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lost a cow, found a calf

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Last Sunday I lost this big brangus cow. I've had her for years and she was a very good cow. She was apparently in labor and prolapsed. I found her in the woods in this shape. I saw her the evening before with no issues.I thought she may have dropped her calf but she was very bloated looking. Looked like afterbirth by her back but I saw no signs of a calf and since her belly was so big I concluded she must not have had it before she died. Fast forward to this morning, I found this heifer calf standing by fence line about 100 yards from any cow. Looked thin like it hadn't nursed, hair dirty, so I slowly pushed it too cows to find mama. None were interested and none looked to have just calved. These are all older cows and all have had calves here with no issues. A few walked up and sniffed but none were very interested. Calf never bellowed, was slightly weak but walked fine and actually kept walking down fence line another 100 yards away from cows. We gave 3 quarts of colostrum and she took to bottle fine. I'm thinking this has to be the brangus cows calf. Looks like a calf she would have with plenty ear. Is 5 or 6 days possible for this calf to survive on its own? If so, what is her chance of survival?


 

Fire Sweep Ranch

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I can say that cow had a calf, since the uterus is inside out! Those brown spots are where the placental membrane attaches to the uterus, cotyledons. That is where the nutrition is passed to the calf. So, no calf in that uterus after death, thus a calf somewhere.
The calf could have nursed the cow before she died, or right after, and gotten the necessary colostrum. That cow looks like she struggled before dying, since there are wear marks around her feet and face. Likely she calved, the calf nursed, and then she prolapsed and died. Did you pull the placenta away from her or did you find it like that? If you found it like that, then the cow got up after calving, which makes it likely the calf did nurse her.
So you found the calf 5 or 6 days AFTER the cow died? That calf had to be stealing milk from someone. Good thing you checked on her and found the calf... double loss is even harder!
 

Katpau

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I had one many years ago, before we had any cross fencing, that survived a whole week on its own. I saw it just after birth and it was nursing on the cow. Perhaps yours also nursed at birth and the cow prolapsed later.

In my case, the day after I saw the cow with her new calf, I found that the entire herd had crossed the creek through a steep ditch and were grazing almost a mile away. Could not find the calf, but the cows yearling heifer was nursing. We looked for the calf every day for a week. Then after I decided that it must have been eaten by a predator, we were back in the area of its birth fixing fence. We had checked this area many times before with no luck. The herd had not returned to that area and were now grazing at the other end of the ranch. There were numerous places to hide, so finding a calf who did not want to be found was unlikely. On our return home, my husband slammed on the brakes of his ATV and leaped off. There was a calf by the edge of the steep bank next to the creek. The calf was evasive and dropped over the edge, tumbling about 20 feet and landing in the creek. My husband slid after him and was able to catch him and bring him back up. We hauled him home on the ATV and fed him a bottle. We caught the cow up and penned them together. At first she wanted nothing to do with him, but by the next morning, he was nursing on her. I am sure that calf was alone that whole week and must have survived by keeping hydrated drinking from the creek and puddles.
 
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Anonymous

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Katpau":2vxfwqah said:
I had one many years ago, before we had any cross fencing, that survived a whole week on its own. I saw it just after birth and it was nursing on the cow. Perhaps yours also nursed at birth and the cow prolapsed later.

