new Heifers caving

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lifeofleisure

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Arrived in calving area at 11 am to find 2 heifers with after birth beginning to be expelled. 1 live calf, one dead bull calf. Both normal size. Both heifers claiming live calf. Bull calf had been cleaned up on one side, mouth and nose clear. I filpped it over and steam rose off bottom side, no life could be deteched, and I tried to get it going but suspect I was just too late. 4-6 inches of hay on ground where these two decided to calve. Temp was 15 this morn.
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I think I know real momma. Will calf eventually bond with her? after dark I cahecked on them and calf was laying between the 2 claiming her, and when they got up was suckling off whichever was closest. Do I take one away and place in with cows in other pasture?

On cow seems to still have alot of afterbirth (2.5 - 3' long) hanging out. Supposed to be cold 20's tonight and single digits tomorrow night. do I need to worry about this.

BTW while I have helped out around since a kid these are my first AI heifers all due this weekend the coldest of the year. I have them close to the barn and plenty of bedding in several arreas. 4 of 12 have calved so far since yesterday.
 

buckmaster33

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First, the afterbirth is fine. It's normal for a cow to take 2-3 days to fully clean themselves. Being you have bedding, a windbreak and a dry place to calve I wouldnt worry about the temp in the 20's too much. Momma will take care of him/her just fine. The main thing is that the calf is able to get dry.

Are all twelve that are calving heifers?? I only ask because if so, you might wanna make a more conscious effort to check them more frequently(if possible) as lots of babies are born in the early morning. 11am seems to be the down time for my cows. :) And heifers in particular need to be closely monitored as the most dystocia problems occur in first calf heifers. I'll let someone else answer the 2 moms for the same calf question...I have no personal experience with that one and all I would have is an unproven opinion! Good luck with the rest of the calving!
 
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lifeofleisure

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Thanks
yep All 12 Heifers. Drs appointment got in way of checking. Doing the best to keep an eye on them with family when I am at work. 3 born this morning. Just checked before posting. You are right need more frequent checking. still not sure what happened to one I lost, but can't afford to not check.
So far Calfease bull is helping problems
 

Keren

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I dont know whether it is the done thing or not, but I've let two cows mother up to the same calf before, lucky little bugger just gets more milk. Just gotta watch that the cows dont start fighting each other for the calf.
 

randiliana

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It all depends, on what your plans are for the 'other' heifer. If you might want to put a different calf on her, then I would separate her as quick as possible. Around here, they raise THEIR OWN calf, which could be adopted or they go to town. I can't afford to feed 2 cows for 1 calf.

As for the afterbirth, it is fine, quite likely she will expell it completely within a couple hours. And contrary to wha Buckmaster said, it is NOT normal for a cow to take 2-3 days to clean. Most will do it within 12 hours. Much longer than that and it is considered a retained placenta, and that can cause problems, although it doesn't generally in beef cattle.

We run on a 4 hour schedule when checking cows. At night, if we have heifers, or it is cold we check right before dark (usually about 7-8 pm) then I go out at 11 pm, hubby checks at 3 am and I go out again at 7 am. During the day it is a little more irregular, but we try to stay around 4 hours. If it is really cold out we check every 2 hours.
 

Frankie

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lifeofleisure":3m73ghot said:
Arrived in calving area at 11 am to find 2 heifers with after birth beginning to be expelled. 1 live calf, one dead bull calf. Both normal size. Both heifers claiming live calf. Bull calf had been cleaned up on one side, mouth and nose clear. I filpped it over and steam rose off bottom side, no life could be deteched, and I tried to get it going but suspect I was just too late. 4-6 inches of hay on ground where these two decided to calve. Temp was 15 this morn.
Questions
I think I know real momma. Will calf eventually bond with her? after dark I cahecked on them and calf was laying between the 2 claiming her, and when they got up was suckling off whichever was closest. Do I take one away and place in with cows in other pasture?

On cow seems to still have alot of afterbirth (2.5 - 3' long) hanging out. Supposed to be cold 20's tonight and single digits tomorrow night. do I need to worry about this.

BTW while I have helped out around since a kid these are my first AI heifers all due this weekend the coldest of the year. I have them close to the barn and plenty of bedding in several arreas. 4 of 12 have calved so far since yesterday.

If this is a registerable calf, you need to be sure which cow is the momma before you register it. I'd get the calf off the heifer that's not her dam. Sometimes two year olds have a difficult time raising a calf and breeding back. IMO, if you plan to keep her, there's no sense in putting the added stress on her of raising someone else's calf.

As long as the calf is strong enough to nurse and the momma licks it dry pretty quick, they should be fine in the cold weather. Heifers are a bit tricky about the licking down part. Some of them do better than others. Calving difficulty can stress the calf, too, so he's less likely to get up and nurse. Which calving ease bull did you use? The Angus calves hitting the ground here have a nice thick coat of hair. The 20 mph north winds and 17 degree temp doesn't seem to bother them.
 
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lifeofleisure

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Thanks for the advice.

