Its A Girl!

Here are some pictures of a new calf being born.
When a cow starts to calve, you will see her back rounded and her tail slightly lifted.  Usually she will be spinning around, sniffing the ground; sometimes kicking at her belly.  This uneasy stage lasts anywhere from 1 to 3 hours.  Then a water bag will appear, which becomes about the size of a cantaloupe.  It is a clear sack filled with amniotic fluid.  A normal birth starts with the front feet coming first with the nose following.  If the calf is coming in any other presentation: only one front foot present, back feet, breech, the rancher will have to intervene to save the calf.  In nature, only 50-75 % of births would result in a live calf.  Because of ranchers constant supervision, the survival rate on most ranches  is 90-100%.  The time from when the water bag is out, to the birth, is anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the age of the cow (first time mama’s taking longer.)  Often when the calf is mostly out the mother will naturally get up.  This hangs the calf upside-down, helping to drain the lungs of fluid.  It is very important for the mom to get up quickly and start licking the calf.  This gets the sack off the face of the calf, so the calf can breath.  It also stimulates the calf to help it get ready to stand and nurse.  A calf can be up and nursing within 5 minutes, although most is around 20 minutes.  It is very important that the calf gets a good dose of colostrum (mama’s first milk) in the first 6-8 hours of life.  This is the only time that the colostrum is absorbed directly into the blood stream and makes for a healthy calf.  Cows and human’s have a lot of similarities when it comes to birthing.   The placenta should come out soon after the calf nurses.
~Erika Fossen~
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2 thoughts on “Its A Girl!

  1. Seasonsgirl says:

    I remember watching this when I was a kid. It was always so interesting 🙂

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