cows calving -- for newbies -- pictures
This black first-calf heifer took about 45 minutes, maybe a bit more from start to finish.
Tail extended, she's thinking about it...
Laying down, front feet showing but enclosed in the sac...
Up and sac has broken over the hooves...
There's the nose...
All out... too fast to catch on camera
Cleaning him off and he's up on his feet now...
Looking for a drink, he's headed in the right direction
Whew, that was a long day!
And another series, courtesy of JerseyLily:
jersey lilly wrote:Thought those of you that are new at this might like photos of a cow birthin a baby. I caught this one last year, start to finish. Took all of about 30 minutes.
Just gettin started when I pulled up.
Walkin and doin circles.
Lay down, get up, lay back down. I see one foot.
Crossed the slough, I see two feet!!
there's a head.....
Here we go
Uhg....I just got here mom, I can't be that dirty.
There's a few points that need to be emphasized here:
1) If the cow is in active labor for much more than an hour -- straining, no calf, or feet showing but no more progress -- and the cow hasn't been disturbed (hard to make progress when you're constantly being checked on!) you need a vet or an experienced friend/neighbor/mentor to come check on and probably pull the calf.
2) If the back feet are showing the calf needs to be pulled ASAP. The calf only has about 4 minutes from the time the cord is broken until he dies when in a backwards presentation, and most cows can't spit the calf out that quickly.
3) If only one foot is showing, one foot plus a nose, both feet but no head, head but no feet, etc etc... vet needs to be called pronto.
4) Calf needs colostrum preferably within 2 hours, definitely within 12 hours, and after 24 hours if the calf hasn't had colostrum, you've got a tough battle ahead to keep the lil bugger alive. If you bottle feed it, give a half gallon ASAP after birth, and another half gallon 12 hours later.
Cows prior to calving (pics taken 12-24 hours before):
Older dairy cow -- note udder and teats are full and tight
Another older dairy cow -- note the full udder
Same cow -- note the sunken area around tail and hips, also the slab-sided appearance (esp on right side) signifying the calf has dropped into position for birth
First calf dairy/beef cross heifer -- note the edema on her underline; some have it, some don't, it's normal and will go away in time
same heifer from the rear
Beef heifer before calving -- note mucus and "floppy" vulva
Dairy influenced cows usually show more signs before calving and they'll have a bigger udder and softer vulva before calving than a beef cow will, generally. A dairy cow usually takes between 7 and 18 days from the time she starts bagging up until she calves. A beef cow may be much shorter. And a heifer, dairy or beef, doesn't follow any of the rules.
If the beef folks have some more pics of beef animals that'd be appreciated...