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Position of an Unborn Calf

randiliana

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Got a question here, we have a heifer that has been acting off all day, she is very close to calving. No obvious signs for the day, just a little off, but tonight she has been restless with her tail up off and on, and way more nervous than usual. So of course I checked her out at 8pm. At that time she was only dialated enough for 1 finger, ok, figured she is just starting, no biggie. Checked on her at 11:30 pm, this time, she has her tail up pretty good, and you can see her strain off and on. Now I am starting to wonder what is going on with her. So checked her out again, and still not dialated any more than before. This time we checked her rectally afterwards, and all I can feel is the head (don't worry, I know what I'm doing). Can't feel the feet at all. Now I am fairly concerned that this calf is coming wrong, I was pretty sure that the feet should be right up there with the head at this time, and what I am feeling gives me the impression that this calf is coming head first with the feet/legs laid back under its body. I'm wondering if she isn't in false labour, we have had them do all this before, ended up hauling one to the vet, only to have him tell us that she wasn't calving.

So, anyone know how far in advance the calf gets into position? At this point would you be concerned about this heifer or not?

Of course, I am wanting to leave for tomorrow afternoon, and no-one will be around here for about 4-6 hours so she will probably go right into labour at about the time I want to leave, and I will be stuck here.
 

angie1

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OK ~ I need to confirm this and I will but I believe the calf gets into position in the last six hours of labor, maybe even the last 2 hours. Prior to that the calf is on its back. Someone else will have to confirm ~ I am stuck in the controol room. Sorry.
 

randiliana

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angie":307ccbuj said:
OK ~ I need to confirm this and I will but I believe the calf gets into position in the last six hours of labor, maybe even the last 2 hours. Prior to that the calf is on its back. Someone else will have to confirm ~ I am stuck in the controol room. Sorry.

Well, I am pretty sure that this calf is on his belly now. The poll of his head was up by her backbone. What I am really worried about is that both front legs are going to be back, and I am thinking that at this point they should be up with the head.

I have been searching the net for info, but that seems to be the hardest info to find, when the calf moves into position. I've never really worried about it before, she has either been in labour or, she hasn't. This heifer has me concerned though.

Another thought, doesn't the calf help to trigger labour when his feet get into position, they sort of trigger the cow to dialate more rapidly? I think I read that somewhere, of course, as before, I never really concerned myself with that idea, cause we have only run into this sort of situation once and it was false labour.

I don't know maybe I am more concerned than I should be, but this heifer is just giving me bad vibes.
 

dun

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When the calf rotates to the delivery positiuon the feet go along with the rest of the body. The head doesn;t get there ahead of the feet and the feet don;t get there ahead of the head. The bag of waters starts the dilation process, the calves head and feet continue it. If the calves head or feet are in position it will still get them dilating. The only time I know of that the calf doesn;t help get the ball rolling is in a true breech
 

dun

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ga. prime":ko6vilgc said:
angie":ko6vilgc said:
OK ~ I am stuck in the control room
Is that the central control room? Can I call somebody to get you outta there?

In angries case I think it's the same as "I've fallen and I can;t get up!"
 

randiliana

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dun":1lsp2vjp said:
When the calf rotates to the delivery positiuon the feet go along with the rest of the body. The head doesn;t get there ahead of the feet and the feet don;t get there ahead of the head. The bag of waters starts the dilation process, the calves head and feet continue it. If the calves head or feet are in position it will still get them dilating. The only time I know of that the calf doesn;t help get the ball rolling is in a true breech


Thank you Dun. That is what I was thinking, that if the head was in place, so should the rest of the calf. I hope I missed the feet there, but, I don't think I did. So, I guess, I will watch her closely and plan to intervene if things aren't looking right. I realize that the water bag started it, but was pretty sure that the calf's feet/head had something to do with it too.

Upside down calves often don't get anything going. Usually nothing enters the birth canal with them either.

She still hasn't calved, although when I went into the barn this morning, I though she had, she has no gut to speak of anymore. I expect she shall calve this morning, about the time I am wanting to leave :roll: , and therefore, I will get to stay home.

And, Angie, thank you for your response last night. I am now awake enough to remember what I didn't say last night.
 

randiliana

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dun":1tt77z1n said:
randiliana":1tt77z1n said:
she has no gut to speak of anymore.
Then the calf has completely rotated into position

Yep. Not that she was ever one of those big round cows, but she's about as far away as you can get from that now.

Another reason to expect her to calve shortly.
 

randiliana

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Thank you guys for your replies. I WILL let you know what happens when she calves. I let her out of the barn at 6 am, and she wasn't doing anything. It is 0 F out there, so I expect she should be in labour about now.
 

KNERSIE

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I have palpated quite a few late third term cows and more often than not you can feel the front feet and the head in the "almost ready" position.
 

cah

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we lost one to the head coming first last night. The mother never fromed a bag or anything... just had a little blood discharge and then nothing and then all of a sudden she started pushing, the vet came out and said she would have had to be in labor 6-8 hours before but like I said she was doing nothing acting normal. The vet pulled the calf it was coming head first and the feet were way behind... it was a nice little bull calve. This is the part of calving I hate. I hope you have better luck than us.
 

randiliana

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Well, so far no calf, she is back to acting normal. Still watching her, and she is bagging more than she was. She's due in a couple days.
 

randiliana

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Well, she had a nice heifer calf at about 9am this morning. No sign that she was calving at 7:30, and a baby by 9:00. So I guess I was worried over nothing. Proof, that the calf, or some part of the calf (or water bag) are the only 'real' indicators that they are really into calving.....
 

jcarkie

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glad everything went well, just want to let you know i really enjoy your pictures. send one of the baby.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Don't you just hate those that "sorta" show signs of going into labor. Then ---- nothing. What to do?? It's always frustrating. Worse thing to do is intervere too soon - but wait too long and -- dead calf.
Good call. Glad everything went well. HEIFER even!! wahoo!
 

randiliana

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":2px10yte said:
Don't you just hate those that "sorta" show signs of going into labor. Then ---- nothing. What to do?? It's always frustrating. Worse thing to do is intervere too soon - but wait too long and -- dead calf.
Good call. Glad everything went well. HEIFER even!! wahoo!

Oh, those ones just drive me nuts. One good reason to check things out. Worst thing that will happen is that she isn't dialated and you have to wait and watch. As long as they are acting normal otherwise, then it becomes a waiting game. I know, I tend to worry too much, and sometimes want to interfere too soon too. But, we've lost a few because we did wait too long as well. It is a pretty fine line to walk, give them enough, but not so much as to lose the calf. Worst is when you go out on your 4 hour check, see feet, but have no idea if she just started or if she's been at it for 3 1/2 hours....

I am happy about this calf being a heifer. It will be the first greatgrand daughter of one of my favorite cows. It was actually kinda funny, 143 and 144 (false labour) both calved the same day, they both are grand daughters of that cow, different dams though.

Speaking of losing them, we have done that already too. Was a stillborn. Not sure what exactly happened, we gave her about a half hour, she hadn't progressed (one of those when did she start deals) so we decided to pull. Was dead when we got it out. Wasn't a big calf either, she should have had it by herself, but the front legs weren't extended properly. Thinking that maybe the calf was dead either before or shortly after labour started. One of those things, but I hate it when they happen.

Jcarkie, don't worry, the photos will come, just have been too busy the last few days, and too cold. Its warming up nicely now, so maybe this afternoon or tomorrow.
 
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