This video covers one of heifers, number 660, and the process of having her calf. We noticed her standing off from the herd, holding her tail out in a kinked position… an almost sure sign that labor pains have started. We walk her into our calving shed, spreading new straw in a pen. We would normally just leave her alone, checking on her periodically, but, of course, I bothered her much more so I could film!
The first thing you check is that the hooves are in the correct position. Calves are born front hooves first, then their nose appears. If they’re breech, you can tell by the hooves’ position. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen very often.
Finally, the calf is about to be born, and I urge Jaxon and Lacee to come watch. The amniotic sac is still covering the calf’s nose, and I’m worried it’s not going to come off. There’s been more than one calf die that way over the years. There’s nothing so crushing as to arrive a couple minutes late after birth to a dead calf with the sac smothering it. The mom might be mothering it, but she doesn’t know to move that thick film aside so her calf can breathe. Most of the time, everything works out ok, but you remember the times it doesn’t.
I enter the pen, and the nervous mother stands, slinging her calf. It’s amazing how much these babies can stand, and the calf isn’t injured. As she turns around, the sac comes free from the nose, and I retreat. In an ungraceful flop, the calf is dropped from a standing position. That probably wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been bothering her for this video! I pull the calf to a better position and leave them alone. The shaking of the calf’s head is a good sign it is clearing it’s passageway of mucus. It’s much better to leave and let Mother Nature take over from here.
A photo a bit later shows them together.
Enjoy this video… but I guess I have to warn you of graphic content… uh, duh. Birth is graphic, but graphic doesn’t have to mean bad! Share this with your kids… they ought to know how Nature works. All my grandkids are lucky enough to see this, and I’m happy about that.