breech calf

Help Support CattleToday:


Well-known member
Jun 25, 2006
Reaction score
Last Monday we had a 4 yr old cow with a breech calf. Husband and I went to check the cows that evening, during calving season we check every few hours, and noticed this cow off by her self, she couldn't get up and all we could see was the calf's tail. Called the vet, he couldn't get there right away but when he did it was awful. Vet tried to get the calf's legs pulled to come out but they were wedged in . Husband and brother tried to decide whether to do a section or not, since she was down and most generally they don't get back up. Finally they decided to put her to sleep. I have never cried about losing a cow before but I cried all the way home. My husband said in all his years of having cattle has never had one do this. I don't ever want to see it again I know that.
Buck up - it is a rare happening.

If you are going to have livestock you will have dead stock

We raise them to kill them - so we do our best for them while we can - sometimes it is not enough - and that is life.

Go for a walk and take a breather


We have had 2 that were tail first and both times the calf was born dead. We didn't have to put the cows down.
It happens. Like Bez said that's life.
I'm sorry you had to put her down, but it sounds like you did the humane thing at that point.
Sorry for your loss, but I'm wondering why you didnt euthanase the cow and then c-section the calf out? We've done a few like that - we call them sacrificial caesars or cutthroat caesers in the case of sheep and goats. Its worth a shot - sometimes the calf/lamb is still alive and a live calf is still something.
We hadn't had a breech calf for years and then had two, a day apart. Different age group, different paddocks, different sires!
The first was a big calf and very very difficult as the cow kept pushing as hard as she could. An epidural would have made it a whole lot easier.... Home alone, (like I usually am when these things happen) I was bruised and exhausted and reluctantly had to call a good strong neighbour to help! We got one back leg but it took another good hour to get the second one - that cow never gave up pushing against us. The calf was freshly dead.
The next day I repeated the whole performance but without the neighbour. This time the calf was smaller and easier and alive.
Both cows have calved again, this time the calves were pointing in the right direction.
I think, especially with the aid of an epidural, that vet should have been able to get the calf. The trickiest I can remember recently was where the calf was upside down, an arms length inside the heifer, and only the head presented, the front legs were laid back.
That took a good couple of hours, the calf had been dead quite a while, but the heifer was quite unperturbed. Exhausting work on a very hot day.
Hope things get better for you.

Latest posts