tail comes first. The calf has to be pushed completely back into the uterus, positioned for normal birth or the back legs positioned to come out first.
These calves were apparently very large. I,m assuming a vet could do the procedures.
So, as long as the vet was there, why not a c section?
 

dun

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mnmtranching":t7iwf8df said:
gertfan, Another of many reasons to breed low birth weight into your herds. Calves weaned per cow. I wonder sometimes how many 1200-1400 pound cows calving on their own push out a breech 75 pound calf, no trouble, no one around.
I have heard of cases where the tail comes first. The calf has to be pushed completely back into the uterus, positioned for normal birth or the back legs positioned to come out first.
These calves were apparently very large. I,m assuming a vet could do the procedures.
So, as long as the vet was there, why not a c section?

Had a 1145 lb cow have a breech 75 calf by herself. It took so long (I wasn;t home that day) that the calf was dead. I was amazed to see that she passed it even with it's legs extended forward under it.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Breach birth is a calf that comes tail first.
A backwards calf that comes rear feet first, is considered a NORMAL birth - just backwards.
Normal birth is either 2 front feet first or 2 rear feet first.
This is "by the book" - but I would never consider a backwards calf very normal. Can be very tricky for them to survive without proper, quick assistance.
Breech is normally an easy fix, if caught in time, and the dam has ample room for a normal sized calf delivery.
 

gertfan

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In response to the lasts couple of posts about breach calves. Our cows are in excellent condition and we do not need to find a new vet.
In both breach cases that we had this year, the cows had been trying to have the calves for several hours, we check them morning and evening. The calves presented tail first and their back legs were up underneath them we were unable to reposition them and the vet was unable to also. The cows had been pushing for so long that it was now a dry birth, making things even more difficult. The first cow ended up being paralyzed, we decided to put her down. Second cow died on her own. This is the first time in all the years my husband and his family have had cattle that they have ever had this happen; something like 30+ years.
If some of you think you could do a better job maybe we should call you when we have a problem come up or better yet you could come to our farm and tell us what you think we need to do differently.
 

KNERSIE

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If some of you think you could do a better job maybe we should call you when we have a problem come up or better yet you could come to our farm and tell us what you think we need to do differently.

With this attitude I bet it will happen again with the same result.

Just like everything else you need to plan ahead and have a strategy when calving. There is no point in allowing a cow to continue trying to calve and make no progress till it reaches the point where the cow is paralysed or die on its own. Have a set time you'll allow and then investigate in a timely manner. That way either you or the vet will have the chance to correct the malpresentation and make an educated decision on the best route forward.

Everyone will have losses from time to time, that is unavoidable, but some losses can be prevented.
 

gertfan

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You evidently didn't read my entire reply when I said we check the cows morning and evening, and I should have also said that frequently during calving season they are check 3 times a day.
These cows are not at our home, they are several miles away from us.
I don't think I have any more attitude than some of the others that post replies. Did you ever think that the attitude comes from people like you who think they know everything about cattle and are more than happy to put in their 2 cents, and are down right rude about it.
There are ways to reply to a post without being shitty about it.
 

KNERSIE

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gertfan":ym3pkds2 said:
You evidently didn't read my entire reply when I said we check the cows morning and evening, and I should have also said that frequently during calving season they are check 3 times a day.
These cows are not at our home, they are several miles away from us.
I don't think I have any more attitude than some of the others that post replies. Did you ever think that the attitude comes from people like you who think they know everything about cattle and are more than happy to put in their 2 cents, and are down right rude about it.
There are ways to reply to a post without being shitty about it.

Then it would be better if you get a good book on the subject, written by a vet, the book won't be shitty about its advice either.

You could have asked how long others give a cow to calve or how the rest of us would have handled a breech birth and I and I am sure others would have gladly taken the time to explain exactly how to try and manoevre the calf into a position so it can be pulled and how long we would wait before we investigate and what the usual outwards indications of a possible malpresentation would be. But since I'm shitty, rude and think I know everything about cattle I won't bother now.
 

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