So far 10 of 12 Heifers that I purchased have calved. While Black is king at the local market, and almost all of my cows are black, This group had 2 red angus, and 3 black with some white on face, rest are black. All but one calf black and that one a beautiful baldy. The one that lost calf was one of 2 who did not take AI. AI was to 7AN178 BAR Ext Traveler 205 "The ‘King of Calving Ease’ "The Industry Benchmark for Super Cows with Super Udders"
of the 10 born 6 bull calves, and 4 heifer calves. That includes one lost bull calf. Ended up getting VET school to look at retained placenta. Wouldn't you Know she cleaned almost completely the day thay came. One left that was AI ed and one mopup bull left. Only had one that required some help getting it up to eat on a Zero degree day. Warmed it in cab of truck and got it standing 2 hours later was peppy as could be.

Cows not due till much later in spring. One calf born Christmas day from New bull I purchased last year and placed with dependable cow was a small calf but is growing leaps and bounds.

Turned out all that had calved in different pasture 3-5 days after calving.

Separtaed the two moms but calf found its way back through electric fence a couple of times. Finnaly just turned out second mom at advice of VET. Might help her with next calf.
 

hillsdown

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Sometimes two year olds have a difficult time raising a calf and breeding back. IMO, if you plan to keep her, there's no sense in putting the added stress on her of raising someone else's calf.


If her calf had lived she would be raising it would she not and if they are sharing the calf then the milk should be split 50/50 so wouldn't there be less stress on both heifers ??

I agree with your vet if they both have bonded to the calf then let them have it, but you will need to find out for sure who the real dam is fr your records and possible trace back if necessary.. You might need to do a DNA test on them.
 

cowman30

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I had a couple cows last year that had calves right near each other. Both calves were alive. One was a heifer and one was a bull. One was not smart enough to figure out that the heifer was hers and claimed the bull. The bull's mom also claimed him as hers so he was getting double milk. I took the heifer calf and gave it to a 4 h kid for a project. He still has her and she has done well. That bull calf weaned about 800 pounds off mothers milk and grass because he had two momas to nurse off of. He would nurse off one and then go find the other and nurse off her.
 
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does the calf show a preference? sounds like you have a couple good ones there, probably be easy to graft a dairy calf on the one that needs a calf. I bet the calf might tell you if you pay close attention
 

Katpau

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I had the same situation a few years back. I knew which cow was the mother as I had seen the second cow give birth to the dead calf. Cows were on pasture, I wasn't feeding and cull market was poor, so I left things alone, thinking if calf got more milk that would be a good thing. But it didn't work out that way. The cows started fighting over the calf. They would go in a circle with there heads under each other near the bags. One day I noticed at the end of these fight that they were sucking each other. Caught them doing this several times and I don't know how long it went on. Separated them when calf was about 3- 4 months and that calf weaned at 50 pounds less than average. Next spring they both had calves and I figured problem solved. But no, those two cows would start fighting and after about 5 minutes of pushing and circling they would end up sucking each other again. Cows were not a former mother daughter which might have explained it. Had to separate them again. I sold one when we weaned there calves that fall.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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If you have no disire to ship one of the dams, I would leave them together. But, with that decision, you do not want to ship one after a month or so, because a cow produces what is "asked" of her. If calf is getting 1/2 from one and 1/2 from the other, than both dams are not producing the highest volume that they "could" be producing. This will affect the rest of her production this year. Yes, once the calf started nursing just the one mom, her milk production will increase, but not to the max potential.
This will not affect next years production.
I (personnally) would NEVER recommend to anyone to get a dairy calf to splice on a cow.
You have to realize that no matter how healthy the "new" calf is, and how great a health program the farm where the calf came from; the "new" calf is carrying "bugs" that it is immune to but may be totally different than the "bugs" your newborn calves are getting immunity from their dam. When you put the two together they "swap" bugs & can easily start a health risk - causing different types of scours or respiratory problems. NEVER worth the risk. One "new" healthy calf can infect ALL your newborns.
 
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Maybe some would agree with that, but I suppose it depends on your situation. We do it routinely around here. The first year I got started I calved out 35 heifers, when the bank note was due it helped that instead of having dry cows I had some holstein steers to sell. I suppose if money is no object then old ways like this don't mean much to you, but they do to me, and many others. If you can get a good healthy looking dairy calf from a local source for $100 or less and get a heifer that shows good mothering instincts to take it you better do it, if you are in the business of making money or paying a bank note on a group of heifers. Keep the calf and its new mom isolated for a week or so and observe it for anything wrong. If it develops a little case of the scours, that's pretty easy to treat. The chances of getting some deadly disease from the dairy down the road, from a local source, is small. I doubt they have anything there thats not already on your place. Don't ever try this with a heifer that doesn't show strong mothering instincts. If you're interested in how to get the cow to take the calf as her own just ask. Rememeber we are talking about getting a bull calf from the local dairy, we are not shipping in a calf from another state.

