Grieving momma cow

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So I’m fairly new at raising cows, I have 2 heifers and an adult cow. Momma cow gave birth to a bull 1 week ago and he lived for 5 days and died yesterday. My question is, how long does a momma cow grieve for her baby? She continues to moo looking for him, and always looks in the area where she last saw him. This just breaks my heart. Do they grieve for a few days or few weeks or months?
 

Lee VanRoss

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Cows are dumb only in the sense they communicate in a ways we do not understand. The how and why could be discussed on
these pages albeit the agreement of both would never find resolution. Some cattle left in an intact herd will form strong family bonds
conversely some may not. Really not much different than our day to day world.
 

sunnyblueskies

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My experience is about three, four days, some 5. I agree, leaving the calf there helps, but that's not always possible.
I wanted to point out that I really like the cattletoday forum because people CAN ask newbie questions, like how long does a cow beller after her calf dies or is weaned and nobody jumps down the persons throat for asking that question.
Respect to the people.
=)
 

J Hoy

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So I’m fairly new at raising cows, I have 2 heifers and an adult cow. Momma cow gave birth to a bull 1 week ago and he lived for 5 days and died yesterday. My question is, how long does a momma cow grieve for her baby? She continues to moo looking for him, and always looks in the area where she last saw him. This just breaks my heart. Do they grieve for a few days or few weeks or months?
That depends on the cow. Some grieve for longer than others. My question is why did the calf die? Did it have any birth defects like an underbite, herniated umbilicus, weak pasterns or other? Did you check its bite to see if it had an underbite? Did it have diarrhea?
 

swiftdood

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So I’m fairly new at raising cows, I have 2 heifers and an adult cow. Momma cow gave birth to a bull 1 week ago and he lived for 5 days and died yesterday. My question is, how long does a momma cow grieve for her baby? She continues to moo looking for him, and always looks in the area where she last saw him. This just breaks my heart. Do they grieve for a few days or few weeks or months?
On the occasion that this has rarely happened I have managed to find a replacement calf.….preferably only a day or two old. Next I cut off a strip of skin from the back of the dead calf about 12” wide and 20” long. From about 2” in from one end I cut a slit lengthways long enough to get over the new calf’s head comfortably. I then lay the strip along the calf’s back and use duct tape to encircle the calf and skin behind the navel. Remove the remains of the dead calf completely from the pen. i then leave the new calf next to the cow in another pen for at least 12hrs because I want the new calf hungry. If the cow is any kind of mother she will smell the skin on the new calf and accept that its hers. Once I’ve made sure the calf has had its fill I leave them alone. In a couple of days remove the skin and turn them out. If you’re a little squeamish about the skinning etc….find someone who will do it for you. I’ve never seen the point in carrying over a cow that isn’t productive.
 

joewabell

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So I’m fairly new at raising cows, I have 2 heifers and an adult cow. Momma cow gave birth to a bull 1 week ago and he lived for 5 days and died yesterday. My question is, how long does a momma cow grieve for her baby? She continues to moo looking for him, and always looks in the area where she last saw him. This just breaks my heart. Do they grieve for a few days or few weeks or months?
COWS JUST LIKE PEOPLE, THEY HAVE THEIR GRIEVING PERIODS TOO.
 
OP
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I will leave a dead calf with the cow until she voluntarily leaves it, I think that helps.

Ken
So I’m fairly new at raising cows, I have 2 heifers and an adult cow. Momma cow gave birth to a bull 1 week ago and he lived for 5 days and died yesterday. My question is, how long does a momma cow grieve for her baby? She continues to moo looking for him, and always looks in the area where she last saw him. This just breaks my heart. Do they grieve for a few days or few weeks or months?
Thank you everyone for your responses. Puts my mind at ease knowing it won’t be a long time that the momma cow grieves. I would rather not say how he died, I took the advise from a reputable vet that the baby calf really had no chance to live. My husband and I watched him suffer for a few days and knew he couldn’t live a good quality of life. My heart is still broken. He was our very first calf. We did leave momma and the other 2 heifers to grieve over his body for about 3 hrs before we buried him. I’m really glad we did that!
 

TCRanch

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What @sunnyblueskies said: it's not always possible to leave the calf. Contingent on the time of year and location. I'm not about to leave a dead calf around the bale area during calving season - why would I intentionally leave "bait" for predators around other newborns? If a calf (or cow, heifer, bull) is found dead anywhere near a county road, it is removed immediately - nobody wants (or needs) to see that. If it's 100 degrees, the animal is removed immediately. Of course, I'm heartbroken for mama (and me!), but common sense sometimes presides over leaving the calf for her to grieve. She will, however, stay in that spot for a few days. Sometimes joining the herd, but going back to check/grieve. And mama always gets extra cubes & attention. But if she's still there after 3 days, I'm cutting her off because I know she's just in it for the treats.
 

Lee VanRoss

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Question for CFCL.. Did you see the calf suck? What was the mothers reaction?
If the calf sucked was its tail going around or just hanging down? Tail movement is a good indicator
the calf is getting nourishment. Also were the mothers nipples exceedingly large?
I wasn't there so I am flying blind here. That it survived 5 days my thinking is that it starved to death,,,,
This not to come down on you as you did say you were fairly new to raising cattle. Your success will improve as
you learn to 'read' your cattle. That does not necessarily mean interacting with them but observing how they
interact with each other. The more you understand them the more confident you will become in your ability to
succeed in the business. Stay the course and you will do just fine. A word of advice, Never pet the bull!
 

sunnyblueskies

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And mama always gets extra cubes & attention. But if she's still there after 3 days, I'm cutting her off because I know she's just in it for the treats.
I'm sorry for posting my laughing emoji on your reply and not explaining. What is you said is absolutely true.........but you got me with your 'she's just in it for the treats'.
Too funny. =)
 

damengineer

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I have one now that has walked and bawled for 10 days. I don't know why heres was dead when I found it. maybe she started licking from the wrong end. I was going to haul her off with the one that laid on here calf in the pen. I think I will give her another chance. The other one is now named White Castle...........
 

Lee VanRoss

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DE> "Love your wife, forgive your children, do neither with a cow'' is some of the best advice I ever listened to regarding cattle.
Don't let a lump in the throat lead to no lump in the pocket! Good luck LVR
 

Brute 23

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I have had cows lose calves and it was a day or two. A couple years ago a really good older cow lost one and she was in a fit. I went back two days later to check again and she was drawed up and run down and still working the pasture looping back where the calf died. I was able to get the herd in the area with cubes and take the whole group to the pens. I loaded her up and hauled her to some heifers I was weaning at another place in the pens. She settled down the next day there. I ended up calling her mother goose and leaving her with my heifers to train them up for a couple more years. I finally didnt trust she could hold up to a bull mounting her so I had to sell her. I cant remember exactly but I want to say she was like 19 years old when I sold her.
 

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