How did this happen??

Help Support CattleToday:

Minicowman

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Hi all, I'm still trying to figure out how our 1st calf heifer didn't deliver her first calf. Here's what I saw. I estimated she was due sometime late July, her udder was bagging up, but I didn't notice any big change in her vulva, definately not Springing.

She was acting normal, eating hay, when I noticed something hanging out of her. It looked like either a dried mucus plug or a dried water bag but small, maybe 7 or 8 inches in length. She didn't seem like she was in labor at all. I didn't think much about it, except if its dried mucus, then she's a week or so away from delivering.

The next morning she was acting the same, but when she peed, I noticed something white in her vulva. I was shocked. I reached in a little ways and the white thing was a hoof! Wow, how was that possible? Why didn't she deliver?

I called the vet and he came over and we pulled the calf which was in the proper position for delivery he said when he reached in. He did say she was very tight, and we did have some trouble pulling it, but its head wasn't big. It wasn't a huge baby. However the heifer's hips are pretty narrow.

The vet said that sometimes, first calf heifers won't push... they just act like nothing's happening... Is that a real thing?? Is that even possible? Or does Mother Nature take over and say that you gotta push to get your calf out.

Any thoughts that you guys have can be helpful. I'm not sure if I should attempt to re-breed or not.

Thanks.

Sean
 

bigbluegrass

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
433
Reaction score
150
Location
Northern KY
Did she have a live calf or was it dead?

If she had a live calf, I would observe her mothering ability and might re-breed if she is a good mother.

If you are new to cows and you are calving a first time heifer, it is possible you missed some of the subtle signs that it was time to intervene. The 7-8 inch discharge is a pretty good sign something happened or is happening.
 

Dsth

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
588
Reaction score
429
Location
eastern Iowa
I have been around cattle my whole life. some in the dairy business and some in the beef sector. I have never ran into that problem. not saying that it can't happen. many threads I read on hear are situations that are rare and I'm guessing several members on here have not encountered. I will be interested to see what others post.
 
OP
M

Minicowman

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Did she have a live calf or was it dead?

If she had a live calf, I would observe her mothering ability and might re-breed if she is a good mother.

If you are new to cows and you are calving a first time heifer, it is possible you missed some of the subtle signs that it was time to intervene. The 7-8 inch discharge is a pretty good sign something happened or is happening.
No, the calf was dead unfortunately. I just had a cow deliver a healthy bull calf in early June, and I am with my herd everyday. So I'm usually very observant of their condition. But she didn't show any labor signs unless she did it at night.

I'm just surprised that with the calf in position to be delivered, why she didn't.
 

bigbluegrass

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 11, 2011
Messages
433
Reaction score
150
Location
Northern KY
A couple possibilities come to my mind. If the calf was dead prior to labor starting (late term abortion), I have seen cows have trouble delivering because they don't get any help from the calf and they usually aren't fully dilated. It is also possible she was in labor just before and continued in labor just after you observed the discharge. When you put feed out, she may have decided to eat something. I have seen cows, especially if they are hungry, take a break to eat something.

If it were me, I would probably sell her if I could get a decent price. She isn't going to put any money in your pocket this year. It will take her 3-4 years or more to break even. Unless she is really special for other reasons, here she would be re-bred and gone.
 

Ky hills

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 4, 2016
Messages
4,047
Reaction score
1,826
Location
Clark County, KY
We had a Santa Gertrudis heifer last winter that was similar. I saw her with her tail out like she was starting. She did that for quite a while with nothing showing kept expecting to see a water bag but did not. Finally she showed signs of the bag breaking but no sign of feet. Got her in the chute and realized that she was narrow and not dilated. It was a long process, just to get chains on the legs and was the hardest pull I've ever had. Surprisingly the heifer and calf both lived. I sold the heifer after weaning her calf, as did not want to deal with that again.
 

TCRanch

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
5,763
Reaction score
1,570
Location
Winfield, KS
You said her hips were pretty narrow, so I'm assuming you didn't have her pelvic measured prior to either retaining or breeding her. Regardless of whether it wasn't a huge calf and if she was bred to a calving ease bull, if her pelvis is too small, there will be problems.

I agree it's possible you missed the signs of labor. Did you vet give you any indication how long the calf had been dead? Give her penicillin or suggest you keep an eye on her for signs of infection?

Personally, I wouldn't keep the heifer, but it's entirely up to you.
 

Rydero

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2019
Messages
729
Reaction score
924
Location
Manitoba, Canada
I wouldn't worry much about it. It was probably already dead so labor didn't work right. The only way to see any income out of her this year is to sell her. She's already got a couple strikes so easy choice, ship her and never think about it again.
 

bird dog

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
2,346
Reaction score
465
Location
Navarro County, Texas
From your name, I assume its a mini? Strange things happen when you mess with mother nature? Regardless the young cow will be better off sold.
 

