REALLY big first calf!

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Laurie J, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. Laurie J

    Laurie J Well-Known Member

    Mar 9, 2005
    Beautiful Southwest Washington State
    Hello! We had our first calf ever a week ago, and I thought I would share our story! Our daughter has a 23 month old Hereford, and last September 30th we put her with a bull who looked all Hereford, but we just found out had an eighth of Angus in him. We waited, it seems forever, for a calf! I was on this site almost a month before he was born, inquiring if everybody thought the birth was coming soon, as she was already very loose, had a slimy string of goo, and had some milk. "Maisy" was finally in labor last Monday. After watching her try to push out some very big feet for quite some time, and the water already having broke, we decided to help her out, as she was exhausted and giving up. We pulled and pulled, and finally with much work got the head out and cleared the mucus from his mouth. We got him breathing, although he was stuck, half in and half out! With lambs (our specialty!) we are homefree at this point, as they slip right out. Not with this big guy! It was a struggle to finally get him out, and he was HUGE!!! The cow was in a daze for a half an hour or so, and very unsteady on her feet, but then snapped alive and is a really good Mama. The next day Mama and baby were doing fine, so we took them both to our county fair. (Nothing like that calf waiting until the last moment to be born!) We weighed him yesterday, at 6 days of age, prior to leaving the fair, and he weighed, (get this!) 139 lbs! Is this huge or what?!? A few times this past week when lying down, Maisy has had some prolapse sticking out 6-8 inches (none in the past 2 days). We are somewhat concerned about this, as we don't want any problems next time she calves. Does anyone have any advice or experience with this? Do you think it is due to the fact that he was so big? Our daughter had to ship a beautiful heifer who didn't get bred after two different years, and we would hate to get rid of this cow too, if she is going to have problems. We will not breed her to anthing with Angus again, (didn't plan to this time!) We will be dilligent about finding a 100% Hereford bull, so hopefully this will mean a smaller calf! The calf (Milo) is doing real well, and of course, was the hit of the fair! Thanks in advance for any advice/comments!

  2. Ronney

    Ronney Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2004
    New Zealand
    Hi Laurie,
    I'm a litle confused - is the cow 23 months now or was she 23 months at the time of mating. It could have some bearing on the calving difficulty. If she was only 14 months when she went to a Hereford bull it left the path open for some calving difficulties. These would not have been the fault of the small amount of Angus in the bull - and in fact she might have been better going to a straight Angus which have smaller calves. This is why Angus bulls are often used over Jersey heifers despite the reputation that the Jersey has of being an easy calver.

    I have a Hereford/Friesian that has a history of birthing large calves and has had two prolapses of about the size you have mentioned. She is now R9 and whenever possible I use a Jersey or Angus bull over her which has ensured a smaller birthweight calf. In your situation I would be looking seriously at flagging the Hereford bull and opting for an Angus.

    If you have trouble calving in the future and the calf gets "stuck" at the hips (and this sounds like this is where your calf got stuck) give it a twist sideways and then continue to pull in conjuction with the cow's pushing. Do not pull on the calf if the cow is not pushing.

    In the meantime you have a good sized calf and he should do you well. :)


  3. hotwire

    hotwire Member

    Dec 10, 2002
    Well at least you had better luck then I did. I knew our new heifer would be calving soon so i checked on her Sunday night and she was fine and also early monday morning. I got home last night from work and found the calf's head and one leg sticking out of the cow. It was already dead. I pulled and pulled and couldn't get the calf out. My wife finally called the VET. He came out with his son and they pulled and could not get the calf out.
    They managed to get the one leg that was stuck out and still couldn't pull out the calf by hand. They ended up using a calf puller with a come-a-long to get the calf out.

    The vet gave the cow lots of shots and hopefully she will come around, she is unable to stand on her on last night.

    This morning when i gave her some food and water she stood up for a long time, and walked around a little before faling back down. I think it;s a good sign since last night she couldn't stand.

    The vet told me she may be like that for a couple of days or she may never be right.

    I bought the cow from the auction and you just never know what your in for. I have raised young and bottle calves for some time. this is my first experience with a bred cow. Not a good start. i have another 4 year old I bought at the same time as this one. i am hoping I do not have to go through that again.
  4. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Everyone should learn about pulling calves BEFORE it has to be done. Look up one of the ag. college sites that tells how to do it. Briefly, if the presentation is normal you get the head and forelegs started out, pull alternately on the head, one leg and then the other until the head is clear.

    Then pull DOWN AND SLIGHTLY OUTWARD on each leg alternately until the shoulders are clear. After that swing the calf, twisting it as you swing so that the hips turn in the birth canal, all the same time pulling in the down and out direction.

    If you use either a rope or obstetrical chains on the forelegs be sure to put a loop above the joint and a half-hitch below the joint--this half hitch should be just above the hoof so that the joint is between the two loops. I watched a cattleman break a calf's legs this spring because he did not apply the chains properly. He did not want any advice from me; now he has a gimpy calf.

    Pulling calves with pickup trucks or tractors is not uncommon but you can hardly ever apply the pull in the proper direction that way.