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  #1  
Old 06/07/06, 08:35 AM
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Early Calving Signs

Having raised dairy goats I know signs of labor vary with individual, but I'm looking for general signs for my Jersey. She is due in July - August, not sure of the exact date. Today she was getting up and lying down and getting up.... and I realized that I know what to look for when calving is closer but I don't know what to look for a little earlier. Can you all share your experiences with calving? Do some cows show signs as ealry as a month ahead of time? Some of my goats start swelling andhaving a discharge 4 weeks ahead of schedule and one of my Alpines bags up 5 weeks ahead. Some don't shwoany signs until the day they freshen. Karma isn't really big in the belly yet, but she is bigger than normal. She's dried up now and her udder is loose.

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Old 06/07/06, 01:59 PM
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Is your Jersey a heifer or experienced cow? In my experiece heifers tend to show signs of getting ready to have a calf long before they actually pop one out. We've put heifers in the barn that are all bagged up and have had them stand there for as long as two months waiting for them to have a calf. I don't think I have ever had a heifer freshen without bagging up first. Old cows on the other hand can be tricky. Some will bag up a few weeks before they freshen, leak milk, have discharge, and hold off on having a calf. Others will suprize you by dropping a calf and then bagging up. These are the signs in general that I look for:

1. Is her udder filling out and how much? Is the whole thing tight?
2. Is her vulva swollen and loose? Any discharge?
3. Is she leaking milk?
4. Has the calf changed position? The cow will go from having a big round pregnant belly to looking almost not pregnant at all. This just means that the calf has started moving up into the birth canal.
5. Is she restless? Getting up and down alot or circleing.
6. Is she seperating herself from the herd?
7. Is she holding her tail up in the air alot?

The further you go down the list or the more symptoms your cow has the closer you are to having a baby calf to be proud of.

Heather

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Old 06/07/06, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Up North
Is your Jersey a heifer or experienced cow? In my experiece heifers tend to show signs of getting ready to have a calf long before they actually pop one out. We've put heifers in the barn that are all bagged up and have had them stand there for as long as two months waiting for them to have a calf. I don't think I have ever had a heifer freshen without bagging up first. Old cows on the other hand can be tricky. Some will bag up a few weeks before they freshen, leak milk, have discharge, and hold off on having a calf. Others will suprize you by dropping a calf and then bagging up. These are the signs in general that I look for:

1. Is her udder filling out and how much? Is the whole thing tight?
2. Is her vulva swollen and loose? Any discharge?
3. Is she leaking milk?
4. Has the calf changed position? The cow will go from having a big round pregnant belly to looking almost not pregnant at all. This just means that the calf has started moving up into the birth canal.
5. Is she restless? Getting up and down alot or circleing.
6. Is she seperating herself from the herd?
7. Is she holding her tail up in the air alot?

The further you go down the list or the more symptoms your cow has the closer you are to having a baby calf to be proud of.

Heather
That pretty much covers it all;this couple is SO doggone smart!!!
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Old 06/07/06, 02:20 PM
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Thank you Heather, This will be Karma's second calf. She is getting up and lying down a lot which I recognized from my goats pre-freshening stage She's holding up her tail but her ligaments don't appear to be loose and she has been walking off into the thickest thicket to hang out at for the past week. (I do know from this forum that she'll calve in the thickest part of the thicket). But she doesn't look all that "pregnant" to me right now I am just wanting to be careful and try to recognize the signs as they arrive. Sure appreciate your time. Thanks

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Old 06/07/06, 02:32 PM
 
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To me, a cow that is getting up and lying down every couple minutes and has a tail sticking out for a period of time, is in active labor. I've never seen them do that unless birth is very close.

If she keeps doing that for very long, I'd get her in a check to be sure that you don't have a mis-presented calf trying to be born.

Again, I say if she is getting up and down every couple minutes...not every couple hours.

Jena

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Old 06/07/06, 04:08 PM
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Our 2 cows just calved recently after being stared at intensively for months because we also weren't sure on the dates. One was on her 3rd calf and the other was a heifer. The heifer seemed really uncomfortable for about the last month. She also would lay down and get up a lot like she just couldn't find a comfortable position. She had a big calf that we had to help with. The list of signs above is excellant. Our heifer was bagged up for a month before delivery and so was our cow. They both had gunky back ends on and off over the last month too. The heifer didn't leak anything for a day or 2 before until her water broke and she went into labor. Her ligaments seemed to loosen up a couple of days before the birth. Her tail stuck straight out and upwards when she in labor. And she was up and down about every 3-5 minutes.
I sympathise with the waiting, I almost took the heifer to the Vet I was so concerned. She had the calf the day before she was supposed to go.

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Old 06/07/06, 05:48 PM
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Okay I feel better informed thank you Patt. Jena, the getting up and lying down was every few minutes for a period this morning which got me concerned to ask the questions. Then it was every few minutes for a period this afternoon but now she is just whiny I guess she's uncomfortable I am seeing her belly change shapes throughout the past two days and it has sunk down some to where her spine and hips are more visible. My bull was with her before October but he was young and I neversaw anything but Karma's maternalness kick in for him. It wasn't until October that she was seen to breed.

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