Difficult Delivery

Well it’s been a really long night..and day today, but end result is we have a healthy cow and bull calf. This was a first for me – I’ve re-positioned a lamb but nothing to this extent.

Holly didn’t have very strong contractions throughout labour, still, I can’t believe how long it took to push her up to the yards and crush so that we could intervene.

Thankfully the calf was feet first, but slightly rotated with one great big hoof in front of the other. I had phone help from a cow farmer friend (it was after 1am at this stage) and managed to get everything into position and starting to appear, looked like that was all we needed to do and she was going to deliver him in the crush, so let her out and she started contracting properly and went down and started pushing.

The contractions slowly died down again so we got her back in the crush to rope the calf’s legs. In hindsight, I would probably do the same thing rather than just pull the calf the first time as the little bit of extra time allowed her to stretch out more.

Have discovered that roping calf feet inside a cow is extremely difficult…especially when you have big feet, big head and two human hands inside there. It took forever and felt like my hands were being crushed, but I managed to get one leg out at a time to rope, then repositioned the feet and head a bit then we pulled.

The pulling was the easy part – well not easy it took all our strength, but it was quick compared to the re-positioning of the calf. At one stage I really thought she was going to need a c-section to get him out, given the vet couldn’t come out, we probably would have lost her.

So much for jerseyXdexter calves being small. He’s a normal size for a beef calf, but really big considering his dad is a small dexter.

He was very dopey and took ages to stand, I finally left them just after 4am. Checked again at 6am and he was quite cold and shivering and didn’t seem to have a suck reflex. Got a tiny bit of colostrum into him, but only about 20ml.

Gave Holly two bags of 4in1 Cal, Mag, Gluc and whatever number 4 ingredient is, more as a precaution and while the second bag was going in, the calf did his first poop, so apparently had fed in the two hours I wasn’t there. He was wobbly and dopey all morning, but seems to have got himself together this afternoon and we saw him have his first big drink.

I’ve milked a bit of colostrum off Holly twice today and will do another one this evening as she is absolutely huge and fit to burst. Thank goodness no sign of mastitis, even in the quarter that had the teat canal prolapse injury last year. She has been an absolute angel through all of this, is a wonderful mother right from the start and is actually comfortable with us handling the calf and being near him when she is off a little way eating.

Oh, following on with the food themed boy names, (Holly’s calf that came with her is Bangers), we’ve named this one Sausage. And he is so cute – red and white with striking markings, I so wish he was a heifer so we could keep him!

Having said that, after the horrific year our family has had with G’s health issues, pending serious surgery, my crippling back pain all year and now coming down with a really bad sinus infection, I am truly very grateful they are both healthy.

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