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It happened again.

BAGTIC

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I am new with cattl, going into my third year.

Our first calving presented a problem when the cow lay down on a gentle slope and could not get up because her legs were pointing uphill. Fortunately we discovered it in time and were able to turn her around where upon she and the calf immediately responded and both are happy and healthy today.

I had never heard of such a thing but it happened again this time with fatal consequences. A very nice registered heifer went in to labor during the night. She laid down in the lee of a pond dam with her back against a new woven fence and her legs lying uphill against the dam. Both mother and calf were dead when we found them in the morning. The birth appeared otherwise normal as the calf's muzzle and front hooves were well clear. I can only blame myself as I have a separate calving paddock, all level with its own water a shelter but when I checked her that day she was not showing any signs of imminent birth. From now on they will all spend the last two weeks of their pregnancy in the 'maternity ward'. I simply can not afford to lose any more nearly irreplaceable broodstock along with their precious calves.
 

Angus Cowman

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yep that is one of the problems with our hills and it doesn't take much
I had a cow she wasn't calving but she laid down where a mineral feeder used to sit and couldn't get up because of the little hole she was in luckily I found her and she was ok
 

jcarkie

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heifers can get i this predicament when they struggle a little more calving and twist around and get in a bad position. they may have been having more trouble than you realize. i always keep them close at hand because you never know what they will do.
 

Angus Cowman

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jcarkie":1gl97you said:
heifers can get i this predicament when they struggle a little more calving and twist around and get in a bad position. they may have been having more trouble than you realize. i always keep them close at hand because you never know what they will do.
that is why when I calve hfrs that they are in 2 10 acre calving lots and I check them evry 3-4 hrs or sooner if I have one close
 

TheBullLady

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I've actually had a heifer give birth in a stock tank (pond). So if there's a way you can put your calving stock in a paddock or pasture that doesn't have a "water hazard", that's at least one less thing to worry about.

Sorry for your loss.
 

RanchManager

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We have over 600 acres of flood irrigated pasture that we use routinely. On average we loose 1 - 2 cows a year (.025%)that lay too close to the edge of one of our ditches. They lay on the edge, they wind up sliding into the depression/ditch, and die in less than 15 minutes. Their rumen winds up putting too much pressure on their lungs and they suffocate quickly. We figure it as the cost of doing business. I've seen it happen on our hill pasture too, similar to what you described.

Another thing to watch our for is late spring calving. If the days start getting warm, cows will gravitate toward the water when they are about to calve (they feel odd like they are getting sick/feverish so they seek water). They will calve next to a stock pond or stream bank. As the calf struggles to stand up it winds up flopping into the water and drowns. Even with riders constantly watching we wound up missing a few. We have resorted to fencing off these danger areas with permanent fence or hot wire, depending. It has definately saved us some calves.

P.S. If you have stock ponds/tanks and see a cow that has obviously just calved looking out toward the water, that is your first sign. The calves usually come floating up to the top in three days.
 

BAGTIC

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So far most of mine have chosen high ground to calve and not near ponds or feeders. I think this one was looking for the privacy, shade, and wind break.

Since we put in automatic waterers the cows avoid the ponds except in the hottest weather. They are fenced off from the main pond which is our fishing pond and will walk half a mile to use the fountains rather than drink from the smaller soaking pond.

I have a small 2 acre paddock that was formerly used for horses. It has its own waterer and some old horse stalls that provide enough protection from the wind and rain. My problem is that my cows are bred in the pasture by the bull and so I don't have a close estimate of calving dates and not enough experience to tell by looking. I had checked the dead heifer twice the day before, the last time at about an hour before dark and I didn't detect any obvious signs. There wasn't any varginal swelling, discharge, or engorgement of udder or nipples. What else should I be looking for?
 

SRBeef

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BAGTIC":36j2pcjf said:
My problem is that my cows are bred in the pasture by the bull and so I don't have a close estimate of calving dates and not enough experience to tell by looking.

I would suggest you have the vet come by and preg check the whole cow/heifer group, maybe while doing fall worming or shots. This could be in late Oct or early Nov before the weather gets bad.

The vet should be able to give you a good idea of which ones are open, which ones are pregnant and about how many months along the pregnant ones are.

This would let you make a rough schedule on when to move which ones to a suitable level calving area as you describe. Losing just one cow and calf would sure pay for a LOT of vet visits. Seems like you really ought to have some idea of when they are going to calve. Sorry about your loss.

Seems like another reason to preg check as has been discussed here at length not too long ago.
 

I luv herfrds

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Holding their tail out, but not pooping or peeing. Sniffing around. Trying to claim another cow's calf. Mooing for no reason. Got one that will do that for 3 weeks before she calves, drives me crazy during night calving.
I would keep them in til they calve. Our herd is pasture exposed too, so it is a long wait til they finish calving. You can always call the vet out and have them preg checked and get an estimate on how many days they are along. Now there is no guarntee on the days but it would give you a date in which to watch.

I know it really stinks to lose both the cow and calf. Been there. Best thing I can tell you is when that next calf is born and gets up and nurses, that is the best medicine in the world for you after a loss.
 

