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Cattle For Those Who Like To Have A Cow.

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  • 1 Post By Jennifer L.
  • 1 Post By G. Seddon
  • 1 Post By ugabulldog

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Old 02/15/17, 04:22 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 158
birthing assist question

I am getting ready for first calving season with heifers, trying to be prepared. One question I have is if cow is standing, tied up with rope and halter, will she not kick you when you are behind her trying to assist? Is she too preoccupied with birthing?
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Old 02/15/17, 04:34 PM
Jennifer L.'s Avatar  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: New York bordering Ontario
Posts: 4,886
Probably won't kick, but you generally can't have her tied where she can swing her hind quarters around because she won't let you work on her if she can get away. Once the calf is really in birth canal (you can see/feel feet) you're pretty much good to go, because she'll be too preoccupied with the birth process.

Every cow is different, though. Some won't mind, some take serious exception and will try and get away one way or another. Hopefully you won't have to do anything. But you are smart to have a capture area ready in case you need it. Good luck.
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-Northern NYS
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Old 02/15/17, 04:44 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Virginia
Posts: 80
You never know what a animal will do... 2nd question I have is why tie her up? 3rd Why do you assume she will need help ? A lot of worry with calving comes from not using LBW bulls I calf out atleast 20+ heifers yearly with no issues for the most part. I keep them where i can watch them and if not actively birthing i intervene after a half hour or so or if I see immediate problems.. Also have a good calf jack on hand
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Old 02/15/17, 08:39 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Location: VA
Posts: 1,961
ugabulldog, you may have no problems whatsoever, but it's always a good idea to be on the alert for what to expect. Here's an article for you (you can find others by googling "signs of imminent calving":

Keep your heifer in a smaller enclosure (with a buddy if she has one, as well as hay, water, shelter if needed) when you believe she's thinking about going into labor. That way you won't have to wander over a 5-acre pasture in the dark of night looking for her and/or a new calf. Have your vet's cell number on hand in case you need to call for assistance, and familiarize yourself with the circumstances that might require assistance.

Most of the time Mother Nature takes care of things, but it can be an unsettling experience if you are new to it. Heather Smith Thomas's book "Essential Guide to Calving" is a good thing to get as a reference.
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Old 02/16/17, 02:48 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Northern Michigan (U.P.)
Posts: 11,896
Great that you are planning ahead. Be sure you aren't rushing the process. Sometimes helpfulness is eagerness and more harm than help is the result.

A Texas range cow, tied in a barn for calving is more likely to kick than the bottle raised heifer you've been hand feeding in your back yard.

There is a learning curve to raising calves, but I'll assume you are experienced after the calf is born.

I would give the heifer an injection of Bo-Se, an important mineral that aids tendon and muscle strength, essential during a difficult birth and helping a newborn to stand and nurse.

Calving difficulties often relate to specific breeds and crossing with the wrong bull will often bring tragedy to your farm.

How many heifers will be calving? What is their breed and what is the bull's breed?

You know to pull towards the heifer's hind feet, not straight out? You have rope? Cable come-along? You know how to reach in and get both feet into position next to the calf's head? Protect the birth cannel from your fingernails and the calf's hooves?
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Old 02/16/17, 03:14 PM
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 864
As long as you used a Low Birth Weight bull you should be fine. I agree with the others: make sure you know the signs of problems, keep the heifers in a smaller area, and have your vet's number handy. We raised all of our heifers and over the years I only had to help with one. Fortunately, she was one I bottle raised so she was more then comfortable with me assisting. Enjoy watching the process. It was always my favorite time on the farm....seeing all of the new life!
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Old 02/16/17, 05:07 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 158
thanks for all the help, resources, and questions to think about. I do have a calf jack, OB lube, rubber sleeves. These are black angus heifers, borrowed a neighbors reg angus bull, said he had LBW but never looked at the numbers myself. Yes, hopefully I won't need to help and won't help too soon, reading about cervix being fully dilated etc... 4 Heifers bred at 1.5 yr, not bottle fed but are used to me from feeding grain regularly.
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