Why is it Always....

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randiliana

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The special cows that have problems?

Dora, our daughters 4H heifer from last year calved today, the last heifer to calve to boot. We have not had any real big problems calving heifers this year, so really didn't expect anything major with Dora either. In fact, we have had several calves from our heifers out of the Hereford bull (that it turns out bred her) and I don't think we touched any of them. This morning she was finally wandering around with a kink in her tail, checking out all the other calves, and simply acting uncomfortable. Was not the greatest day for her to calve, we had a 1000 things going on around the corral, just to keep her unsettled. Semen Testing and sorting the replacement heifers from the cows. Just too much activity for her to really settle.

Well, about 3:30 pm she finally really went into labour (about the time we were finishing up with sorting). We gave her another hour, and she had absolutely NOTHING showing. I said to DH that maybe we had better check her out. Get her in and examine her, and what a pair of feet these ones are. So we get the chains on and try pulling by hand, no such luck, this one is more of a pull than we can do by hand. So we got the puller on, the first time we have used the puller when we were both around, this year. And for a while, I really wondered if we were going to be able to pull him or if it was going to be a trip to the vet. But finally things started to come. It was a long slow pull, but we got him, alive. She got right up and started mothering him up, a really good mama. But he wasn't so quick to get up. I'm glad we didn't wait to check her out, or we might have lost him. As of 8 pm, he hadn't been on his feet. He will try, but I think his front feet are either sore (very possible) or possibly have contracted tendons. So I milked her out and he sucked down 2 litres of colostrum, if he hadn't sucked I would have been a little more worried about him.

I expect he will weigh over 110 lbs, a little larger than we like to have out of our heifers, on the other hand, I doubt we will ever have to help her have a calf again. This was a rather strange one, cause we own her Mama, 2 sisters and 2 out of her sisters, and I don't think we have ever touched any of them. Proof that stuff happens, even when you know the genetics......
 

hillsdown

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The good thing is that he is out alive and mom wants him, also that you were able to milk her out by hand, she must be a really calm and gentle heifer (one good thing about 4h heifers).

I think he sounds like fighter and will be up and walking in no time..

Keep us posted on how the big guy is doing, and I totally agree if she can have this one she should have no problem next year..Thank goodness I did not have to assist a single beef heifer this year whether she was AI'd or PE exposed because you just never know ...
 
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randiliana

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hillsdown":3ciqx36o said:
The good thing is that he is out alive and mom wants him, also that you were able to milk her out by hand, she must be a really calm and gentle heifer (one good thing about 4h heifers).

I think he sounds like fighter and will be up and walking in no time..

Keep us posted on how the big guy is doing, and I totally agree if she can have this one she should have no problem next year..Thank goodness I did not have to assist a single beef heifer this year whether she was AI'd or PE exposed because you just never know ...

Oh, I had to tie her leg back to milk her. She's just a little excited right now, figuring out all this mothering stuff, and dealing with us dealing with her baby. But, yes, she is really quiet, our 6 year old daughter had her for 4H last year and was able to handle her with just a little help from us. It is a relief to have her done, I was so worried that she would go into labour when we weren't around and being that she's 'special' we'd end up losing either her calf, or worse, her.

A couple pics of her last year in 4H


View attachment 1
 

Alberta farmer

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randiliana: Not sure why you would tie a leg back? Seems kind of dangerous if she throws herself.
How about a flank rope. Milked lots of cows over the years and if you flank them up tight they can't kick you.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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I use the flank method also.
Randi - you're right - it's always the special ones, especially the kids animals. Never fails.
When you put the chains on, do you double hitch them? One half hitch below the dewclaw & one above? It does take some of the stess off their feet when you do that.
 
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randiliana

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Alberta farmer":3w4v6nxb said:
randiliana: Not sure why you would tie a leg back? Seems kind of dangerous if she throws herself.
How about a flank rope. Milked lots of cows over the years and if you flank them up tight they can't kick you.

We always tie a leg back when milking. Just tie it far enough that she can't bring it forward and kick you, but not so far that her leg is off the ground. Never had one throw herself yet, and we have had some real fighters. Can't see how her throwing herself would be a big deal, gotta stand back while they figure out that that leg is restrained anyways, and they are in a selfcatching head gate so they can't choke themselves if they go down.
 
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randiliana

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":1hnl4b5x said:
I use the flank method also.
Randi - you're right - it's always the special ones, especially the kids animals. Never fails.
When you put the chains on, do you double hitch them? One half hitch below the dewclaw & one above? It does take some of the stess off their feet when you do that.

Depends on the pull, not always if it just a hand pull. If we are using the puller we always half hitch them. Shortens up the chains too, which helps with a really big, long calf. You don't run out of puller either.
 
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randiliana

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Update,

The calf was up and going this morning. Had mama sucked out, so that is a relief. He weighed in at 112 lbs, and dwarfed one of the 3 week old twins on the milk cow. A big boy, but it seems that things will all work out now.
 

bigbull338

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congrats on safely getting that big boy pulled an fed.so glad to hear he is on his feet an sucking momma this morning.
 

Avalon

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Our only dead calf this year was from one of the kids heifers this year also. She's such a pet. I almost hated calling my son tell tell him we did not catch her in time.
 
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randiliana

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Thanks, BB.

And definitely THANKS to you too Jeanne. They are pretty good kids.

Avalon, that really, really sucks :( .


Just to add a little more drama to the story, the calf came down with ecoli scours yesterday. DH called me at work (at the stockyards) to ask how much Nuflor to give him. He was down and out then, less than 24 hours after birth, he'd just gotten up and going and then this hit him. Well, 1 Sustain III, 6 cc Nuflor and a couple doses of electrolytes, and he's up and going again. Only the second one to come down with this, this year, and the 3rd in about 4 or 5 years.
 

Jeanne - Simme Valley

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Figures!!! Of course, if the bug is around - it will definately hit first calf heifers calves and dystocia calves - so, he was a double whammy calf.
I think (not sure if I ever read this) that a long labor causes the colostrum to lose "quality". But, I think a heifers colostrum (even after hard calving) is more valuable than the normal OTC powder colostrum.
Anyone got thoughts on this?
 
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randiliana

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Jeanne - Simme Valley":2vwcvr12 said:
Figures!!! Of course, if the bug is around - it will definately hit first calf heifers calves and dystocia calves - so, he was a double whammy calf.
I think (not sure if I ever read this) that a long labor causes the colostrum to lose "quality". But, I think a heifers colostrum (even after hard calving) is more valuable than the normal OTC powder colostrum.
Anyone got thoughts on this?

He's doing well now. That is quite a bug to deal with. It will lay them out flat in just a few hours, but if you catch it quick they come back from it just as quickly.

Our other calf to come down with it this year was an unassisted calf out of an 8 year old cow. He was small for her, so I doubt that she had a long labour. Most of the other calves we have had come down with ecoli, have been out of cows, who should have had 'good' colostrum. We don't have many that come down with it, most years we don't have any.

I would go with you on the long labour thing, Jeannne. That article I posted earlier this spring, said that the quality of the colostrum declined the longer it was after birth, 33% by 12 hours I think. It is pretty hard to guess just how the cow's body works and when the zero hour is, especially in a prolonged labour.

I would also agree that a heifers colostrum would be better than OTC, especially if she is one raised on the farm. I suppose, that supplementing a heifer's calf, especially one that had a hard birth, with colostrum would not be a bad idea. Best would be colostrum from a cow/s on the farm, but OTC probably would not be terrible either.
 

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