RanchManager

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I tried to respond again, but it seems my last post didn't make it so here it goes again, at least the gist of it:

It takes a little time to develop an eye for it, in fact I used to think the old timers were pulling my leg, but as the calf starts to move toward the birth canal, it causes the cow to appear that her tummy has moved back. Her center of gravity will appear to have shifted backward and often a little dip in her back (center back, maybe a little back from center) seems to take place. Now, it's different with every cow depending on breeding, conformation, weight, condition, age, etc., but once you develop an eye for what to look for you can spot it and it's a pretty safe bet she will calve within 24 hours. As a young ranch hand, it took me a couple seasons to identify what I am talking about here (at least with the younger, more fit, cows/heifers) but once you train yourself to see it, it is a sure sign.

I've had cows bag up two or even three weeks before calving. I've seen them get vaginally springy/loose four or five days before calving although it's usually a good sign that they are within a day or two. Train yourself to see what I am talking about and you will be more confident as predicting delivery and get more sleep when things are quite.
 

Nesikep

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another sign, which I saw a picture of somewhere on one of these threads, is looking from the back of the cow, look at her right side, normally, before calving, you'll see it big and bulgy, but as the calf moves to the birth canal, that side will get flat

you can also often see the ligaments behind the hip, around the tail relax

can you approach your cows?

sorry about the losses too.. i don't think there's anyone on here that has never had bad stuff happen!
 

msscamp

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BAGTIC":3tpf628q said:
My problem is that my cows are bred in the pasture by the bull and so I don't have a close estimate of calving dates and not enough experience to tell by looking.

Does this statement mean that your bull runs with your cows year round?

I had checked the dead heifer twice the day before, the last time at about an hour before dark and I didn't detect any obvious signs. There wasn't any varginal swelling, discharge, or engorgement of udder or nipples. What else should I be looking for?

Sometimes they don't bag up until they calve, especially if they are heifers. Other signs to look for are sinking of the tailhead, loose vaginal lips, restlessness, not really interested in feed, or she just seems 'off'. I know that the "just seems 'off'" statement doesn't make a lot of sense, but the more time you spend with your cows the better you will know them, how they usually act, and you will be able to tell when there is something not right - and that is invaluable when they are getting ready to calve!
 

dun

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Suree glad there are folks that never miss the impending signs of calving. I know a lot of vets and dairyman that would like to achieve that level of perfection!
 

Jim62

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I, too, seldom miss on a calving date, or time, for that matter.

If I go out in the morning and a cow has a brand new calf, it was last night. :)
 

Roadapple

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And sometimes those signs don't mean diddly. I had a cow once that showed all the signs of impending birth and was so loose, that when she walked she flopped side to side. Penned her up, 5 days later nothing, turned her back out, 2 weeks later nice healthy calf. Had another one showing no signs, standing looking into barn as I walked past her into the barn. Went about 20 ft., heard a whump, turned around and there laid a newborn and she's still standing looking at me. So sometimes they don't mean much. Usually, when I see feet and a nose, I'm pretty sure they're getting close.
 

dun

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Roadapple":1dwod1h6 said:
when I see feet and a nose, I'm pretty sure they're getting close.

And that's the only dead bang certain sign
 

Bez+

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BAGTIC":w7xzevo9 said:
I am new with cattl, going into my third year.

Our first calving presented a problem when the cow lay down on a gentle slope and could not get up because her legs were pointing uphill. Fortunately we discovered it in time and were able to turn her around where upon she and the calf immediately responded and both are happy and healthy today.

I had never heard of such a thing but it happened again this time with fatal consequences. A very nice registered heifer went in to labor during the night. She laid down in the lee of a pond dam with her back against a new woven fence and her legs lying uphill against the dam. Both mother and calf were dead when we found them in the morning. The birth appeared otherwise normal as the calf's muzzle and front hooves were well clear. I can only blame myself as I have a separate calving paddock, all level with its own water a shelter but when I checked her that day she was not showing any signs of imminent birth. From now on they will all spend the last two weeks of their pregnancy in the 'maternity ward'. I simply can not afford to lose any more nearly irreplaceable broodstock along with their precious calves.

We call it being "cast"

Trapped and cannot get up - happens more often than you might realize.

As for predicting calving - I have always let God and Mother Nature tell me when it happens.

When the calf is on the ground it is done.

Bez+
 

I luv herfrds

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Dun you know how many cows have fooled me? I can't count them all. :D :D
The fun ones are the ones that are in labor and steal another cows calf. I could have shot that cow. Won't go into details, but I'm pretty sure can imagine what I was saying for about half an hour. :lol2:
We all look for different signs. But they still fool us.
 

bigbull338

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sorry that you had a heifer lay on ineven ground get her feet out from under her calving.an that you lost both the heifer an calf. its a sad but real part of cattle.your going to loose some calving.an there will be freak things to cause the deaths.
 

Workinonit Farm

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Bez+":3799qqp2 said:
BAGTIC":3799qqp2 said:
a problem when the cow lay down on a gentle slope and could not get up because her legs were pointing uphill. Fortunately we discovered it in time and were able to turn her around

I had never heard of such a thing but it happened again this time with fatal consequences.

We call it being "cast"

Trapped and cannot get up - happens more often than you might realize.


Bez+

Had it happen here last February. My nurse cow (Jersey). She left me with a 3 week old heifer to raise. She'd done this one other time a couple of years ago, in a different pasture but I saw her right away and got her turned around in time. Last Feb. she did it during the night.

I had more people telling me that they'd never heard of such a thing. :roll: I did have a few tell me they had lost cows the smae way.

It happens, and when it does, it usually bites, and its usually one you don't want to lose.

Sorry for your loss. You're not alone.

Katherine
 

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