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March 30, 2009

Lots Of New Babies

We started calving the beginning of March.
To date we have 19 little calves.
Even though the calving season makes life a lot busier (that's why the lack of blogging) it's a fun time of year. Little calves are so cute and entertaining.
We've had a lot of cold weather this month and so that brought a few problems and a lot more work. When it is so cold we need to check very regularly as the calves can get too cold within minutes of being born and freeze body parts.
We have chosen to calve later in the year than a lot of farmers around here in hopes of warmer weather :0 Oh well, maybe next year!
So here is a look at what we've been up to around here lately.
If you are squeemish about birth, you may want to skip these photos :)
Meet Big Foot. She is in labor
These could be the first signs of a cow in labor.
- She separates herself from the rest of the herd
-She has a 'water bubble' sticking out
-She looks uncomfortable
-She is doing some serious tail switching
And sometimes you just can't tell until things start coming out :)
Here is Big Foot with the front feet of her calf coming out.
This is usually the longest part of the labor as they can stay at this point for a little while.
The front feet are born first with the nose and head close behind.
In this picture you can't see it, but the nose is just starting to peek out.
The front end is out
Jennifer gives some assistance. Sometimes a calf can get stuck at the hips (we call it hip locked). So if we are around we will often give the cow some help at this point. (Unless she is a moody sort of cow, then we just let her be!)
The calf is out. Usually as it comes out, the birthing sac pulls off, but occasionally it stays around the head in which case it needs to come off right away. If we are there when the calf is born we will take the sac off the head and stick a small piece of straw up it's nostrils to make sure it can breathe. By nature the mother usuallly licks the sac off and it comes off the head but we have lost a couple of calves because the mother failed to do this. Usually by a heifer (first time mama).
Here is one of our fall calves coming to say hi!

Here the calf is partly licked off and looking more spry.

Within an hour it is usually up and we like to try to get it to suck as soon as we can.

Here is the calf about a week after it was born.

So there you have it. A glimpse into our life on the farm.


The Munck Family said...

So sad we missed it :(


Anonymous said...

Aww how neat! We wish we were there:)

Love you guys,
Liz, Mandy, and Becks

Forever Young said...

Very cool! Thank you for sharing. The kids will love seeing this.

Laura said...

Wow, I'm impressed! You've got some brave girls...maybe they'll become midwives. :) I read this post yesterday and had a dream about cows giving birth last night!

Kimberly said...

I've seen it so many times but never bothered to take pictures! Love it!