Tag Archives: issues

Heifer Calving Issues

March plagued us with unusual calving events but not due to weather events.  First and previously posted was the “trouble” issue from a first time mother and a calf to large to deliver normally.  Eddie assisted in that delivery which produced the largest calf we have ever delivered and to date the largest calf this year.

This is Trouble. Biggest bull calf ever raised on the farm. He was born to a black angus heifer which means it was her first ever calf. We don’t like for our heifers to have large calves but apparently she was fed well which helped him grow. The sire was a two-year old Angus with small head and shoulders. Can’t imagine what he will look like fully grown or his son!!

Our second abnormal delivery was an older cow in our spring herd and she had never had any issues in the past.  This time she delivered a normal to small bull calf that was dead.  Shortly after this delivery she had another small dead bull calf and then all of her insides came out.  I’m not talking about prolapse, this was all of her female organs and intestines.  Eddie put her down quickly after to prevent ANY suffering.

Then about 10 days later another heifer delivered a huge bull calf that Eddie and I both helped deliver in our holding.  This calf lived but mother and calf were weak for about two weeks but the calf is growing.

First time heifers are always a challenge but this has been quite worrisome


The last one born was also a five-hour labor ordeal with a heifer and we had an issue after the deliver that Eddie assisted.  About an hour or so after the delivery the calf was never able to get up to nurse.  We have found in the past that if the new babe and mom are left alone things usually go as expected.  We watched this calf and mother from our front porch and Eddie decided to take the heifers some grain to keep them away from the new mother and babe.  After pouring the grain he went to investigate the situation and found all of the calf’s intestine had come out of its belly button/naval.  NEVER had we seen or heard of this!  We called a neighbor and they had never dealt with it but had heard of it and was willing to come assist.  In the meantime, I googled it and how to fix without a vet’s assistance (the cost of the vet and having to take to a hospital would far out weigh what we could get out of the calf IF it survived).  We got a clean tarp and put it in the bucket of the tractor and Eddie and I lifted him into the tractor bucket without issue.  We then hauled him to the garage where our neighbor found us to work on the calf.  First we sterilized all the equipment with 100% alcohol and then poured it all over the intestines and tried to get as much dirt and debris from the navel and the intestine without bursting them.  This took lots of time and Andy was so meticulous about cleaning everything.  Inch by inch he started pushing the intestines back into the body cavity and at one point he had to make the navel opening a bit larger and after about an hour he was ready to close up the opening.  During this entire process Eddie was holding the back feet & legs and I was holding the front legs and feet, the calf did not move even being on it’s back during the entire time.  Andy cleaned the incision several times more and then closed it all with vet staples.  He gave the calf a large dose of antibiotics and covered the wound with more alcohol. We took the calf back to his mother and she started cleaning him all over again.  You have to remember that his calf had never been able to get up to nurse.  We tried to give him colostrum to no avail and in the next three days he got up three times that we saw but we NEVER saw him nurse even with mom’s encouragement.  On the fourth day he died and as an afterthought we think we should have used a system that you put a hose down their throat into their stomach for nourishment or may should have put it down immediately but we always try to save them after the mother has gone through nine months of keeping them alive.

I want to thank our wonderful neighbor, Andy Hutton, for all he did that day and help he has given us in the past.  He hauls our cattle, helps us find good buyers for our stock, helping in repair our equipment and there for us to answer our questions.  Though we’ve been farming for 40+ years it’s always good to get first and second opinions.  Andy is our “go-to-farmer”!!!

We only have two more heifers to calve and about 9-10 older cows in our spring herd to deliver. Wish us luck!!

Update on Granddaughter’s Quilt

Not a lot of progress on this young ladies quilt but it’s a start and want it done by end of February. I have it on the quilting frame but ran into an issue of using old needles that aren’t sharp enough and found out today that I need to begin the stitches in the middle of the quilt.  I bought new needles and hubby is going to help me re-frame it.  Here’s a preview of what’s to come:





With all the cold, wind and snow moving in I may just make some progress this weekend!!

Orphan 3 – Miracle

This little jewel is my 3rd orphan this year.  She is the second born twin and she might weigh in at 25 pounds!!


Baby Miracle 092015

Baby Miracle 092015

She is just so precious and had a really rough and amazing beginning into our world.  Her mother has had calves two seasons prior but never twins.  We knew she was having problems for over a week before Miracle was born.  She would go off to herself and was constantly twitching her tail.  As I’ve said before we try to let Mother Nature take its course and try not to interfere with the births of our cattle.  During the night on September 2nd, she was born after her twin and the long birth made her very weak and she did not have enough strength to get up to nurse.  When we found her the next morning we were positive that she would not make it.  Eddie took her huge brother to be disposed of and we left letting Mother Nature take it’s course.  Two hours over when I went to check on her I thought she was dead and let mom have time with her until Eddie could return to take her away also.  Four hours later we went to get her and Mom was off grazing, buzzards were settling in and I found her still alive but breathing hard.  I ran off the buzzards and carried her to some shade.  Mom had cleaned her up some but she was still not able to get up.   I came back to the house, mixed up some electrolytes (energy drink) and fed her a couple times the rest of the day with Mom hovering and not happy about it.  Still we didn’t expect her to make it but the next morning she was alive and Eddie thinks she may have nursed one time during the night but still so weak she couldn’t get up without help.  The next day Eddie had to be away from the farm and I ran vultures from her all day and Mom had decided to join the rest of the herd.  Anxious and knowing with a little help she would be okay so I loaded her up in the truck, brought her to the house, put bedding in the new “emergency calf barn” (that we never thought we would have to use) and bedded her down and gave her a pint of colostrum every three hours that day.  By the next day she was able to get up on her own but was still very weak.  This day I traded back forth between colostrum and electrolytes and by the end of the day I knew my prayers had been answered.

Baby Miracle four days old.

Baby Miracle four days old.

I kept her cleaned up and kept wiping her down with a light fly spray because the flies have been horrid on the cattle this summer and our neighboring farms are dealing with pinkeye and foot evil.  Miracle had been through enough without this drama!!

Well today is a big test!  We’re  reintroduced her to her real mom.  While out checking the cows yesterday, her mom was trying to take another cows new baby.  This morning we brought her to her real mom and placed them in a small barn lot together.  Mom wants her right off but Miracle can’t understand why that bottle looks so different! 😉  They’ve been together in a very small corral for about

If you look closely through the board fence you can see Miracle and her mom is standing directly over her.  I don't think she likes for me to be to close to HER baby!

If you look closely through the board fence you can see Miracle and her mom is standing directly over her. I don’t think she likes for me to be to close to HER baby!

five hours and we’re moving them into another larger corral now.  We’ll hold them together for at 48 hours and see how things go.  I’m more afraid that we may have waited too long and mom’s milk may have dried up.  So far, Miracle seems to be satisfied but 24 – 48 hours will tell the real story.  I’m keeping her crib ready just in case and praying Mother Nature will be kind.

Miracle in small enclosure and Mom near by.  Seems her belly is full!

Miracle in small enclosure and Mom near by. Seems her belly is full!

Her ears perk up when she here's her mom call.

Her ears perk up when she here’s her mom call.

This is  Miracle's mom and her breed is Gielbiev.  Miracle is her third birth.

This is Miracle’s mom and her breed is Gielbiev. Miracle is her third birth.  Miracle’s dad is pure Angus.

More updates to come in a couple days.  Prayers please!