JCcattle

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2017
Messages
139
Reaction score
21
Location
Western Canada
We spent big money on a cow that's given us 2 dead calves, all because of her never pushing as fas as we can tell. Uterine inertia? She's only around cuz she adopted calves both times. This year she's going to market once her calf is weaned.
 

coachg

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 8, 2014
Messages
354
Reaction score
153
Location
Pisgah, Alabama
Smart money says to sell her , esp if the vet said she was narrow . I think the calf was dead and normal labor didn’t occur .
 

JKCattle

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 5, 2018
Messages
50
Reaction score
40
Not going into good labor is a very common problem with first calf heifers. I’ve always assumed it was pain that caused them to not push and therefore not dilate. Most of the time if you can get them through that first calf they will be fine with subsequent deliveries. Show heifers are the worst about not going into labor
 

Redgully

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Messages
1,580
Reaction score
251
Location
Karragullen, Western Australia
I had one a few years back, never went into labour when due so decided to check her out, she sat down and i could see a hoof come out. Thought maybe things about to happen, came back a couple of hours later and she was with the other grazing. No sign of calf or labour. Got her in and pulled a dead calf. Gave her a month for udder to ease off and sent her to sale yards, I'm not stuffing around with cattle like that.
 

moses388

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2017
Messages
136
Reaction score
86
If I see mucus or a plug, I will check back in an hour or two. If I see a waterbag or calf part, that heifer or cow gets to meet my arm.

Cows get some leeway because they have had a calf before, but heifers 2+ days late get my arm. I check to see the position of the calf. Is it down or up? Am I able to find the head? If I go in and the head is at the cervix, than I am checking for dilation.

....I have a very old cow. She is a good mother and raises a big calf. I have pulled her calf the past 3 years. When it's time she is vocal and runs around with her tail in the air. I have taken a chance by retaining one of her daughters....
 

puzzled in oregon

CT Supporter
CT Supporter
Joined
May 31, 2020
Messages
160
Reaction score
154
Hi all, I'm still trying to figure out how our 1st calf heifer didn't deliver her first calf. Here's what I saw. I estimated she was due sometime late July, her udder was bagging up, but I didn't notice any big change in her vulva, definately not Springing.

She was acting normal, eating hay, when I noticed something hanging out of her. It looked like either a dried mucus plug or a dried water bag but small, maybe 7 or 8 inches in length. She didn't seem like she was in labor at all. I didn't think much about it, except if its dried mucus, then she's a week or so away from delivering.

The next morning she was acting the same, but when she peed, I noticed something white in her vulva. I was shocked. I reached in a little ways and the white thing was a hoof! Wow, how was that possible? Why didn't she deliver?

I called the vet and he came over and we pulled the calf which was in the proper position for delivery he said when he reached in. He did say she was very tight, and we did have some trouble pulling it, but its head wasn't big. It wasn't a huge baby. However the heifer's hips are pretty narrow.

The vet said that sometimes, first calf heifers won't push... they just act like nothing's happening... Is that a real thing?? Is that even possible? Or does Mother Nature take over and say that you gotta push to get your calf out.

Any thoughts that you guys have can be helpful. I'm not sure if I should attempt to re-breed or not.

Thanks.

Sean
I have a couple dexters along with full size cows. The one dexter is three, had her second calf this year. The first year I found her early in the morning already in trouble trying to calve. It was a little hard on both the cow and calf, I should have been out there earlier. She never seemed to push any as I pulled the calf, feeling inside there seemed to be plenty of room. I thought she had just wore herself out trying to deliver. The calf had a little swelling in the face but not bad, it took the cow a few hours to make it to her feet.

This year when she went started calving I was there from start to finish. The water bag broke, finally the feet and nose were visible off and on, checking inside it felt like there was plenty of room. Checking her frequently, I never at anytime saw her pushing enough to deliver a calf. I don't like to get into big of a hurry and rush deliveries, but 1 1/2 hours after the water bag and the delivery did not seem to be advancing I put the chains on the calf an assisted with the delivery. Was it a hard pull, I will so no because I am pretty scrawny.

But this is the first time I have dealt with a cow going into the calving process that did not seem push/go into hard labor.

Yes, I still have her. Yes I know she is not a money maker, but like I told the vet in a later conversation "some one has to look after her". I am also aware that I may lose her at some point, but it won't be because of lack of care.

All my other cows calved fine, from the first calf heifer to the old timers :)
 
OP
M

Minicowman

Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
7
Reaction score
0
Thanks for your thoughts. I just wish I saw the water bag. I would have been more attentive. I've got a cow due this month. She's showing but no udder or springing yet..
 

Latest posts

Top