Monday, March 31, 2014

Adventures in Calving >< Ranch Life

Wow! What an afternoon.  What started out as a simple trip back to photograph some of the new calves, for blogging and emailing purposes, led to an entire afternoon of new and unexpected experiences.

Upon arriving back where the cows were I saw that there was a cow up the draw from me, that was laying down, and decided I would go see her after getting some pic's of a calf on the way.  As I got closer to her some anticipation rose inside of me since it looked like she was delivering a calf.  I have not yet seen a calf born (all of our cows really like to seclude themselves)  so was a little excited.  My excitement soon turned to a sinking feeling though as I reached the heifer and realized that the calf was dead.  Had been dead for some time too, by the looks of it.  The calf's head and one leg, almost up to it's shoulder was out.   The heifer was still having contractions, and seemed in agony.  Even though I knew the other leg of her calf needed to somehow get pulled out before the calf could be pulled, went up to the house for help.  

I accompanied Dad, and some of the other kids back to the heifer.  After a couple of minutes I realized there was nothing I could do, so went back up to the house, and stayed there with the little kids so mom could go back.  After a while, dad called me and told me to call a vet or some friends.  Knowing there isn't a desirable vet nearby, I called Annie, one of our friends, who ended up coming over with her brother Matthew. 

Dad was able to get the other leg out and after unsuccessfully pulling, it was realized that not only were the calf's hips swollen, increasing the difficult situation, but the spine was broken as well.  The only thing keeping the front of the body attached to the back of the body was the skin.

I will spare you all the other tedious, gory, details (I don't imagine ya'll want to hear them all??) and will just say that around 3 1/2 hours after finding her, the calf was pulled, the placenta was removed by Annie, and the heifer was partly sew up as a safeguard in case of her uterus prolapsing. 

Another 1 - 1 1/2 hours was spent trying to get her on her feet to check her hips and pelvis, and situating her for the night, and cleaning up the mess.  About 5 hours after I found her, and from the help of some amazing friends, we made our way back to the house and were able to eat a late dinner.    

I will say it again "What an afternoon."

Did your day consist of anything unexpected or out of the ordinary? 



  1. Spring is both the best and worst time when you're raising animals. That's too bad about the calf. I hope the cow will be okay!
    Also, this is why I would never want to raise cows. They're so much bigger than my sheep, and there's no way I could handle a difficult birth without help. :)

  2. Poor cow! =( Carinna and I have gotten to pull two calves at my granny and granddads farm. pretty amazing. What do ya'll think happened to the calf? Life is always adventurous on a farm.. eh?

    1. Yes, it is pretty amazing! Well, when I found the calf, it had already been out for some time, we are thinking probably since the evening before. Something, coyotes probably, had even come and chewed on it a bit and the mom had bite marks on her as well. It was pretty nasty!
      If I hadn't gone out to take pictures, we may not have found her until she was dead as well. She was way up in a draw toward the back of our property. Thank the Lord we did find her though... Hopefully we will be able to save her. She still hasn't stood up yet and we are having to use the tractor and a "cow sling" to lift her off of the ground to relieve the pressure off of her legs. We are thinking she may have permanent nerve damage. : (

  3. Wow...that sounds like quite the afternoon for sure! Carinna


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