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Fall is heifer calving season
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Fall is heifer calving season

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By Kim Slay

These young ladies are having their first calf but they’re still only at 85% of their mature weight just turning 2 yrs of age. We are very careful to choose our bulls for them based on Angus Association EPD s for low birthweights, but sometimes things don’t go as smoothly as planned.

Tuesday night was one of those times. Phil was cutting hay and I was doing the evening walk through of the heifers when one strolled by with 2 little front hooves showing on her south end. Now that raised an eyebrow because by nature, a cow goes off to herself to calve and then bond with the new baby. This one was surrounded by about 40 of her sisters.

I finished my walk through of the pasture, giving her about 20 minutes to settle down to business. Sure enough, she was lying broadside next to US Hwy 431 attempting to have that baby.

I was starting to get uneasy so I called Phil and we agreed if there was no progress in another 20 minutes, I would come to the hayfield and get him and a set of calving chains.

Fast forward….the heifer was only 20 yds from the barn and chute so we drove her up. Got chains on those front feet and found the calf was still responsive.

Started pulling…and really pulling…and eventually Phil was lying on the ground with the heifer, his feet on both sides of her rump, pulling for all he was worth in the pitch dark. The come along (hand winch) was somewhere else and we had to get the calf out; no time to go look for it.

FINALLY got the head out and then the HIPS stuck. The calf was trying to breathe and bleat and get its lungs cleaned out while half way still in poor mama.
Let’s just say that Phil didn’t have to be rocked to bed that night because it took everything he had to get that big old heifer calf on the ground. Then her mama got up and staggered off doing her best impression of a drunk Otis from Andy Griffin and she wanted NOTHING to do with her little girl.

We did the straw tickling nose trick to make the calf sneeze and pounded on the little one to get as much aspirated liquid from her lungs as possible since her mama wasn’t cleaning her up.

Phil ended up putting fresh hay on and around the baby to get her confused mom to come back and nose around her. We left it up to GOD and went on home.
Thankfully P-88 has decided she loves her baby and the swelling is down from the calf’s head (birth time trauma). Hopefully they’ll be turned out back into the heifer herdtomorrow!