Dead Calf

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Anonymous

1 of our 4 expectant heifers dropped earlier today. The weather was a wet 40 degrees or so, and we got there too late. The calf(at a glance) and mother looked well, but when I noticed she was down at the north end away from the others and we got to the hour or so old calf, it was dead. Mom was standing over her and licking afterbirth but to no avail. It doesn't appear to have ever of stood up. Any ideas as to what we may have done or could have done? IE; should we have penned the mother up due to the colder conditions, feeding inconsistencies, etc.

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Anonymous

I can only comment about the temperature. I have had four calve since December, all in sub 20 degree farenheit temperature. Only one needed to be brought into the house for dryng and warming, and that was because the mother was distracted by wolves and or coyottes and did not finish drying off her baby. The temperature that day was about 5 degrees, plus we also had a wind chill. Three calved in snow banks with no ill effects, the most recent one last week. So I doubt the temperature was the problem.

Eaglewerks

> 1 of our 4 expectant heifers
> dropped earlier today. The weather
> was a wet 40 degrees or so, and we
> got there too late. The calf(at a
> glance) and mother looked well,
> but when I noticed she was down at
> the north end away from the others
> and we got to the hour or so old
> calf, it was dead. Mom was
> standing over her and licking
> afterbirth but to no avail. It
> doesn't appear to have ever of
> stood up. Any ideas as to what we
> may have done or could have done?
> IE; should we have penned the
> mother up due to the colder
> conditions, feeding
> inconsistencies, etc.

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OP
A

Anonymous

With heifers you can never be sure of how the new mom will react to having a calf. Sometimes the mothering instinct doesn't kick in soon enough and the calf suffers from neglect.

I wonder if the calf might have come backwards and inhaled amniotic fluid into its lungs during a prolonged birth.

Wet and cold are a bad combination for calves, but wet and 40 degrees isn't usually that bad. We calve in the snow during very cold winters without a problem, but we are also usually pretty dry here.

Any cow we think is nearing calving we try to bring up to a corral. This is more for our convenience than the cow's. If a calf comes backwards, I want to be able to turn on a light, close the door, and work out of the wind and cold. Our calves have very light birthweights, so having one come backwards is usually the only emergency we might face.

We do try and leave a heifer and her new calf together for a couple of days in a corral before putting the pair back in with the herd. We haven't always done this, but I think it's a good idea to make sure they mother up well so older cows don't steal the calf.

> 1 of our 4 expectant heifers
> dropped earlier today. The weather
> was a wet 40 degrees or so, and we
> got there too late. The calf(at a
> glance) and mother looked well,
> but when I noticed she was down at
> the north end away from the others
> and we got to the hour or so old
> calf, it was dead. Mom was
> standing over her and licking
> afterbirth but to no avail. It
> doesn't appear to have ever of
> stood up. Any ideas as to what we
> may have done or could have done?
> IE; should we have penned the
> mother up due to the colder
> conditions, feeding
> inconsistencies, etc.
 

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