Wednesday two of our three first time heifers had their calves. One was Jezzy. She is my favorite and I can almost call her my pet. Baby Girl was the other one. She is the one Hubby was slightly worried about. He thought she would have her calf about a week ago. He thought maybe he just had the date wrong. She finally went into labor Wednesday morning. Jezzy was also starting about the same time. We had shut them up in an area where we could keep a closer eye on them. Hubby and I went out to watch and see if they were going to have trouble. He watched Baby Girl, and I watched Jezzy. I was hoping to get to see Jezzy’s calf born. I never realized how much laying down and getting up they did. Hubby realized at some point that Baby Girl was taking too long, so he called our trusty friend to come see what he thought. When he got here he said the calf would have to be pulled. I have heard that is a very hard process. On humans and cows alike. I had never seen it done, but this time I was able to get up close and personal with the process. I even had to help a little, so I did see a calf born, but it was a very stressful time for all involved and I really felt for poor Baby Girl.
It was a very hard pull for Baby Girl. If she had cooperated and let us try and get her into the pen and into a head gate, she might not have had such a hard time. As we were trying to get her along the fence line, she found a spot where the barbed wire was loose and before anyone could stop her, she shoved through it into the pasture. She headed right for the other cows and then into the trees. By the time we got to where she was, she was down again and our friend got a rope and roped her. Hubby got her snugged up to a tree and our friend got everything ready. Our friend was giving out orders and we were just following them. Hubby was. I just was kind of standing around waiting in case I was needed. Our friend finally got the chain on the calves front legs and said Baby Girl would go down as he started to pull, hopefully in the right direction away from the tree. She didn’t. She went down next to the tree at the wrong angle, but there wasn’t anything we could do at that point. I guess. It was a close space and I was to watch for contractions so tension could be put on the chains. It took quite a bit to get the calf out and I also had to help get the head clear of the vulva. We finally got the calf out and it was a big calf. Too big for a first time heifer. It was alive and poor Baby Girl tore a little and couldn’t get up. We pulled the calf up to her and let her see it.
Baby Girl was partially paralyzed I guess. She couldn’t get up, so we had to get the tractor and drag her out of the trees. Part of the problem was we have had about 14 inches of rain since about May 2 or 3rd and it is terribly muddy. We got her into the sun and on a little “dryer” ground. We got the calf up to a spot where he wouldn’t get trampled as Baby Girl tried to get up. She tried very hard but never was able to get up. She got shifted around some but never quite made it. The calf never got up either. He was cold from the mud, and stressed from the pull I think. We got him into a sunny spot and rubbed his legs and our friend and his wife brought over some colostrum for him. It was supposed to rain that night and we were worried about leaving him out in the rain since mamma couldn’t take care of him. We fed him twice with colostrum and took him up to the garage for the night. Not everyday you have a newborn calf in your garage.
He had tried to get up, but couldn’t quite make it. Our friend suggested getting him over a straw bale and work on his legs. We tried it but it didn’t seem to make much difference. We all thought he was going to make it and get up the next day. Even our friend was very sure he would make it. About 9:25pm or so, hubby went out to check on the calf before turning in. He came in and said he thought the calf was dying. By the time I got out of my chair and out to the garage, he was gone. Hubby was on the phone with the vet, but there was nothing else to do. The vet said that lots of times a hard pull with a big calf can cause internal injuries. As for Baby Girl, he said there was a shot to give her that would help her to get up and around.
The next morning while Hubby went to get the shot from the vet, our friend stopped by to see how the baby was doing. I told him he died about 9:30. He looked very surprised and then about as sad as I felt. We all, especially the men, had worked so hard to safe the big boy. Of course I am bad about doing the what if, or if only thing. He was telling me there wasn’t much else we could do. We did what we could. I told him about the shot the vet told us about and Hubby got home shortly after that to talk with him.
Son, I and Hubby gathered up the calf and headed out to check on Baby Girl and find a brush pile to cremate the calf on. We don’t have a back hoe, and even if we did, it was way to muddy to try and dig a hole. So to keep anything from sniffing around and finding the calf, and maybe the other surviving calves, we decided that was the best way to dispose of him. With a can of gasoline and diesel fuel, we managed to get the deed done. When the fire took off, that is when I lost it and started to cry. I felt so bad for momma, the calf and Oprah’s calf. Two calves in the same week. One a week and one day old. The other only about 9 hours old. We still have four calves to come. One is from a first time calver. I would appreciate any prayers for safe arrivals and good strong, small calves.
If anyone is brave enough, and curious, here is a link to a youtube video of a calf being pulled. It might be a little traumatic for anyone under 13 if they have never been on a farm.
Now for the good news. Jezzy had her calf without any trouble. Except for the fact that she had it on a terrace by the trail and had her head down hill a little so she had a bit of trouble getting up at first. With a little help from us she got up and bonded with her little boy. And as of today Baby Girl finally has been up some. Not for long periods of time, but a little. Hopefully by tomorrow she will stay up.
Jezzy and her bull calf and our friend.
Stay Safe and God Bless!