Last night we had our largest calf we’ve had in the heifers… a whopping 100 pounder!
That’s like having an 11 pound baby for us.
For your first baby.
But… that’s why we check them… to be there when they need help.
So, I go over to the calving shed… see the size of the hooves… and know she’ll need a hand. Calves are born with their front hooves leading the way with their head laying on top. Think diver. You can also tell easily if they are being born breech because the hooves will be upside down. Luckily, this calf was in the correct position.
We’ve assisted a few heifers… but this one would need the cavalry. Time to get the chains *and* puller.
On the left are the handles which snag on to the chains to provide grip. Remember, you’re trying to pull a slimy newborn… you need grip! The chain on the right is like a choke chain collar but about four feet long. The chain is looped over the calf’s hooves… high up above the dewclaw… so as not to injure him. Ready? Pull.
If you aren’t making progress… time to get the big guns.
This is the puller. The straps go over her spine and basically don’t do much if she’s lying down! The silver metal part goes against her butt below the calf. Notice the round section in the middle of it.
This is the puller part! Think car jack. Sooooo… how many of you are EXTREMELY grateful for *not* being a cow, right about now???? Yup. Set the end of the “jack” part into the round metal hole. Hook the chain on to the puller. Now. Jack.
What you are doing is actually cranking the calf out of the cow. Sounds brutal I know. However, if you don’t get the calf out fast enough… it’ll die. No time to be shy.
Besides… after all your work… you get a great reward.
I’m opening this up for a great Q & A Session.
What do you want to know about calving… or the ranch… or me… or my dogs… or the weather… or wildlife?
Leave me a question in the comments section… and Thursday… I’ll answer them.