This is just my opinion, it's how I operate. Never take one persons opinion, I am sure many would totally disagree. What I am talking about is nothing new though, but it is a pretty good trick.
 

novaman

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lifeofleisure":15rl8fcg said:
The one that lost calf was one of 2 who did not take AI. AI was to 7AN178 BAR Ext Traveler 205 "The ‘King of Calving Ease’ "The Industry Benchmark for Super Cows with Super Udders"
.
This has nothing to do with your questions, but how could the heifer who lost her calf be calving the same time as the others if she didn't take to the AI? She would have had to been bred the next cycle? Anyway, I would suggest finding another calf to put under the heifer who lost her original calf. Either that or I would move her. The reason being you need some return from her this year. That means either selling a calf raised by her (holsteins still sell but maybe not worth quite as much) or selling her. It costs way to much to raise a heifer up to calving age and then not getting a calf. Add to this an extra year to finally have her first live, salable calf and you better keep her around until she's at least 10 or 11 before she'll finally make you an appreciable amount of money. Just some things to think about.
 
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That's sage advice from novaman. It's too late this time probably but if you act fast you can get something where you had nothing when you do it. Before you try it look into how it is done, and be ready to treat the calf for scours that sometimes comes with changing the food source on a little calf. Sometimes you can even luck up and find a beef type calf to use, if someone you know had twins perhaps, or lost a cow but still has her calf. The best source of replacement calves is dairy farms though because they have bull calvesTall the time and have no use for them unless maybe they raise them for veal. The best way to get a cow to take a calf is to skin out the dead one and drape the new calf in its hide, at least you need a large part of the hide if you aren't good at skinning and use baling twine to tie it on real good. Once the calf has fed for a few days and the mothers milk starts coming out the other end in the form of feces, the bonding process is complete ans she will take it fully, since they know their calves by the smell. There is more to know if you havent done it before you should ask for more advice, lots of good folks here who would be happy to help. The lady who recommended never doing this has a valid point about biosecurity, but sometimes a slight risk is worth the end result, which is profit. I think sometimes people who don't have experience or the experience of others as a resource depend on all the stuff online you can read, and that's all well and good but nothing replaces experience. Don't select a calf that looks like it has problems, try and find a dairy that keeps these calves in a clean area and practices cleanliness, but don't be surprised when you get there if you have to drive through manure up to the wheel wells, a dairy can be a pretty nasty place, with the concentrated conditions and all. The main point to all this is that you can make the best of a bad situation, make profit when all you had was loss and some peole actually think doing things like this is fun (I do, except for the skinning part, which isn't that bad).
 

cowman30

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Never taken any heifers calving. They usually cannot fit through the tight spaces inside the cave.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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The best source of replacement calves is dairy farms though because they have bull calvesTall the time and have no use for them unless maybe they raise them for veal.
Yes, you're right - best place to find a baby bull calf pretty reasonable. Also, the best place to get a calf with Johnes.
By the way, I've been raising cow/calves longer than a lot of you on here have been born. Kinda old as dirt - LIKE DUN!!!
Sure, you can take a risk of bringing 1 calf on your farm DURING calving season. What do you have to lose? ALL YOUR NATURAL CALVES on your farm. I'm not worried about the purchased calf getting sick - it's the rest of the calves.
Yes, tons of people do it. And yes, if you have a dairy next door that your cows share close quarters with & you visit them & bring home their bugs, there's a chance your cows have the same bugs as your neighbor. Or, if you buy a lot of cattle out of sale barns, your herd has a good "cross-the-board" set of bugs. BUT, the potential of bringing an unknown bug onto your farm at calving time is a risk - a big risk.
Just ask a vet what he thinks of it - especially if you have a closed herd. If you ever had it happen, the cost of meds alone will kill your farms profits.
And, many people advise "skinning the dead calf", well I have grafted many calves (from my own herd) onto cows, and have NEVER done that. I have gathered up a wet placenta or embryonic fluid and rubbed it on the calf - pretty much the same difference. Even if you can get some of the cows urine & wipe on calf will work.
But, that's all beside the point. This poster is letting the calf have two moms and that's sure not all bad.
 
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lifeofleisure

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Glad someone enjoyed the caving mistake. I bought 12 Heifers Newyears eve to add to the 20 cows already bred for spring calves. Was told that all but 2 were AI, and that those were mopup bull. Seems that the Vst was not as good at prdicting as advertised. I did have 10 calve on time or within timeframe I expected, one a month later and one we are still witing for. The one we are waiting for was Mop-up bull bred. The AI was Bar EXT and we have had 7 Bull calves and 4 heifer calves. All doing great with the exception of the one bull calf we lost (leaving us with 6 Bull calves). Seems like 3 of them decided that the best day to be born was the coldest two days in Jan 0-5 degrees. None needed help being born but one bought froze to death.

Cows should start in about two weeks with new bull that we bought last yr. I had him with one of the best cows early to get him used to the place and she had hers Christmas day.

I appreciate all the comments and assure you I have looked at and evaluated several different courses of action I may take in the future. Right now I a have the newborns with all that have calved. The one who lost her calf, and had a problem cleaning seems to have dried up. maybe it all worked out. I believe that the calf she let milk her a while before real momma discouraged it might have helped her keep from Mastitis.

Again thanks for helping this newbie.
 

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