Our new baby is here!!!!!

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Christina R., Aug 15, 2004.

  1. Christina R.

    Christina R. Well-Known Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Northern Arizona
    I've had a holstein heifer since she was 5 weeks old. Saturday morning at 12:38 (funny how they consider the middle of the night morning), my gal had a lil' heifer. We had her bred with a beautiful dexter for two reasons, ease of birth and they are establishing hybrid "mini holsteins" by breeding smaller holstein heifers with dexters.

    I think her name will be Evalina. She has a patch on her forehead and beautiful white markings on her legs and a white belly. Momma aand her are doing great, but my ebing a novice sure showed up.

    The birth was fine, great position, had a neighbor over to make sure things looked like they should. When the legs and nose were out for about 6 strong pushes, he decided to grab the legs and guide them out on the next contraction.

    Colostrum got into her between the first and second hour. If I had left things well enough alone, she probably would have found and grasped onto the teat easier than me trying to hold her mouth on it and keeping it there while she sucked. She had a strong sucking reflex within 15 minutes, but when I tried guiding her to the teat, I think she thought my finger was what she wanted, so I had to untrain that real quick.

    I also learned that things take time. I thought her after birth had come out during the night and I had just missed her eating it (based on me seeing a portion of the afterbirth coming out and laying on her tail at 3:30 am), so when I started seeing something coming out at am with the red cotyledons on them I assumed the worse and thought she was prolapsing her uterus. Meanwhile the baby hadn't eated since 5:30 and was sleeping for about 4 hours straight, so I interfered there by getting the baby up guiding it uncooperatively to a teat it wouldn't take, milked out colostrum myself and fed it in the bottle twice. The baby would go back to sleep for what seemed like forever after that. 11:00 the vet could finally make it over, and lo and behold the "prolapsed uterus" came totally out and plopped seperately onto the ground. Guess she hadn't shed her afterbirth and the book's pictures I was looking at should have had a picture of afterbirth for newbies like me. Good thing my vet loves me. The cow that hadn't been drinking for about 18 hours, started drinking up a storm, the baby that was sleeping (like I obviously should have been), was up in a minute and drinking like no tomorrow (she knew where those teats were, she just wanted to rest) and the owner of these 2 beautiful gals learned in spite of all the problem I read on message boards it doesn't necessaily mean they are happening to me... next time relax more and leave well enough alone. I'm so glad today will be day 2 and I can enjoy everything more.

    Okay now for questions. We are going to milk in the mornings only and keep the baby with the mom all day. I was going to "milk" the mom this am to help relieve some of her bag even though it is colostrum. Is that ok or am I doing more than I need to and should wait until tomorrow (Monday morning).

    Sorry this is such a long post, but maybe it will help some other green person and give all you old timers a good laugh (and maybe even a memory or two of your 1st calving?!)
  2. OD

    OD Well-Known Member

    May 25, 2004
    It's been a long time since I had any "holstien experience", but I always milk some from my Jersey the first day, & save it in the freezer in case I need it later for one of the calves that we buy to raise on her. I am careful not to get it all, so the calf can get as much as possible.
    As for the old timers getting a laugh, I'm still as nervous just before she has a calf now, as I was the first time, many years ago.

  3. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Dec 7, 2002
    Dysfunction Junction
    Thanks for the chuckle, Christina!
    OD is right -- whenever the babies are due to arrive, I'm a nervous wreck, too!
    Luckily I did not witness any of the births here this year, even my mare cooperated by foaling when I wasn't around, and presenting me with a fully functional baby, up on its feet and nursing! WHEW! :D

    As far as your question about milking out the colostrum -- saving some for the freezer is a good idea. But you don't want to milk a new momma dry, because that increases the risk of milk fever.

    Her udder may naturally have some edema (swollenness) right now, which may make it seem like she has more milk in it that she does. Unless you see milk dripping out of her, I'd leave well enough alone, for the first couple days.

    BTW, you can milk out momma after the birth and give baby its first colostrum in a bottle. That way, you can be sure it got some, and enough. (Don't worry -- the baby will still find its way to the natural food source soon enough! :) )

    Good luck, and enjoy little Evalina! How lucky to get a heifer calf right off the bat. She sounds like a real cutie! :)
  4. cowsndirt

    cowsndirt Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    I realize this posting is late, but I have a hint when milking your jersey or any milk cow. True, most do need to be milked out some to relieve the pressure of edema. I get about a quart or two twice or 3 times a day. I strain it with cheesecloth and put it into clean cottage cheese cartons (the quart size) and label with my sharpie "Colostrum (the date) and first day, 2nd day", etc. Why? Because if you need this milk again for a different youngster, you get the first day's milk out for the calf's first day, the 2nd days for it's 2nd day, etc. This way, the calf gets the best colostrum first, and the less colostrum last. By the 4th day, there is less colostrum there. Sometimes if I've got a beef calf that is a few days old that needs some help (maybe out of a 2 year old or something that is hard to milk), I will get some of the later milk out and save the "purer" stuff for the newborns. Make sure the temperature is right when you warm it up, but don't microwave as it kills the good stuff. You'll put a calf into shock if the milk is too cold or too warm, compared to its body temperature.

    You can also mix the colostrum in with milk replacer if you don't have enough, it isn't as good, but will go further if you suddenly come up with a couple of newborns needing help at the same time. Grandma always puts a thoroughly stirred farm egg in a bottle of milk replacer, she swears by it, but I don't know. Kind of makes things stringy.

    Good luck with your baby calf. I don't milk my cow, I just put 4 calves on her for 3 months or so and then wean a few off as it gets too hot for all to nurse. They get to big and it's too much work for the small cow and my small frame! But easier than milking every day by hand.