In my case, the day after I saw the cow with her new calf, I found that the entire herd had crossed the creek through a steep ditch and were grazing almost a mile away. Could not find the calf, but the cows yearling heifer was nursing. We looked for the calf every day for a week. Then after I decided that it must have been eaten by a predator, we were back in the area of its birth fixing fence. We had checked this area many times before with no luck. The herd had not returned to that area and were now grazing at the other end of the ranch. There were numerous places to hide, so finding a calf who did not want to be found was unlikely. On our return home, my husband slammed on the brakes of his ATV and leaped off. There was a calf by the edge of the steep bank next to the creek. The calf was evasive and dropped over the edge, tumbling about 20 feet and landing in the creek. My husband slid after him and was able to catch him and bring him back up. We hauled him home on the ATV and fed him a bottle. We caught the cow up and penned them together. At first she wanted nothing to do with him, but by the next morning, he was nursing on her. I am sure that calf was alone that whole week and must have survived by keeping hydrated drinking from the creek and puddles.
I'm thinking that she may have nursed cow because I checked cow when I found her and she had milk readily available. The calf took to bottle quick too. Didn't have to force it. When I first found it, I watched the calf walking fence line and saw it stop at a mud puddle and sip. Also her nose had a green tint like she had been rooting around in the green grass. I'm guessing she must be a survivor. Hope I can keep her alive and healthy.
 

callmefence

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We had a similar situation several years back. About nine days went by before the calf was found. It was quite healthy and hard to catch. I figured it nursed on the down cow for awhile and then stole milk. I passed it on to a neighbor who had a fresh cow minus a calf.
 
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Anonymous

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Fire Sweep Ranch":2kmr0qpl said:
I can say that cow had a calf, since the uterus is inside out! Those brown spots are where the placental membrane attaches to the uterus, cotyledons. That is where the nutrition is passed to the calf. So, no calf in that uterus after death, thus a calf somewhere.
The calf could have nursed the cow before she died, or right after, and gotten the necessary colostrum. That cow looks like she struggled before dying, since there are wear marks around her feet and face. Likely she calved, the calf nursed, and then she prolapsed and died. Did you pull the placenta away from her or did you find it like that? If you found it like that, then the cow got up after calving, which makes it likely the calf did nurse her.
So you found the calf 5 or 6 days AFTER the cow died? That calf had to be stealing milk from someone. Good thing you checked on her and found the calf... double loss is even harder!
Cow did struggle. That is exactly how I found her, and snapped a picture. Yes , just found calf this morning and cow died last Sunday. I've been out among them everyday, twice per day most days and no sign but there is about 20 acres of pines attached to that pasture. I thought of the stealing milk too, but calf showed no sign of digestive movement. But, she sure was more frisky than I would have thought for that long without mama.
 

TCRanch

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Sorry about losing the cow but looks like you have one heck of a survivor in that calf! 5 years ago I had a cow (appropriately named Satan) that rejected a twin after 3 days. Searched for the calf and finally found it 3 days later, amazed it was still alive.
 

Bright Raven

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Fire Sweep Ranch":rjz7mble said:
I can say that cow had a calf, since the uterus is inside out! Those brown spots are where the placental membrane attaches to the uterus, cotyledons. That is where the nutrition is passed to the calf. So, no calf in that uterus after death, thus a calf somewhere.
The calf could have nursed the cow before she died, or right after, and gotten the necessary colostrum. That cow looks like she struggled before dying, since there are wear marks around her feet and face. Likely she calved, the calf nursed, and then she prolapsed and died. Did you pull the placenta away from her or did you find it like that? If you found it like that, then the cow got up after calving, which makes it likely the calf did nurse her.
So you found the calf 5 or 6 days AFTER the cow died? That calf had to be stealing milk from someone. Good thing you checked on her and found the calf... double loss is even harder!

Great use of photo evidence. You want a job in enforcement?
 

farmerjan

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One dairy that I used to milk on, had a bunch of heifers out to pasture getting close to calving. Brought them home and one had a bit of an udder, went in her and no calf so they put her in with the milk cows, figured she aborted a dead calf. About 10 days later a neighbor to that pasture called and said they saw a calf out in the pasture. It took 3 days of 4-wheeler riding and walking and just through luck saw the calf then had one he// of a time catching the calf. It had maybe been 2 or 3 days old when they moved the heifers if that. It survived because it had gotten a bit of milk /colostrum first. I think also that your cow prolapsed after calving and the calf did get a first meal or two. It may have sucked her when laying out too, have seen calves do that on cows that went down. She is a survivor, a great will to live. Fine testament to your good old cow.
 

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