First time mommy has huge bag and hard nipples

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garnetann

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I have a 3 YO heifer, this will be her first calf. She is swelled up on her lady parts, her bag is huge and her nipples are hard, but not like they have milk in them. The calf is moving, and other than being uncomfortable, mom is eating and doing cow stuff. I don't know when she was bred, the calendar said the girls could start calving after March 16th based on 280 days. So I would not really consider them over due or anything. Noramlly I feel their nipples and they feel empty. These feel harder than that. But her bag is full and hard too. I think she is going to go any time. Are those hard nipples a worry or just peculiar to her...
 

Nesikep

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It seems that the first timers get that a lot more than the older cows... she may be especially uncomfortable after calving and be a little difficult to allow the calf on the teats until she figures out that the calf nursing provides relief
 

dun

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Try to indent the side of the teat with your finger. If it gives and then comes right back out there probably isn;t problem. If it stays indented she may have either severe edema or mastitis
 
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garnetann

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we felt she was too young last year, we like to keep them back until they are three to have their first calf so we gave her an abort shot.
 

farmerjan

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One of the problems that dairy farmers see if they let their heifers get too "old" or mature is that they tend to have more edema in the udder and up under the belly and the udders and teats will be harder. With our beef cows, I don't like to calve much before about 27-30 months but seldom let them go to 3 years. If she is fairly tame, and she is close, you really ought to see if you can get any milk out of her udder. She might have mastitis already, it is not unheard of.
Too much "high quality" feed can also aggravate the edema problem. I also have a half dozen dairy animals, and feed no more than a handful of grain before they calve to just keep them accustomed to coming into the barn. And they don't seem to have as much swelling. You may have to milk her if she is too hard because she will be sore and the calf might not be able to "latch on" and suck like nesikep said.
 
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garnetann

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she calved last night a big bull calf, milking fine. great mama for a first timer. Vet came out and said everything looked fine. by the time the calf sucked, she was dripping milk.
 

dun

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That's great. Sounds like the only reason she was hard was she was FULL
 

farmerjan

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So glad to hear she is doing good and there is no problem with her udder. Seems like she was just "full to the brim" waiting for the calf to be born. Best of luck with her.
 

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