Sunday, September 23, 2012

Calves are go.

Our first calving has started with six lively robust Hereford calves gambolling around the paddock and another eight cows still to calve. 
 So far calving has been a high stress affair with around half the heifers requiring assistance. The first calf arrived unassisted a week early, a cute little heifer born on a bright clear Sunday.
Sunday Rose, the first calf born on Leven River Farm

The second cow presented the very next day with a breech calf and at least I knew what to do – ring someone who can help. We are luckily blessed with very good neighbours who were immediately on hand with years of good experience and calving equipment. I learnt the two most important requirements to save the cow and calf are a long right arm and a quiet and willing cow. Our yards are very basic, we have no crush or head bail, so it is imperative the cow stands quietly.  With a breach presentation the hind legs are facing forward and they must be manipulated to come out first. Sounds simple but requires you to push the calf forward against the cow’s contractions so that you have enough room to get the hind legs around. 
Mother resting following a breech presentation. 

A breech presentation.

An hour after we started I had the hind legs out and we attached a calf puller to complete the delivery. Amazingly the heifer calf was still alive. We left the cow and calf in the yards together for a day but after the hard delivery the mother showed no interest in her new calf so we bought her home and put her on a bottle.  Almost two weeks later that little heifer calf, Belle, is fit and healthy.
The next cow, Blondie, to calve had a prolapse, which resulted in the Ulverstone vet coming out at ten o’clock at night to put her back together.  A beautifully quiet cow, she waited motionless until the vet had finished, then immediately got to her feet to feed her calf. In another week I have to bring her back in to remove her stiches.
Blondie recovered from her prolapse with her calf.

Another two calved without assistance but the luck couldn’t last as another cow failed to deliver her calf. This one was just two big and with the assistance of the vet we pulled a huge dead calf.
Only eight more cows to go.
We are not the only ones in the valley to experience a high proportion of calving difficulties. The good summer has resulted in large calves and this combined with maiden heifers has resulted in widespread calving problems.
Next year will be better


  1. WOW! You seem to be coping with your calving problems well :) and I am so glad that you have had more success than bad luck. Congratulations on Sunday Rose - your first calf on your farm - she is gorgeous :) Lisa

  2. Thanks so much Lisa. We just have to deal with it I guess and move on. We now have 8 healthy beautiful calves running around the farm and 5 more cows to calve in about a month.