Cow Showing signs of calving

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Mar 6, 2006
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So, here's my situation. My boyfriend calls me at work this morning to tell me one of our beef cows are calving. We've had 2 calve already, so no big deal. But, he says it is Ellie. She's not due for another 3 weeks to a month (I have to look for sure). I am sure of this, since I AI all of our cattle and keep close records. Anyway, I tell him to wait awhile and if nothing changes maybe check her, and call me back. That was about 6 hours ago. He says she is acting about the same. Laying down and getting up and has her tail up sometimes.

He tried getting closer to her and see if she was let down. He said she was, so he was going to wash her up and try and check her, but she wouldn't let him (shes out in the yard). This would not be unusual for most of our other cattle, but Ellie is my first show calf I had. We really cant get her in the corral very easy- not because she's wild, but shes so tame she just wont move. (I actually AI'd her out in the pasture- she just stood there)

So, has anyone had a cow calve this early, or abort this late? According to bf, shes not acting at all like herself. This is her 4th calf and never had trouble. I'm soon off work, so I'm going to check her and see what she's like when I get home. Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts.

tia Ellen
They can go 2 weeks or so prior to 2 weeks past their due-date. I had one calve a few years ago just about 4 wks early. Very tiny bull-calf, he lived. I had to 'help' him out for a few days, but he was fine.

Many of the heifers and a fair amount of the cows, up where I work, have been calving just about 3 weeks early this year (all AI'd ones)....who knows why.

So....she could just be having it a bit early and it may be okay, or, she's having a problem.

My main concern is that you state that she has been showing signs of calving for 6 hours with no progress. That for me is a red flag. Do whatever it takes to get her up into a facility where someone can sleeve up and check her out. Its possible that there is a mal-presentation going on here.

Let us know.

Thanks for the info Katherine,
Just talked to bf, and he said now she is eating w/o tail up. Maybe she is just showing early signs of calving (bf doesn't know alot about calving) So, I'll be home soon and get her in and see whats going on (She cant resist a feed pail)
ellen&dan":ghnehqbr said:
I'll be home soon and get her in and see whats going on (She cant resist a feed pail)

Hopefully its just a case of the cow in the early, early stages.

Good luck. Let us know what you find.

Could also be that she is in false labour. Been there done that. Even ended up taking one to the vet, who informed us that no, she was not calving at that time. She calved a week or so later by herself.

So by all means, sleeve up and check her out, if she's not dialated just keep an eye on her.
Well, I'll give you the play by play story. When I got home, Ellie's acting up again. BF and I decided I would go out myself before we try and get her in. I stuffed a couple palpation gloves in my pocket and grabbed the lube bottle. I also took with a pail of soap and warm water to wash her off a little. When I got to her, she was laying down. I washed her and put on a glove and lubed it then proceded to check her. She has loosened up some, but her cervix is still pretty tight. (I didn't go in through it since she wasn't dilated much) She wasn't quite ready to calve, but my concern then was if she was sick.(she layed there the whole time I was in her) I took her temp. It's normal thankfully.

So far everything seemed ok, but she just wasn't acting like herself when she calves. I realy wanted to know the calf's position more, but I didn't want to invade the cervix since it didn't seem dilated enough. I read on here how some do a rectal exam first if they are not completly sure if the cow is calving. I've ai'd quite a few cows and can find the landmarks pretty good. So, I decided to try rectally palpating her. I pulled on a new sleeve and gave it a try with her still laying down. The calf was right inside the cervix, and seemed to be facing the right direction. I've never tried checking a cow rectaly whos calving this way, but you really can tell alot about position. (Ellie was a good girl and layed still the whole time) So, feeling a little better, I got up and gathered everything up and headed back to the barn, with Ellie right behind me. We put her in the corral for the night so we can watch her more closely. We put another cow in too who looks to calve anytime too.

So, I guess we wait for now and see what tomorrow brings. Will probably check on her once tonight too.

Sounds like she is in the early phases of calving. Depends on the cow, but it can vary how long it lasts. Keep a close eye on her and if anything changes dont be afraid to re-check her.
So as of this morning no calf yet. I gloved her before work this morning. I hate to keep checking her, but don't wan't to miss her calving. Still isn't completly dilated but is getting closer. If I had to bet, I think she'll calve within a day. Bf's keeping an eye on her today.

There stll seems to be something funny, but cant figure it out yet. Everything appears "normal". She is exactly 3 weeks early today if she were to calve. The other cow with her calved last night.

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